Senate votes to protect veterans' privacy

Last night the Senate voted to protect veterans' privacy when it passed the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Digital Readiness and Other Measures) Bill 2017 with a Government amendment to omit the Public Interest Disclosure from the legislation.

A second amendment from Labor, which also passed, excludes decisions that are adverse to a client from computer decision-making is also a win for Veterans by protecting them from computer programs that say "no" to a claim which would then be assessed by a human delegate.

"This is a clear win for veterans as their privacy would continue to be protected, while the claims process will become more streamlined with the introduction of ICT," Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie said.

"It was due to the hard work of the crossbench of this Senate last week that caused both the Government and Labor to act in introducing their amendments to better protect veterans' privacy and prevent computer programs making wrong decisions in rejecting claims for liability," Senator Lambie said.

"There was a lack of robust consultation within the veterans' community by the Department of Veterans' Affairs and this was made clear by a petition started by the South Lake Macquarie RSL Sub-Branch in New South Wales, which had gained 10,163 supporters in less than two weeks, urging the Senate to stop the bill's public interest disclosure measures.

"Veterans, who make an enormous sacrifice to serve and protect our great country deserve to be consulted on the protections of their privacy, and the passed bill maintains the status quo on their privacy", Senator Lambie said.