|Parliamentary Services is scrambling to recover emails sent to and from MPs and their staff last Friday after a "catastrophic mail server failure" caused the emails to be lost.
Joel George, Parliamentary Services general manager says the failure occurred late last Friday, but wasn't picked up until the following morning.
"Staff were notified when the server wouldn't come back online and spent around 50 hours getting things up and running again."
While Parliament does back up its email servers, George says any emails sent or received after the last back-up was made would have gone astray.
"We've managed to restore as much as we can from the previous back-up but anything sent or received on that Friday is gone."
George says Parliamentary Services is working with its technology partners, including ISPs, to use the traffic logs to work out who needs to be contacted about the problem.
"We need to get hold of people to say 'send it again' or to check that their message did get through."
ACT party spokesman Gavin Middleton confirms that the party lost email last week.
"They kept us off our email on Monday. Exchange was completely unavailable and the mail from Friday itself has been lost."
Middleton says the party is working with Parliamentary Services and the technology partners to try to make contact with those that sent email to the party on Friday.
"We do have some headers from the log files to work with."
Middleton says he is unimpressed that Parliament's email can go astray.
"I thought the security was supposed to be bullet-proof. But then again, this is IT and anything can happen."
George says the failure comes as Parliamentary Services is installing a new email server system that would have meant no data was lost during such a failure.
"We have been reviewing our system and we're currently testing what we hope will be the replacement for the current model."
George says there will be a full investigation into the failure in the meantime to determine just what went wrong. Middleton says he is eager to see the report when it comes out as well.
The failure doesn't affect all email sent to and from Parliament. George says the servers are set up so different political parties' email are kept as separate as possible. However, he believes both National Party and the ACT Party will be affected, along with parliament's library staff.
A National party spokeswoman confirmed the party had also lost email.