Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Department of Human Services; Order for the Production of Documents
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) on 3 July 2017, The Guardian Australia broke the story that private Medicare numbers were being illegally sold on the dark web,
(ii) the Minister for Human Services stated that both he and his department had only been made aware of the breach when The Guardian contacted them on 3 July 2017,
(iii) on 15 September 2017, the Finance and Public Administration References Committee questioned the Department of Human Services during the inquiry into this breach, at which time the department failed to mention any early knowledge about the breach, and
(iv) on 21 November 2017, it was revealed by The New Daily that heavily redacted FOI documents show that officers of the Department of Human Services were aware of the breach 11 days prior to The Guardian story's publication; and
(b) orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Human Services, by no later than 6.30 pm on 4 December 2017:
(i) any advice provided to the Minister by the Department of Human Services relating to the breach, prior to 3 July 2017,
(ii) any documents relating to the breach from the Department of Human Services, prior to 3 July 2017, and
(iii) any related documents.
The Department of Human Services has stated on the public record that it was not aware prior to 3 July of the particular case reported by The Guardian. The Minister for Human Services has also confirmed that he was not aware prior to 3 July of the particular case reported by The Guardian. On receiving the allegation, the department advised the minister and referred it to the Australian Federal Police. The government has responded swiftly, with the independent review of health providers' access to Medicare numbers returning 14 recommendations which have in-principle support. The AFP investigation remains ongoing.
The question is that motion 610 be agreed to.
Senator Dodson did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Parry.
Senator Farrell did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Nash.
Senator Smith did not vote, to compensate for the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Xenophon.