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CANBERRA – Federal politicians may be able to replace their aging Blackberries with iPhones and iPads under new arrangements recommended by an inquiry into Federal Parliament’s ICT arrangements.

The inquiry has also recommended appointment of a parliamentary chief information officer and a senior security advisor (CIO), plus establishment of an ICT division in the Department of Parliamentary Services.

Department Secretary Carol Mills told a Budget Estimates hearing that the department is already recruiting for the CIO position.

The Australian Federal Parliament network has 266 physical servers, 331 virtual servers and 4378 desktops and laptops.

The Senate, the House of Reps and the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) all currently purchase, install, and maintain their own IT equipment.

However, the report has recommended that this all be moved into a “one-stop shop” for ICT services.The report found that a substantial number of parliamentarians preferred Apple’s iPhone to their current BlackBerries.

However some complained that it had taken a long time to offer the iPhone as an option, and that there was no access to the App Store.

The report recommended that parliamentarians be able to acquire “approved” new mobile technology, by way of an amount to be sacrificed from their stationery and office requisites allowance.

Approval of the Special Minister of State should be sought for the addition of more Blackberries and unnamed “networked multi-function devices” – presumably a reference to iPads.

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