While supporting the Committee's recommendation that the bill be passed,
Labor Senators note that the Government's changes to the My Health Record Act
are woefully inadequate.
The Minister for Health dismissed inquiries into the My Health Record as
a 'stunt'. But the inquiry has revealed a range of serious flaws in the current
legislation that are not addressed by the Government’s bill.
These flaws have been created by the Government’s rushed implementation
of an opt-out model. Legislation and settings that made sense in Labor's opt-in
model – when informed consent was assured – make no sense under the
Government’s opt-out model.
In contrast to the Government's stubborn refusal to address these flaws,
Labor Senators intend to move amendments to this bill to ensure that:
- The My Health Record can never be privatised or commercialised;
- Private health insurers can never access My Health Records,
including de-identified data;
- Employees' right to privacy is protected in the context of
employer-directed health care, by including a clause similar to s14(2) of the
Healthcare Identifiers Act in the My Health Record Act;
- Vulnerable children and parents such as those fleeing domestic
violence are protected, by narrowing the definition of parental responsibility;
- The System Operator (the Australian Digital Health Agency) cannot
delegate access to My Health Records to other entities.
Labor Senators may also move additional amendments in light of ongoing
consultations with concerned stakeholders.
Labor Senators share a range of further privacy and security concerns in
relation to default My Health Record settings – for example, regarding
automatic uploads and minors aged 14-18. Labor Senators will address these
concerns in the separate References Committee report.
In the meantime, the Government must heed Labor's call to suspend the
opt-out rollout until all remaining concerns are addressed and public
confidence in this important reform is restored.
|Senator Murray Watt
Senator for Tasmania
Senator for New
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