Page 799 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 28 March 2023

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(c) that, in question time today, the Minister advised that a nurse in another area of Health other than Dhulwa had in fact inappropriately provided personal medical information to the Union; and

(2) calls on the Minister for Health to apologise for misleading the Assembly.

I will endeavour not to take up too much time. The matter before us—and I have provided the words in the motion that I have circulated—is a pretty straightforward one. We have been trying to get information out of this government about what has been going on in the health system with people’s personal information, and it has been excruciating. Let me quote from the Canberra Times:

This whole sorry matter only became public via reporting by The Canberra Times. Despite some claims to the contrary since that reporting, we should have no faith that anyone in government ever wanted it to be more public …

Since then, there has been a confused release of small pieces of information, blocking of requests for others …

There was a pretty straightforward question asked by Ms Castley in this place, and it is there before you. She said: “There has been ongoing release of information over a number of years in one area of Health of private data to the union. Has that happened elsewhere?” There was a pretty straightforward answer; we got a categorical “no” from the minister.

We took that in good faith. We thought, “We’ve asked whether a nurse or another medical professional has provided someone’s private data to the union, in another area of Health, as has happened over a number of years, in mental health,” and the minister said categorically, “No, there is no evidence.”

That afternoon Dave Peffer comes out and says, “Wrong.” We found out that there had been a release of data. We then asked a question about it in the Assembly today. We are asking: has there been a release of data by a nurse or a medical professional to the union? We find out that it has happened, even though the minister denied it.

It would have to be only the most technical, deliberate attempt to lie by omission to suggest that the minister was not misleading us. It seems that, the whole way along here, the only reason we know about this is because of what Dave Peffer has told us. That is the only reason we found out about this in the first place, because of the email he sent out. At every single stage when we have asked questions, one of these two ministers has either said, “I can’t answer,” or provided a wrong answer; then Mr Peffer comes out and provides us with the answer.

I do not know whether he has tuned in to the Assembly and thought, “Hang on, they can provide that. They’re saying they can’t provide that data; they can,” and he was providing it, or he is up there saying, “Hang on, the minister is wrong. There was a leak of information from a nurse to the health union.” To suggest that is not a leak of private information—that that is somehow different—is bizarre. It is bizarre and it is misleading in the extreme.

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