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Tudge's privacy leaks looking even more legally dubious

3 April 2017
The Hon Linda Burney MP
The Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Human Services, ALP Member for Barton

Damning independent legal advice raises the real possibility that Alan Tudge or his office may have broken the law by recklessly leaking the private information of a Centrelink client in an effort to cover up his bungled robo-debt debacle .
After a single mother published her story about Centrelink’s debt recovery tactics, Centrelink and the Minister’s office both shared her protected information with a journalist in an effort to discredit her.
Mr Tudge’s office even ‘accidentally’ sent briefings labelled ‘for official use only’ to the media - twice.
Legal advice obtained by Labor and from a highly respected barrister, finds that on the publically available facts:
“it is reasonably clear that either the Minister or one of his office’s staff has committed an offence… [and that ] the disclosure of Ms Fox’s information would be punishable by up to two years imprisonment”
Labor has referred this matter to the Australian Federal Police for investigation - in the meantime Mr Tudge remains under a cloud.
The Minister’s claims that he had legal advice which authorised the release are contradicted by evidence given by Department officials who say that no advice was provided. If it exists, Mr Tudge must make it public.
This advice is damning. The Prime Minister needs to seriously consider whether Minister Tudge can remain in his position.
Rather than do anything to fix this problem, Minister Tudge recklessly leaked an individual’s private information in an effort to silence her. In doing so he may have broken the law.
Disclosing a Centrelink client’s private information could carry a two year prison sentence.
It is time for Mr Tudge to come clean - until he does how can anyone trust that their information is safe?