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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3153


Senator POWELL —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Health confirm information that it is likely that the proposed Australia Card will be produced by a company called CPE Security Card, which is 50 per cent Australian-owned and 50 per cent American-owned? In particular, can the Minister inform the Senate of the extent to which the Government has considered the implications of information about Australians being held on data bases owned by Americans? What provision has been made to secure this information from foreign companies and governments, particularly in view of the reported proportion of American ownership of this company?


Senator GRIMES —I have no idea who is likely to produce the Australia Card. I do not even know whether the Australia Card legislation will be passed in the Senate. Reports in the newspapers and the views of various people differ. I do know that no matter who manufactures the Australia Card the control of the very limited data which will be collected for the issue of that card will be in the hands of the Australian Government. It will be in Australian hands and will be protected by the legislation and the privacy organisation to be set up. To suggest that the information obtained will be given to the company which is to print or manufacture the card and to further suggest that because some hypothetical company is partly owned by United States interests the security of the Card will be threatened, is a flight of fancy even for someone in the Australian Democrats.