Lessons from the Australia Card -- Deux Ex Machina?
The Computer Law and Security Report, Vol. 3 No. 6, March/April 1988, p. 6)
6 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2013
Date Written: February 1, 1988
The Australian Labor Government's 1986/7 proposals for a national identification scheme, the pseudo-patriotically named `Australia Card', gave many Australians nightmares, and not only those of East European and Asian extraction. However, like all good nightmares, we woke one September morning to find that the nightmare was over. A retired and retiring public servant, Ewart Smith, himself having a restless night being kept awake by magpies, had dawn upon him a loophole in the legislation. It ensured that the Opposition parties could prevent the Card from ever being implemented, even though the Government could still pass the Australia Card Bill 1986 .
This article outlines the legislative and political background to the demise of the Australia Card, and some of the lessons that could be learned from how it was defeated.
(Note: Details of the Australia Card proposals are in another paper by the author on SSRN: 'The Australia Card: Towards a National Surveillance System'.) Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2195493.
Keywords: privacy, data protection, ID card, surveillance, Australia
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