Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 12 May 2020
Page: 3169


Mr PORTER (PearceAttorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Leader of the House) (19:23): I thank all of the members for their contributions on the Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020. I thank the member for Kennedy. I think Aldous Huxley said the technology process has merely provided us with even more efficient means of going backwards, but I think, obviously, Aldous has been proven wrong in recent decades, because we're moving forwards. Member for Kennedy, this is definitely a piece of technology that will help us move forward.

The Privacy Amendment (Public Health Contact Information) Bill 2020 will implement the strongest possible ongoing privacy protections for data collected and generated by the Australian government's COVIDSafe app. By passing this bill we can give the Australian public the greatest confidence that their personal information is secure when they choose to download and use COVIDSafe, helping Australians combat the spread of COVID-19.

The bill was preceded by a biosecurity determination app that outlined interim privacy protections for COVIDSafe app data. The first and most important thing this bill does is enshrine these privacy protections in primary legislation. This will be achieved by inserting a new part into the Privacy Act 1988, and the key provisions from the determination are formalised by the bill. They include the criminal offence for unauthorised collection, disclosure and use of COVIDSafe app data and the criminal offence for requiring another person to download and use COVIDSafe app data. The bill also implements additional privacy protections which were not included in the determination, and the most significant of these additional protections extends the Australian privacy principles, the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme and the oversight of the Australian Information Commissioner to COVIDSafe app data. Under these changes, a breach of the bill will also be a breach of the Privacy Act, including when the bill is breached by state and territory health officials.

Other additional privacy protections which have been added to the bill include provisions guaranteeing that no further data can be collected from former COVIDSafe users and putting in place a clear process for how all data in the national COVIDSafe data store will be deleted when the COVIDSafe app is no longer required.

Finally, the bill contains provisions that clarify parts of the determination and deal with a number of technical matters. New sections have been included to ensure that the bill overrides any other inconsistent laws to articulate the constitutional basis of legislation and put in place a process for automatic repeal of the legislation once COVIDSafe is no longer needed.

In conclusion, I'd like to acknowledge the constructive approach of the opposition, particularly the member for Isaacs, whom I've been dealing with on this bill. I note the bill contains privacy protections which are of an unprecedented level of strength, designed to protect data collected and generated by the COVIDSafe app. There is no more private or secure data that can possibly be volunteered to either a government agency or a private organisation than COVIDSafe app data. By passing this bill I sincerely hope that it gives all Australians the increased confidence they need to choose to download and use COVIDSafe, because a high uptake is very important to helping state and territory contact tracers get on top of outbreaks and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. I endorse the bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr McVeigh ): The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Isaacs has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.

Question agreed to.

Original question agreed to, Mr Katter dissenting.

Bill read a second time.