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Thursday, 29 November 1973

Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) - I would like to make a comment in view of what Senator Lawrie has said. I think that there was considerable dialogue during the meeting of this Senate Estimates Committee under my chairmanship as to what might happen in relation to computers used in our national health scheme. I think that, in deference to the past, both the departmental officers and the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, Mr Hayden, were kind enough simply to fend off the questions. It is history now, as Opposition senators now know, that a contrary situation applied, namely, that quite a number of people appeared to have access, even if only to a minor degree, to records of the Department of Social Security. The moral of the story I put is that, when people talk about what might happen, they should remember that many things have happened in the past. There are always 2 sides to the story in regard to what information is elicited and what is not told or is not asked for.

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