Labor lips sealed on Access Card future

Labor lips sealed on Access Card future

Summary: Despite having taken a non-committal stance on the Access Card during the election campaign, privacy advocates are hopeful that Labor will scrap the project now that it has entered government.

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Despite having taken a non-committal stance on the Access Card during the election campaign, privacy advocates are hopeful that Labor will scrap the project now that it has entered government.

"The Access card is still a major issue," said Roger Clarke, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF).

"Apart from what we've heard from Tanya Plibersek -- who acted as Labor's spokesperson on the issue -- there have been no official statements from the party on what they plan to do, they haven't actually consolidated their position," he said.

A Labor party spokesperson told ZDNet Australia today that the party had not had the chance to hold a caucus meeting or select a cabinet since winning government, and until then would not be able to comment on the future of the Access Card.

In the lead up to the election, Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja criticised Labor for not taking an active stance against the card, saying Labor had taken the "politically convenient line that its support for the project would depend on whether the contracts had been signed prior to the election".

Despite conjecture over its position in relation to the Access Card, the APF's Clarke welcomed Labor's proposals to reform the Freedom of Information Act.

"We would be enlightened if Labor were to deliver on this promise, I'd be hopeful that we'd all be better informed," said Clarke.

Clarke went on to voice his concerns over the current anti-terrorism laws, and what future they will have under a Labor government, saying that he was disturbed by their lack of commitment to overturning the legislation.

However, Clarke was buoyed by the success of the Greens, describing them as "strong supporters" of privacy. He also noted that there were a number of new issues for the government to tackle once in office, particularly in relation to the offshore information industry.

"To hear that a number of debt collection services have been outsourced to Bangalore is a real worry," he said. "We're talking about exporting sensitive personal data to a country that doesn't just have inadequate privacy laws, but almost non-existent privacy laws."

Topics: Government, Emerging Tech, Government AU, Privacy, Security, IT Employment

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  • Labor has scrapped the Access Card

    I work in a government agency that did a lot of work in preparation for the Access Card.
    Yesterday, we got told to scrap it because the incoming Federal Government said the Access Card will not be progressed.
    anonymous