[LINK] Coalition's ID card or number proposal
rw at firstpr.com.au
Fri Aug 20 16:39:43 EST 2010
While Joe Hockey apparently won a difficult debate in the Coalition
and came out against mandatory ISP filtering, he is reported in The
Age today, a day before the election:
Mr Hockey has told The Age that giving everyone a single
identifier for access to health and welfare benefits could
lead to "massive improvements in productivity in health and
But instead of everyone having a card, this time the
identifier could be in electronic form.
Mr Hockey, revealing plans to revive the access card, said
it would open the way for e-health systems to allow diagnosis
using the internet, and give doctors access to patients'
The lack of an identifier and suitable software had left
Labor's e-health initiative becalmed, despite heavy spending
on development. "We've got to have a single identifier for each
patient, and software systems that can speak to each other, and
get GPs and other professionals to have a computer on their desk
to access the system," Mr Hockey said.
As human services minister in the Howard government, Mr Hockey
led the drive to introduce the access card over objections from
privacy advocates. The plan ran into trouble in the Senate, and
was then dumped by the Rudd government, which cited cost and
Mr Hockey said the failure to get the card introduced was his
biggest regret in politics. Asked if he would try to introduce
it again if the Coalition wins, he replied: "Absolutely - but
only if we get fair dinkum consolidation (of agencies' IT
systems) to give better use of technology.
"Whether you go a card or not, I don't know. Everyone has a
Medicare card already, but that's old technology. We're spending
$140 billion to $150 billion a year on health and welfare, but
what productivity improvements have there been in service
In recent months Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Human Services
Minister Chris Bowen have revived aspects of the access card
plan, floating a single system to store individuals' health
information, and to allow government agencies to share a single
The 1985-87 Australia Card was a Labor initiative.
I think it is fair to say that privacy advocates are generally very
strongly opposed to over-arching identification schemes, whether they
involve cards, numbers or whatever - because it makes it increasingly
likely that personal information will be cross-referenced and misused.
Like Jan, I couldn't see any mention of it on the main page of:
or with a search for "identity". However:
Identity numbers unnecessary
The Coalition is highly sceptical of the Government's
plans to introduce a national identity number for
students without any explanation of why the existing
system needs improvement, Christopher Pyne, Shadow
Education Minister said today.
There's another new policy today I hadn't heard of:
More information about the Link