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Fahey's IT out-sourcing shambles betrays our right to privacy



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No.18/97

30 April 1997

1 .3J 1, Wit

SENATOR THE HON NICK BOLKUS

SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL . •SHADOWMINISTER FOR "JUSTICE LABOR SENATOR FORSOi.iTH AUSTRALIA MEDIA RELEANE _

FAHEY'S IT OUT-SOURCING SHAMBLES BETRAYS OUR RIGHT TO PRIVACY

Shadow Attorney-General Senator Nick Bolkus today called on the Government to impose an immediate moratorium on the out-sourcing of all Government IT work - at the very least until proper legislative privacy protections are put in place_

Senator Bolkus' call followed the revelation that Mr Fahey has secretly ordered his Department to negotiate a contract with the giant mulitinational IBM/IS SC by July this year, outside the proper tendering processes, which will see personal information held by the Department handed over to the private sector.

"Mr Fahey's decision to negotiate the out-sourcing of the Department of Finance's IT services before proper protections are in place, is both a betrayal of the right to privacy of ordinary Australians and a breach of Mr Faney's promise to protect thafright," Senator Bolkus said

"Mr_ Fahey PrOriiiSediOn the ABC!S •PM program on-Monday ithatther:GoVernMent Would' . _ . „ . legislate to .enstire . that the Privacy Act Covered COritfactors .-SUpplyin&serviceS- te. Goverrirneni . - . . . . But today we-learnAhat just two weeks ago he:annOuncedhiSintentiOn. to conclude a deal with - - . sub sidiarYISS C before July: - There is no wa.v the .P arliannerit-WilLhaVel amended. thePrivacy Aaby . thai iiine l and • as a result no ;.adequate privacy p.rotct1ons will be in place-"This demonstrates-.what-we have known all-along, and_ that is_that this .Government.is sifnnlv..=

not serious about protectingour right to privacy: R.111:mm case, there will be proper legislation in place by the time the contract is concluded."

"But even once the legislation is passed, there will not be any protection against this highly personal information being processed off-shore - out of the reach of our privacy laws"

"Mr Parley made it clear on Monday that the Government would not even look to putting such protections in place until the Government had received the responses to its tenders. This is simply too late. If we are to contract out these services then we need to protect both our personal information and the jobs of Australians by ensuring that information is processed in this country and subject to our laws."

"The Government's plans to contract out IT services is a complete mess. Most of the Government Departments have advised against it. Most think the cost savings will be illusory"

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"But Mr Fahey, in pushing ahead with this TBM/ISSC deal, breaking his promise that IT out-.

sbureing.wofild only proceed by way of a competitive tendering process.- How many more Australian cornpanies- -will be shut out, and how many‘more Australian jobs - Will be lost, if this continues."

kinu Imlay we nave also learnt mat me costs or tne soutn Australian uovemment's -experiment in IT out-sourcing have blown out by $12 million. This will mean that South Australian taxpayers are paying mare today for their Government's IT services than they were before those services were contracted out."

"In short, this whole situation is a shambles."

"I call upon the Minister for Finance to impose an immediate moratorium on the out-sourcing of the Government's IT work - at the very least until proper legislative privacy protections are put in place."

Senator Faulkner, Shadow Minister for Public Administration and Government Services, will also be commenting on this issue today.

Contact: Simon Banks Ph: (06) 277 3388 (bh) or 0419 63 85 87 (in) Fax: (06) 277 3062

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