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Democrats on alert over National ID plan.
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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 05/018 FRIDAY 21 JANUARY 2004 SENATOR BRIAN GREIG AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ATTORNEY GENERAL & JUSTICE SPOKESPERSON DEMOCRATS ON ALERT OVER NATIONAL ID PLAN The Government’s proposal to introduce a ‘Document Verification System’ to combat fraud and terrorism raises serious concerns about personal privacy and harks back to the days of the failed Australia Card. Australian Democrats Attorney General & Justice spokesperson, Senator Brian Greig, says the Democrats will scrutinise carefully for privacy considerations, any proposal to give government departments and businesses access to Australians' identification documents. "The scheme needs a full public inquiry, including the views of experts in the field,” Senator Greig said. “The Government must not just impose a new Big Brother system for bureaucrats and business, without broad public debate and acceptance. "In 1987 the Democrats defeated the Australia Card proposal in the Senate. We welcome the acknowledgement by the Government that Australians will never accept an identity number being imposed on them,” Senator Greig said. Senator Greig says the proposal could require an updating of the Privacy Act which has failed to keep up with developments in information technology. "The Democrats have strong views on privacy protection which is why, last year, Democrats' Privacy Spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of the Privacy Act in protecting the privacy of Australians. "This inquiry provides a unique opportunity for examining new and emerging technologies such as smart cards and their potential to be used for a national identification regime, and biometric imaging data,” Senator Greig said. “The existing inquiry was set up because of exactly these sorts of concerns. Nothing should happen until this inquiry reports at the end of June 2005. The terms of reference for the inquiry are at http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/legcon_ctte/privacy/tor.htm Media Contact - Di Graham - 08) 9228 3133 or 0417 177 523