Gov’t Admits It’ll Leak Your Details If You Publicly Criticise Centrelink

Just when you thought the rigmarole of dealing with Centrelink couldn’t possibly become worse, the Department of Human Services (DHS) has revealed it believes itself at discretion to release personal details in order to combat claims it objects with.


The revelation comes after blogger Andie Fox found the DHS had released private information from her file to a Fairfax Media journo, who wrote a story countering one of Fox’s blog posts discussing an allegedly false Centrelink debt.

Fox also maintains that despite the information leak, some elements of the most recent story are misleading. 

In a statement obtained by the ABC, the DHS claims when “such disclosures are made for the purposes of the social security law or the family assistance law, they do not need to be formally authorised by the secretary.”

“Unfounded allegations unnecessarily undermine confidence and takes staff effort away from dealing with other claims.

“We will continue to correct the record on such occasions.”

What’s more is that Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge even retweeted the relevant Fairfax piece after his office provided the journo with the information, indicating support for the procedure extends right to the top of the DHS hierarchy.  


In the light of this deeply worrying turn of events, Fox told the ABC she’s filed a complaint with Centrelink for, you know, choosing to share private details in an attempt to win a PR battle.

Opposition to the move has come from other corners too, with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam saying everything about this debacle is totally out of line. 

Fox’s alleged debt wasn’t related to the automated debt recovery disaster, but this thoroughly sickening development poses the question: will those who take issue with Centrelink’s handling of that issue fall under the same public scrutiny, too?

Source: ABC / The Guardian.
Photo: Getty.