Private numbers of nearly every Australian federal MP accidentally released
The private mobile phone numbers of hundreds of Australia's federal politicians, former prime ministers and senior political staffers have been inadvertently published online in an embarrassing blunder by a government department.
The Department of Parliamentary Services failed to properly delete the numbers before it published the most recent round of politicians' phone bills on the Parliament House website, potentially compromising the privacy and security of MPs from cabinet ministers down.
While in previous years the numbers were taken out of the PDF documents altogether, this time it appears the font was merely turned white - meaning they could still be accessed using copy and paste.
The only numbers absent were those of the very top cabinet ministers including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Treasurer Scott Morrison, Attorney-General George Brandis and a handful of others.
But Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and his staffers were among those compromised, as well as cabinet ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Christopher Pyne, Mitch Fifield and Christian Porter.
Former prime ministers including Julia Gillard, John Howard and Paul Keating have also had their numbers released.
The department has blamed a private contractor, TELCO Management, for the stuff-up.
"In the most recent report provided by the contractor, it became possible to view the official mobile phone number of parliamentarians and their staff even though they appeared redacted from the published files," a spokesperson said.
"The DPS removed the documents from the APH website shortly after it was alerted to the issue and is working with the contractor to investigate the cause.
"The DPS will work with parliamentarians to address privacy concerns and change mobile numbers if required."
Greens leader Richard Di Natale and other minor party leaders also had their contact information published.
Retired MPs former Liberal ministers Andrew Robb and Jamie Briggs have also had their contact details released.
The numbers - for all MPs who served between January and June last year, before the July election - were easily and publicly accessible on the website for more than three months.
They were quickly deleted by DPS on Monday after Fairfax Media alerted the department to the breach.
The phone records are published every six months, to show how much politicians and their staff are spending on calls.
Comment is being sought from TELCO Management.
- Sydney Morning Herald