back to article Liberal Party of Australia: why are you paying so much for ancient software?

An Australian developer has taken a look at the Liberal Party's controversial Feedback software, and guesses that MPs are paying a fairly steep licence for something developed on DataFlex. For those of you born later than the first Linux release, DataFlex was a Windows development environment that emerged from the DOS era to …

  1. MrDamage


    Given that the Libs want to take Australia back to the 1950-60's, I suspect they view the software they are using as "cutting edge and futuristic".

    1. Oengus Silver badge

      Re: Old?

      Sometimes I think this is more appropriate...

      "Given that the Libs want to take Australia back to the 191850-60's, I suspect they view the software they are using as "cutting edge and futuristic"."

  2. Magani


    "...or even VB6"

    Disclosure: There are at least 2 applications that I wrote in the late '90s / early '00s that are still running because:

    * They work

    * The premise on which they were built hasn't changed

    Leaving the daylight robbery rip-off of the fees aside, why drop dung on it just because it's old?

    I'm old and I still ... oh, no I don't!

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Outdated?

      I can think of one reason - because it'll be a pain in the arse to support. VB6 was always a bit of a c*nt to deploy and I'm pretty sure that nowadays nobody wants to drag their CV that far backwards to take on a support contract unless it is at exorbitant prices. So few people are able to support it (plenty think they can code VB, less know of its myriad of shitty bits) and less would want to go back to doing it. Quite aptly for the Liberals this would then be the 1% of the 1%.

      1. david 12 Bronze badge

        Re: Outdated?

        >VB6 was always a bit of a c*nt to deploy <

        You're confusing Vb6 with the VB4 debacle.

        Since VB6 is no longer updated, and since the library is included with Windows XP, Vista and 7, it's supper easy to deploy VB6 applications, and they'e supper stable.

        Win10 and XP64 I don't know about.

  3. Mike Echo

    Lo tech

    Old software, old copper for an updated broadband network. The Libs really are showing their true level of understanding of modern technology.

  4. Magnus_Pym

    Dataflex or Visual Dataflex

    This is just marketing hype isn't it? 'You don't want to use that old reliable stuff. You want to buy new stuff because it's newer." I can't see where the cost comes from though. Dataflex is still available and under development BTW, or at least Visual Dataflex is.

    1. CharlotteGronvold

      Re: Dataflex or Visual Dataflex

      YES it is very much available and now for web and mobile development. This reliable product is still going strong:=)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Liberal Party Rort!

    The cost per MP has nothing to do with the cost to run or maintain the software, it is just another way for the Liberal Party to get more funds from the people of Australia.

    The sooner we have full Political Party funding disclosures the better! We have already seen them try and hide funds and get caught out! $1.5 million must have hurt some ones campaign.

    I wonder if we the people of Australia could get a Royal Commission on Political Party funding? Might be the best money ever spent!

  6. Tannin

    Gosh darn it

    Gosh darn it, why doesn't anybody recognise the outstanding value of this package? It has five key advantages:

    Fully supported



    Useful to the client base

    Developed for purpose

  7. enormous c word

    Does it work? Is it supported? Does it need support? Does it it fulfill customer needs? Are annual maintenance costs reasonable?

    If the answer is "Yes" then who cares if its old.

    What would be the cost of buying a new replacement + training 100's of MPs + new HW

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's feed back!!

    It's feed back, as if they care or even look at it in the last 30 years, the libs don't give a rats ass about feed back , its just static in the background of a rich (very rich) political life, something to be ignored if it's not convenient.

  9. david 12 Bronze badge

    $2500 per seat for a custom package used by a tiny number of users? There might be a commercial opportunity there but ... I haven't seen anybody putting their hands up.

  10. micmac_perth

    Steep licence for something developed on DataFlex

    As a DataFlex developer I’d like to inform you that it is well and truly alive and kicking, and provides a great business application development platform. But don’t take my word for it, take a look

    It’s not DataFlex that’s old it’s the application, which may have been written in an old version of DataFlex. Too hard to tell from the screen shots, but in the 1990’s this might have been Visual DataFlex 4 or 5, in 2016 it’s DataFlex 18.2.

    Ultimately what has more bearing on the quality of an application is not the tool being used but the developers skill in getting the best out of that tool.

  11. Argus Tuft

    Dodgy is as Dodgy does..

    one point that is missed above - the 'product' isn't the issue, even whether it works or not.

    The software company in question 'Parakeelia' is owned/run by a political party*, who then pay (taxpayer supplied) funds into it, and receive very large 'donations' back.

    Basically just a money laundering operation.

    Any money spent on actually improving the product would reduce the slush fund for 'donations'.

    *Parakeelia is registered to the same inner-Canberra office building as the Liberals. The company's directors include the Liberal Party's federal director and president. It is registered with authorities as being associated with the party.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy is as Dodgy does..

      I can't believe your comment is so far down the forum.

      I thought it was immediatly obvious: tax goes in, party funds come out.

  12. Flat Phillip


    DataFlex? Now there's a name I've not heard in a long, long time. A long time. I haven't heard software gone by the name DataFlex since, oh, since you were born.

    Or maybe 1991; its a close call. And we were trying to remove the awful thing not install it!

  13. Winkypop Silver badge

    They are not called conservatives for nothing....

    No wonder the NBN has been so effectively boondoggled.

  14. SeanC4S

    Ridiculous programming language. I had to use it one time, where someone had attempted a concurrent accountancy package with it!!! Friggin eejits. Do that still say that in Ireland? I've no idea.

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