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Centrelink: Alan Tudge cites legal guidelines department now says are 'not relevant'

1 March 2017
The Guardian

Australia’s human services minister, Alan Tudge, relied on legal guidelines in parliament to justify the release of personal information to the media that his own department now says are irrelevant.
Tudge was criticised in parliament on Tuesday for releasing the personal details of welfare recipient Andie Fox, who was critical of Centrelink’s handling of her debt. Lawyers and welfare groups have already warned that the decision to release Fox’s details was legally debatable.

Coalition exposes own hypocrisy in claim to public interest leak

1 March 2017
Pirate Party Australia

In an epic violation of trust, Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge has intentionally given out a Centrelink client’s personal information to Fairfax media, as a part of a political campaign to discredit and silence Australians speaking out against the nightmare of Centrelink’s debt recovery program. The article, published by Fairfax media, contained personal information that was used to “correct the record”, but only serves to highlight the abuse of power within Federal Government departments who would rather be seen to silence criticism than fix the issue at hand.

No need for Centrelink to prove your comments are adverse: they only need to think so before exposing you to media.

1 March 2017
No Place For Sheep

Further to yesterday’s post on the release to Fairfax media of private information by Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, the minister has justified his decision to take this action on the grounds that he is entitled by law to reveal personal details if the individual has made complaints in the media Centrelink considers false.
In other words, if you complain in the media about Centrelink, your private information can be released by that department in its own defence.

Privacy Commissioner 'making inquiries' after Centrelink leaked personal information to journalist

28 February 2017
ABC News

The Government's privacy watchdog wants answers from bureaucrats who provided a Centrelink client's personal details to a journalist in a bid to counter her public criticisms.
Public servants have also told ABC News they are concerned the disclosure could inadvertently breach the privacy undertakings of other departments who share their data with Department of Human Services (DHS).

Privacy commissioner ‘making inquiries’ about Centrelink’s flexible privacy principles

28 February 2017
The Mandarin

Activists accuse the Department of Human Services of releasing private personal information about a woman in an effort to silence her criticism of its much-maligned debt recovery drive, but the department maintains it has done nothing wrong and the privacy commissioner is looking into the case.

Querying the Government’s Authority to “Correct the Record”

28 February 2017
Law and Justice: Latrobe Law School Blog

“We don’t comment on particular cases”. Few lines are more ubiquitous in the public sphere. It is no surprise therefore, that the controversy regarding the disclosure of an individual’s personal information by the Department of Human Services has touched off enormous media comment and criticism.

Centrelink outside the law on robo-debt recovery

28 February 2017
Brisbane Times

People pursued by Centrelink over its controversial "robo-debts" are being denied the protection of Australian consumer law, a Parliamentary inquiry has been told.
The welfare agency is exempt from laws and guidelines covering debt collection by private businesses, "even the much maligned banks", according to the chief executive of Victorian community organisation Family Care, David Tennant.

Fairfax and Centrelink unite in an unprecedented move to publicly persecute one woman.

28 February 2017
No Place For Sheep

Just to make it clear: Centrelink has released the private details of an individual citizen without her permission in order to present Alan Tudge’s “side of the story.”
In case there might be any doubt about Tudge’s intentions, Paul Malone and Fairfax have confirmed in their headline that Tudge’s only goal is to use the personal information of a citizen to present his side of the story.

Labor disrupts parliament over Centrelink

28 February 2017
9 News

Labor is attempting to suspend the business of federal parliament, accusing the Turnbull government of breaching privacy laws by leaking confidential information about Centrelink customers.
Opposition human services spokeswoman Linda Burney moved a motion in the lower house on Tuesday, arguing the government had conducted a vindictive campaign to gag those who complain about the Centrelink scandal by leaking their details to the media.

Correcting misleading story about department’s debt recovery process

24 February 2017
Australian Government Department of Human Services Media Hub

Yesterday evening, news.com.au once more ran a misleading story about the department’s debt recovery processes, attempting to again wrongly link it to the online compliance system. Had the department been afforded an opportunity to investigate the cases featured in the story prior to publishing, we would have quickly corrected this erroneous assumption.

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