Hold the phone: The real reason some MPs can’t connect with voters

In the middle of a pandemic and economic downturn, and with an election fast approaching, scores of state MPs are reliant on a dodgy phone system.

Aug 11, 2020, updated Aug 11, 2020
Australians lost a record $3 billion to scammers over the past 12 months. (Unsplash, Jim Reardan)

Australians lost a record $3 billion to scammers over the past 12 months. (Unsplash, Jim Reardan)

Speaker Curtis Pitt told parliament the rollout of a new electorate office phone system had been plagued with problems “including things like call silence, dropouts and poor quality connections”.

The project has been halted but not before 42 electorate offices were connected to the new system. The Queensland Parliament has 93 MPs but some in larger electorates have multiple offices, and the affected MPs were not named.

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“The system has, since early July, been the subject of numerous investigations and variable solutions and patches,” Pitt told parliament, adding that meetings with the provider and stakeholders were ongoing.

“I would take the opportunity today to assure members that the clerk and I are very aware that the issues and frustrations being experienced by members, staff and members of the public attempting to contact their elected representatives.”

Pitt said “any and all options to restore a stable telephony system to members are being explored”. However, given the scale of the project, there were a “myriad of technical, logistical and travel issues” and Pitt thanked MPs for their ongoing patience and understanding.

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