Senate debates

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Questions without Notice


2:30 pm

Photo of Ian CampbellIan Campbell (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

I thank Senator Nettle for what is a very important question. We have, as a government, introduced legislation into the other place today to meet the concerns of those who continue to hold fears that the new Smartcard to replace the 1984 Medicare card, which is the subject of substantial fraud against Australian taxpayers, could in some way be related to the Labor Party’s proposal for an Australia Card back in the 1980s. I think they are legitimate fears because Australians do not want an ID card; they do not want to be forced by third parties, as Labor’s proposal for the Australia Card would have done, to produce an ID card if they are to get a mortgage or a bank loan or a range of other services. The draft legislation, if Senator Nettle wants to find it, was released before Christmas when Mr Hockey was the minister, so it has been open for public consultation. I am very keen to maintain a strong and high-quality public consultation because I want to make sure that all 16 million to 17 million Australians who receive this card feel secure that their information is going to be kept private and that this will be an improvement on the level of service that is received. It is very different to the existing Medicare card. The existing Medicare card was designed in 1984. A lot has changed since then. I remind people that back in 1984 the Datsun 200B was a very popular car—and a very good car at that, I am sure—


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