[LINK] [PRIVACY] ALERT: Coalition drops bombshell

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Fri Aug 20 09:59:52 AEST 2010

Jan Whitaker wrote:

 > A COALITION government would revive the controversial Howard-era plan
 > for a national access card to identify every individual receiving 
 > benefits, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed.

If they did it right -- and I grant you that's a very big "if" -- 
handling the Individual Health Identifier on a new smartcard would be a 
vastly safer, more privacy-sensitive approach than the current 
centralised IHI lookup service.  Today's identifier service will create 
an audit trail at Medicare every time someone visits a doctor for the 
first time (such as when a teenager chooses their own GP away from their 
family, or when a woman visits a family planning clinic, or when a rural 
resident visits a doctor in another town, or when someone simply wants a 
second opinion).  If the IHI was secreted in a smartcard and presented 
one-on-one by the patient to their provider, then the fact of their 
attending for healthcare would remain private, as it does now. If we are 
to have an IHI -- and yes that's another big "if"! -- I fail to see why 
it has to be served up from a central directory, with the unavoidable 
creation of 'panoptical' view of when and where patients present at all 
points in the health system.


Stephen Wilson
Managing Director
Lockstep Group

Phone +61 (0)414 488 851

www.lockstep.com.au <http://www.lockstep.com.au>
Lockstep Consulting provides independent specialist advice and analysis
on digital identity and privacy.  Lockstep Technologies develops unique
new smart ID solutions that enhance privacy and prevent identity theft.

>   *Coalition to revive card*
> Tim Colebatch
> August 20, 2010 - 3:00AM
> A COALITION government would revive the controversial Howard-era plan 
> for a national access card to identify every individual receiving 
> government benefits, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed.
> On the eve of what Prime Minister Julia Gillard says will be a 
> ''cliffhanger'' federal 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 welfare''.
> But instead of everyone having a card, this time the identifier could 
> be in electronic form.
> In other developments as Australians prepared to go to the polls tomorrow:
> Ms Gillard rushed out a new policy in a bid to win the family vote, 
> sweetening her parental leave plan with the additional promise of two 
> weeks' paid leave for new fathers.
> The Coalition revealed plans to cut a further $1.5 billion from the 
> federal education budget, including programs to help the poorest 
> students succeed at school and enter university.
> Internal emails seen by /The Age/ revealed the Greens had been trying 
> to ''stack'' calls to Melbourne talkback radio kings Neil Mitchell and 
> Jon Faine with pro-Bob Brown messages.
> Liberal leader Tony Abbott launched himself into a final campaign 
> marathon, vowing to keep going for 36 hours until poll eve tonight.
> 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' records.
> 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 privacy concerns.
> 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 delivery? None.''
> 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 IT platform.
> Mr Hockey nominated tax reform, increasing workforce participation by 
> young people, mothers and older people, and reform of 
> Commonwealth-state relations as priorities if he becomes treasurer, 
> along with getting the budget into surplus.
> He said an Abbott government would bring in a tax specialist from the 
> private sector to head its tax reform task force over the next year, 
> rather than leave it to Treasury secretary Ken Henry.
> But he expressed confidence in Dr Henry and Reserve Bank governor 
> Glenn Stevens.
> Ms Gillard used her final address to the National Press Club ahead of 
> election day to announce the extension of Labor's 18-week paid 
> parental leave scheme with an extra two weeks' leave for fathers.
> From July 2012, fathers and secondary carers who meet work and income 
> tests will receive two weeks' leave paid at the federal minimum wage, 
> currently $570 a week.
> The opposition said the announcement showed Labor was panicking. 
> ''This is a very, very small step to boost an impoverished scheme,'' 
> said Coalition spokeswoman for the status of women, Sharman Stone.
> Leaked internal research by Labor, reported last night, suggested the 
> party was ahead nationally, but could lose the election due to big 
> swings in New South Wales and Queensland.
> Ms Gillard said in her Press Club address: ''We are in one of the 
> closest election contests in Australian history with the starkest of 
> choices to be made.
> ''I present to the Australian people the better plan for a strong 
> economy and for the benefits and dignity of work. I present with a 
> better plan to help you manage your cost of living.''
> Mr Abbott likened the race to a cricket match. ''It's as if there's 
> five minutes to go in a test match, the scores are level and we've got 
> to make sure we win.''
> He wanted to give Australians the ''best possible chance'' to change a 
> bad government.
> *With AAP
> /This story was found at: 
> http://www.theage.com.au/federal-election/coalition-to-revive-card-20100819-12s1l.html 
> /*
> Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
> jwhit at janwhitaker.com
> blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
> business: http://www.janwhitaker.com <http://www.janwhitaker.com/>    
> Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
> sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
> ~Madeline L'Engle, writer
> _ __________________ _

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