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Labor blocks privacy protection.



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News Release

ATTORNEY- GENERAL

THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

 

 

7 December 1999

663

 

LABOR BLOCKS PRIVACY PROTECTION

 

 

Labor has today refused to support important legislation to establish an independent Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

 

The Privacy Amendment (Office of the Privacy Commissioner) Bill 1998 will allow the Privacy Commissioner to operate more effectively in protecting the privacy of all Australians.

 

The Bill was due to be debated in the Senate on Thursday. Labor had previously indicated that it would not block the Bill but has today withdrawn its support.

 

Labor’s backflip is astonishing. Labor seeks to stand in the way of this legislation at the same time it is calling for tighter controls on the protection of privacy.

 

Both the Shadow Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Shadow Information Technology spokesperson Senator Kate Lundy have used the recent public debate to call for increased privacy protection. Yet they refuse to support this concrete measure to strengthen the Privacy Commissioner’s ability to ensure that the personal information of all Australians is handled fairly and securely.

 

The Government’s Bill separates the Office of Privacy Commissioner from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. The Office will receive more money to take on the extra responsibilities of the Government’s proposed private sector privacy legislation. An extra $5.045 million over four years was allocated in the last Budget for this purpose.

 

The Bill has the strong support of the Privacy Commissioner and the support of the Democrats.

 

Combined with the Government’s proposed private sector privacy legislation, the Bill is evidence of our deep commitment to protecting the privacy of all Australians.

 

 

al  1999-12-08  11:38