Further to yesterday’s post on the release to Fairfax media of private information by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, the minister has justified his decision to take this action on the grounds that he is entitled by law to reveal personal details if the individual has made complaints in the media Centrelink considers false.
In other words, if you complain in the media about Centrelink, your private information can be released by that department in its own defence.
I would argue that it is never reasonable to expect that Centrelink will divulge your personal information to the media under any circumstances, and 6.22 needs to be scrapped. The paragraph makes no reference as to whether or not your adverse comments are justified. You only need to make comments Centrelink considersadverse for them to reveal your private information to the media.
Criticism of a government agency can see you stripped of all privacy. Think about that.
This should make anyone who entrusts Centrelink and other government agencies with private information, very nervous.
At the same time, if you need Centrelink assistance you have no choice but to give them all the private information they require. This is a lose-lose situation for citizens, and it is entirely unacceptable.
If you think your privacy is safe with government agencies as long as you keep your mouth shut, think about what kind of country you’re living in, and what kind of person you’re becoming because of it.