A TV reporter appears to have been pushed while attempting to interview embattled Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin as she left Parliament after giving evidence at a Senate inquiry.
Ms Bayer Rosmarin was asked to address the investigation and explain what went wrong on Wednesday November 8, when 10 million Australians woke up to a nationwide outage affecting both telephone and internet services .
The executive was flanked by several members of the security and protection services as she left the two-hour hearing through the building’s underground exit.
A Channel Seven reporter was filmed trying to get comment from Ms Bayer Rosmarin, and one of the guards appears to push her back with his shoulder.
Sky News reported that journalist Isabelle Mullen asked the man to “please don’t push me” and that she responded “not to get in his way.”
Ms Bayer Rosmarin was asked to face a Senate inquiry into what went wrong on Wednesday, November 8, when customers across Australia woke up to no service.
Just before the altercation, Ms Bayer Rosmarin was questioned about the Optus discontinuation and her handling of the crisis.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland took calls from journalists around 5am and held an early press conference in an attempt to ease public concerns.
But Optus’s chief executive herself did not speak publicly about the crisis for several more hours and called ABC Radio via WhatsApp shortly after 10.30am for a brief interview about the matter.
She faced intense backlash for appearing missing during those crucial first hours, but has now told the inquest she had good reasons for making that decision.
“I wanted to make sure before we spoke that we could at least rule out the possibility of malicious activity,” he said.
“As soon as our cyber specialists ruled this out, I began addressing the issue publicly on behalf of my team.”
The reason why Bayer Rosmarin did not say anything was twofold.
He was working closely with his team to make decisions about Optus’ call centres, which had also collapsed, and whether or not it was wise to open physical stores during the outage.
Bayer Rosmarin revealed that it did not speak to the relevant minister, Ms Rowland, until 8.30am, around four hours after the blackout began.
At the time, I had no reason to believe that Triple-Zero calls were not being made, as the network is designed to reroute emergency calls through other networks in the event of an outage.
In total, 228 triple zero calls were not made during the blackout, he later said.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young, chair of the committee overseeing the Optus investigation, said customers had a right to know whether they could continue to have confidence in the operator.
Last Wednesday’s 12-hour outage affected Optus’ entire telephone and Internet network and prevented some calls to emergency numbers.
It was the second major crisis for the telecommunications company in the last 12 months after a cybersecurity breach compromised customers’ personal data.
Ahead of the Senate hearing, the Australian Financial Review reported that Bayer Rosmarin was considering her role as chief executive.
The chief executive, who has held the top job at Optus since April 2020, could leave the role as soon as early next week, the publication said.
Asked whether Bayer Rosmarin should resign, Senator Hanson-Young said it was a matter for the board and chief executive.
But I have to say that I think this has been handled atrociously. “It is not the first time under this leadership that Optus has failed to face customers and tell the public what is happening,” he stated.
Optus attributed the outage to a routine software update, when changes to routing information cascaded through multiple tiers of the telco’s network.
During the investigation, Ms Bayer Rosmarin said: “The reality is that our network should have coped with this change, but on this occasion it did not.
‘Indeed, we performed a complete network reset; this started around 10:30 a.m. and the vast majority of clients were recovered by 2:00 p.m. and 99 percent by 4:00 p.m.
The 12-hour outage last Wednesday affected Optus’ entire telephone and internet network and prevented some calls to emergency numbers
‘The actions we took were a brute force resuscitation of the network. We hadn’t yet identified the cause of the problem, so while the crisis was over for our customers at 4:00 pm, it wasn’t over for our teams, who needed to immediately shift focus to what had happened to the network. to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
This work continued for many days… I would like to acknowledge and thank the team for their tireless recovery efforts under enormous pressure.’
The CEO said she “wholeheartedly believes” that she and her team did everything they could to “provide timely, accurate and credible information,” but accepts that more can always be done.
“There is no doubt that the outage itself initially negatively affected our ability to communicate more effectively with each other, our consumers, the media and the government in the early hours of Wednesday morning.”
Senator Hanson-Young was scathing of Optus’ attempts to explain the outage.