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Tudge targeting opponents with private information leaks

28 February 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Alan Tudge, Minister for Human Services, has been providing confidential information to the media in an effort to hide his failing robo-debt system.
A number of recent media stories have contained private details about current and former Centrelink clients which were provided without their consent, the moves appear to be retaliation for stories which drew attention the Mr Tudge’s bungled robo-debt program.
The Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 includes a provision for the release of private data if the Secretary of the department deems it necessary for the public interest. There are legitimate questions as to whether recent disclosures comply with that requirement.
These are deeply unethical actions by the Government. The disclosure has occurred deliberately to smear a private individual who has spoken out about the error prone robo-debt program and the deeply flawed Centrelink debt recovery process.
Mr Tudge must table the “certificates” authorising these releases and required by the Act immediately so that the public can see his justification in full.
It is unacceptable for the Turnbull Government to target individual citizens with information leaks in retaliation for their decision to speak out. Information held by the Department of Human Services is often sensitive and is provided with the understanding that it is confidential.
Correcting the record is one thing, attempting to smear and discredit opponents is entirely different and far more troubling.
Mr Tudge must stop leaking confidential information to cover up his robo-debt disaster. He needs to focus on fixing the system, not seeking revenge.