[LINK] Coalition's ID card or number proposal

Robin Whittle rw at firstpr.com.au
Fri Aug 20 16:39:43 AEST 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
     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.

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:


  - Robin

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