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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4428

Senator LUDWIG (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) (6:38 PM) —The difficulty is that you would create two classes. There would be one class which would have numbers and one class which would not have numbers, so there would be absent numbers. But you could then have circumstances where people could ask for numbers twice. Confusion could then happen. I know it seems perhaps a little odd at this hour, but what it means is that if everybody has a number then it is unique, but they do not have to, as a consequence, use the electronic health record. That is where the circumstance is like everyone currently having a Medicare number, but in this instance we will have a much clearer identity of each individual through the health identifier system.

One of the things that has been driving this, I am sure, are the privacy implications. They take that very seriously and that is why they have ensured that the unique health identifier number is there, the privacy is protected, but in addition you do not have to pick up the record as a consequence.