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Thursday, 17 September 1987
Page: 309


Mr TUCKEY(10.51) —A number of honourable members who have spoken tonight have chosen to speak about the ID card. However, unlike myself, I doubt whether many of them have bothered to read the legislation or, if they have done so, they appear to lack any knowledge of what the legislation means. I think it is time that a few of the Government's myths about the Australia Card are exposed. It was not so long ago that the Government's sole defence to any critic of the ID card legislation was to label such critics the friends of crooks and cheats. Most of us are offended by that because there is no evidence to prove that claim.


Mr Cunningham —Where do they launder their money?


Mr TUCKEY —I ask the honourable member not to start me on that. People who launder their money are not friends of mine and nor are they friends of my colleagues. If there are to be accusations we can both go down that track.


Madam SPEAKER —Let not either of you go down that track.


Mr TUCKEY —Madam Speaker, I do not want to and I do not want to be aggravated into doing so. I am pointing out that that was the Government's sole defence. Government members have never tried to discuss the clauses in the Australia Card legislation. For example, they have never tried to explain what clause 49 means when it states that an employer must ask for a card from an employee and why, at the bottom of that clause, it states that the fine for failing to do that or comply with the other requirements of the clause will be $20,000. The Government has not tried to explain to anybody in Australia that a baby-sitter is not an employee under the Income Tax Assessment Act. In fact, the other day the Special Minister of State (Senator Ryan) was at pains to say that baby-sitters always have been. More importantly members of the Government have been arrogant and said, `You will get it, whether you like it or not'.

It would be reasonable to listen to the Australian people on this issue. Yesterday when I was trying to get information-information which I have received today-on the security of the so-called landline that the Special Minister of State has described as a brand new technological advance in the security of computer transmission from place to place, I was told, `You will get it when we are good and ready'. I was seen as the opponent to the card and not as a representative of 16 million Australians who are now deeply concerned about it. As a result of my efforts as a representative of those people today I received a written reply from the Minister which stated clearly:

Many people may not be aware that modern communication dedicated data networks-

this magnificent landline that the Minister invented-

aren't a physical `your use only' network of data lines. The various data streams of a number of dedicated users will be multiplexed, or combined, and demultiplexed as they are moved around the country. Individual dedicated users can't tap into the data of other dedicated users.

I am assured of this but not convinced. I continue:

Dedicated data systems can still be compromised by someone physically tapping into an exchange or transmission line.


Mr Cunningham —What will they find?


Mr TUCKEY —They will find anything they want. That is the other myth Government members keep promoting. Government members opposite keep referring to the schedule at the back of the Bill and saying, `That is all the information we are going to keep'.


Mr Cunningham —That is right.


Mr TUCKEY —That is not right. I ask Government members not to misrepresent the point to the people who trust them. I ask them not to convince themselves about this to the detriment of the people they represent. The Government is introducing a common numbering system for social security, Medicare, tax, employment, banking, stockbroking et cetera. The linkage of government is already occurring. Recently the Government got the tax file numbers from everybody who receives family allowance. The Government is now using the numbers to directly access the Australian Taxation Office to verify the amount of money these people say they earn. The Government is doing that and that is why it needs the numbers. It is going down these same data lines. The Government cannot guarantee the people their security, and it is time that Labor members stopped perpetuating that myth. The crooks will still launder their money in one way or another. They will not leave it in the bank to have it frozen by the ID card. The Government will catch a few secretaries, small investors, and the odd cleaning lady and baby-sitter, but I doubt whether it will get $1,000m off them.


Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.