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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2678..


MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. That was a very unsatisfactory answer. It gives the impression that you have not taken the trouble to find out.

MR SPEAKER: There should be no preamble, thank you. I do not want an argument.

MS TUCKER: I am asking my question now. Does that mean that the Liberal Party does not support the notion that the Olympics are, in fact, open and should be open to people no matter what their religious persuasion? If you care about that, why did you not ask?

MR HUMPHRIES: The Liberal Party does not have a policy on the Beijing Olympic Games, I am sorry to tell you. We have overlooked getting around to making such a policy before this election or any other election, for that matter. We do not have a policy for any Olympic Games. I would like to see an open Olympic Games as well, Ms Tucker. I would like to see games in which everybody who was able to and who was sufficiently qualified in athletic terms would be able to attend and play in those games, but it is not a matter over which I have any control or any capacity even to influence, I suspect, in my humble position as ACT Chief Minister, much as I would love to be able to influence world events. I am working on it, Ms Tucker, but for the moment I do not have that capacity and, with great respect, it is not a matter that should be fielded by me in these circumstances.

Centrelink information on student absences

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Education. Yesterday, in an answer to a question from Mr Berry about the provision by his department to Centrelink of information on college student attendances, the minister said his advice was that the department was required to pass the information. In today's Canberra Times his spokesman is reported as saying the department had been obliged to make the changes in the way the information was gathered and reported because of new federal legislation.

Can the minister tell the Assembly what federal legislation requires the ACT government to pass information about all college students to Centrelink? If there is a requirement to pass on the information, can he explain why the ACT is one of only three jurisdictions, along with Queensland and Western Australia, which has adopted the practice?

MR STEFANIAK: I am just getting the name of the act for you, Mr Hargreaves. Yes, I read that report too, and I indicated that there are a couple of things I have to get back to Mr Berry on. It is the Social Security Administration Act 1999. The other relevant acts are the Student Assistance Act 1973, the Data-Matching Program (Assistance and Tax) Act 1990, the Privacy Act 1988 and the Privacy Commissioner's Guidelines on Data Matching. Unmatched data is to be deleted within 90 days.

I was interested in some of the comments in the article and also something from the Narrabundah magazine of June. There may well be ways in which Centrelink and the Commonwealth can improve its performance, Mr Hargreaves. I am quite happy to look at that too and to see whether improvements can be made. It seems that this issue concerns some people. I can well see the need for data to be given to them so that


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