Since reports first surfaced of issues with Centrelink’s new data matching systems linked to Australian Tax Office data, Pirate Party Australia’s social media accounts have been swamped with stories of incorrect debt claims going back many years, including debts from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

It is clear from many reports that Centrelink is automatically generating flawed debts based on algorithms that will obviously produce incorrect results[1], this new attempt by the government to crassly reduce spending on social security has revealed their true policy: to treat anyone who makes a legitimate claim as guilty until proven innocent. Continue reading

ppau-digital-privacyDespite the serious privacy concerns first raised by the Pirate Party in March, and now shared by thousands of Australians as well as the Greens, Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has continued to forge ahead with the invasive 2016 Census. For the first time the ABS is planning to keep names for four years, linking very personal information asked by the Census questionnaire. Like many, the Pirate Party has raised objections to the collection of identifying information, and now calls on the ABS to declare the giving of “Name” and “Address” optional.

“The ABS has not properly consulted with the Australian public on this new, more invasive version of the Census,” said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. “Names are not required by law according to former Australian Statistician Bill McLennan [PDF], and it is difficult to see how names could help with statistical analysis. Collecting names does, however, increase the danger of privacy breaches for Australian citizens which, given the ABS has been subject to 14 data breaches in the last three years, is particularly concerning. A simple way for the ABS put many Australians at ease is to make it optional for people to give their names and address.”

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The webcast returns for a new season this week and Sam introduces new co-host Brandon Selic to the show. They discuss the coming election, Pirate Party Australia’s senate candidates, the 2016 federal budget and asylum seekers. Subscribe to the feed, or view past episodes.

Link mentioned in the budget discussion:

Guess whose electorate negatively gears the most…

Two asylum seekers on Nauru have committed acts of self-immolation[1] less than a week after the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea held that the Manus Island detention centre is unconstitutional[2]. In a disgusting response, the Government of Nauru issued a press statement suggesting that the self-harm incidents were “politically motivated” and asylum seekers were “not distressed”.

“Self-harm incidents as extreme as self-immolation cannot be dismissed by claims that asylum seekers on Nauru are not distressed[3]. This — along with other reports of self-harm and the denial of any wrongdoing by the Governments of both Australia and Nauru — shows a complete lack of humanity towards those seeking asylum. Not only that, but the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees has condemned Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and yesterday demanded that they be moved to humane conditions[4]. It is clear that evidence has given way to political grandstanding and the censoring of information,” said Deputy President Michael Keating

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has recently announced that people being surveyed for the Census can no longer retain their anonymity. The ABS will now retain the names and addresses of all contributors to the 2016 Australian Census[1]. The previous Census introduced retention of private data on an opt-in basis, but this time around, retention of private data is to be compulsory.

“Whilst we don’t believe that the ABS is planning to collect identifiable information for nefarious purposes, there are serious privacy concerns with collecting names and addresses along with all of the other personal information gathered in the Census,” said Simon Frew, President of Pirate Party Australia. “A future government could simply re-collate the data and use the information to target opponents based on religion, career or ethnicity. When potential abuse can only be thwarted by the good-will of future governments, the risk to personal safety is too great.”

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