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Wednesday, 10 December 1986
Page: 3728


Senator HAINES (Leader of the Australian Democrats) —by leave-I move the following amendment to the amendment moved by the Opposition to the motion for the second reading:

Leave out the words proposed to be inserted, insert: ``this Bill be withdrawn and redrafted to reflect the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee on an Australia Card, as follows:

1. That the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs upgrade the quality of its records including its movements database, citizenship index and overstayers file and transfer all records from the manual system to the computer database as a matter of urgency (paragraph 1.62).

2. (a) That the computerisation of all State and Territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages proceed. To this end, the Committee supports the continuation of the current negotiations between the Commonwealth and the States.

(b) That the Commonwealth provide appropriate assistance and advice to the States to ensure that the computerisation of births, deaths and marriages registers can proceed within the earliest possible timeframe.

(c) That the only Commonwealth Departments permitted to have access to the computerised registry of births, deaths and marriages be the Australian Taxation Office, the Department of Social Security, the Passport Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Health Insurance Commission. That access to computerised births, deaths and marriages data be restricted to verifying documentation submitted for the purposes of obtaining nominated services from the Commonwealth.

(d) That extension of access occur only after the widest possible public discussion after the system has been in operation for some minimum period (paragraph 2.14).

3. (a) That the Commonwealth establish an independent statutory body, known as the Data Protection Agency, to control the collection and use of personal data.

(b) That this body have powers, functions and objectives similar to those outlined in paragraphs 14.6.4-14.6.6 of the Government's submission and as further outlined in paragraphs 2.23-24 of this Report.

(c) That the jurisdiction of the proposed Data Protection Agency cover from the outset all Commonwealth computerised data banks.

(d) That a Parliamentary Committee be established to investigate and monitor the following:

(i) the implementation and operation of the proposed Data Protection Agency.

(ii) the extension of the Data Protection Agency's jurisdiction to cover all private sector data bases falling within the Commonwealth jurisdiction three years after the establishment of the Agency; and

the extension of the Data Protection Agency's functions to cover all written personal data banks three years after the establishment of the Agency.

(e) That the right of an individual to have access to and correct personal data on a database be on the same basis as that provided under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and that it be extended contemporaneously with any extension of the access provisions of that legislation (paragraph 2.35).

4. That the Commonwealth introduce privacy legislation based on the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission Report on Privacy as soon as possible (paragraph 2.42).

5. (a) That the Government adopt without further delay the banking control regulations contained in the Costigan Royal Commission Report where they are not already subsumed within the Committee's own recommendations.

(b) That the Federal Government consult with the State and Territory Governments on controls on banks and other financial institutions under State jurisdiction with a view to the early introduction of uniform controls as recommended.

(c) That legislation be introduced to require banks to notify the relevant Commonwealth and/or State law enforcement agencies about any fraudulent or suspected fraudulent activity within the banking system (paragraph 2.49).

6. That the outstanding recommendations of the Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Expenditure on control of prohibited immigration be implemented as soon as possible (paragraph 2.57).

7. That legislation be passed allowing Commonwealth departments and authorities to inform the appropriate department or authority about suspected cases of fraud. The question of whether departments should be required to report such cases should be considered by the Government (paragraph 2.65).

8. (a) That the responsibility of processing applications and payments under education assistance schemes be transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Social Security along with all staff involved in administering the schemes.

(b) That the Department of Education retain policy control over the schemes and budget allocations for education assistance continue to be held against the Education vote (paragraph 2.68).

9. (a) That the Department of Social Security conduct a progressive review of proof of identity for all existing pension recipients and all current unemployment beneficiaries whose claims were determined before the introduction of the new procedures.

(b) That the Department of Social Security match all recipients of social security benefits with the proposed computerised register of births, deaths and marriages as soon as that reform is implemented.

(c) That the Department of Social Security immediately begin verifying birth and marriage certificates offered as proof of identity with the relevant State or Territory Register.

(d) That the Department of Social Security not accept birth and marriage certificates as `sound' documents for proof of identity purposes until registers of births, deaths and marriages are computerised and linked (paragraph 2.95).

10. That legislation be enacted to require financial institutions to provide information reported to the Australian Taxation Office in an acceptable format (paragraph 4.20).

11. That, irrespective of whether a tax file number or an Australia Card number is introduced, a withholding tax on interest payments be imposed on interest-bearing accounts which are not associated with a number (paragraph 4.26).

12. (a) That the use of the tax file number be extended to cover all the financial transactions proposed in the Government submission for use of the Australia Card number by the Australian Taxation Office, as well as for social security purposes.

(b) That all other Departments (i.e. other than the Australian Taxation Office and Department of Social Security) be barred from access to and use of the tax file number.

(c) That the Medicare system continue to operate as a separate entity, but that the method of issuing new Medicare numbers and cards, be they new or replacement, be altered in order to improve the integrity of the system and reduce the issuing of multiple cards.

(d) That the integrity of the tax file number be upgraded to that of the proposed Australia Card number based on the following premises:

(i) that taxpayers with a continuous tax record exceeding five years not be required to make an application;

(ii) that the file numbers of these taxpayers be verified by normal audit processes over a period of time;

(iii) that all other taxpayers and persons who do not currently possess a tax file number verify their identity to the same level of integrity as proposed under the Australia Card program;

(iv) that the interview process for verifying identity be conducted by the Department of Social Security or nominated agents; and

(v) that temporary arrangements be made where necessary to facilitate payment of tax before verification of identity.

(e) That a Parliamentary Committee be established within three years of the introduction of the upgraded tax file number system with the express task of reviewing the implementation of these recommendations. The Committee to report to Parliament on these matters and to recommend further action where necessary (paragraph 4.58).