I had started to put together an article showing how Greg Hunt, in his insistence that the My Health legislation would not allow the police and others to access our private healthcare records without a court order, was wrong. Fortunately the AMA and other concerned bodies have brought the minister to his senses and he has finally acknowledged that the legislation as it stands does not require a court order for our personal records to be accessed and he has promised to introduce legislation to amend the act.
The worrying thing is that it took so much effort to demonstrate to Hunt that he was wrong and even then, he blamed it on Labor.
Greg Hunt and the Australian Digital Health Agency have repeatedly said that “no documents will be released without a court order” but the claim had been contradicted by the parliamentary library and now then the Queensland Police Union.
To be clear the legislation says that :
Section 70 Disclosure for law enforcement purposes, etc.
(1) The System Operator is authorised to use or disclose health information included in a healthcare recipient’s My Health Record if the System Operator reasonably believes that the use or disclosure is reasonably necessary for one or more of the following things done by, or on behalf of, an enforcement body:
(a) the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences, breaches of a law imposing a penalty or sanction or breaches of a prescribed law;
(b) the enforcement of laws relating to the confiscation of the proceeds of crime;
(c) the protection of the public revenue;
(d) the prevention, detection, investigation or remedying of seriously improper conduct or prescribed conduct;
(e) the preparation for, or conduct of, proceedings before any court or tribunal, or implementation of the orders of a court or tribunal.
The act defines the System Operator as :
(1) The System Operator is:
(a) the Secretary of the Department; or
(b) if a body established by a law of the Commonwealth is prescribed by the regulations to be the System Operator—that body.
So, before I went to print, the minister conceded what was obvious to all bar him : it should not have taken so much effort to get him to read the act that he administers and yes, minister, it was an ALP piece of legislation to which the coalition subscribed. But that’s not the point !