Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 November 2021) . . Page.. 3877 ..
government, as if this information had been sent to people and broadcast by the ACT government and then looked at by many, many people. I think it is really important to reassure those people who are experiencing stress and anxiety that that is not the case.
I think it is very important that everyone take very seriously part (4) of Mr Steel’s amendment and ensure that they and their officers have not been responsible for dissemination or pointing any other third party to this information, if they had become aware of it, rather than, if they were concerned about it being an issue of privacy, alerting the government to it immediately and indeed alerting other authorities if they thought that that was the appropriate action to take.
We hear about some of the actions that have been taken with this data—sharing it around to people to determine whether or not they could identify people in it, sharing around to other people to determine whether those other people were able to identify people. If you believe that this is private data that should not be shared with anyone, why would you be sharing it around with other people to determine whether they could identify people?
Ms Lee interjecting—
Mr Rattenbury: On a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker, Ms Lee made very controversial remarks and she was heard in silence. She is now shouting over the minister in an entirely unparliamentary way.
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Cain): I call Ms Stephen-Smith.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I want to ensure everybody here that I am in no way diminishing the seriousness of this issue and the importance of it being investigated. I think it is clear that someone who worked on workers compensation matters and was familiar with individual cases and the time that they would have occurred, and the injuries that they would have incurred, may have been able to look at this spreadsheet and identify people from it. That is not actually that surprising. The same would happen in a lot of other cases where de-identified data is released but people who are already familiar with the data would be able to re-identify it.
But the question is why those people were being shown that information, why that information was being distributed to other people by people who are claiming that they are so concerned about privacy. That may not be anybody in this place or any of their staff, but I think it is really important that the Canberra Liberals support Mr Steel’s amendment and that everybody addresses part (4) of it.
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (3.59): I thank Ms Lee for bringing this very important motion to the Assembly today. I rise to speak in support of an independent review of the government’s compliance with the Information Privacy Act. As noted, the information about workers compensation claims for 30,000 public sector employees has been publicly accessible online for the past years because of a decision taken by this government. Despite Minister Steel’s assurance last week that he is not aware of any specific privacy breach, individuals have already been identified by means of the personal medical details that appear in this document. One would have to be wilfully blind not to acknowledge this as an obvious privacy breach.