ID card not so smart
Thursday June 01st 2006, 10:39 am

who stood to gain by Kelaher's resignation? (image: ABC)

One of these people is lying.

John Howard and Joe Hockey want to put big government in your pocket– but why? And why were privacy concerns so insurmountable that James Kelaher resigned?

The excuse du jour for spying on recipients of government payments is either terrorism or welfare fraud, depending upon whom is trying to scare you today- but neither holds any water.

The truth is that you have a MUCH greater chance in Australia of being killed in an auto accident than by a terrorist act. The “smart” ID card can’t possibly protect you from bombs and bullets- and it won’t have air bags, either.

The ‘welfare fraud’ alibi is just that- horsehockey. Australia has among the very lowest rates of welfare fraud in developed nations; around 0.5%. The cost of welfare fraud in Australia is much less than the $10 billion estimated cost of implementing the “smart” ID card. Moreover, the vast majority of that 0.5% fraud rate has to do with undeclared income- not identity fraud.

Being a disabled pensioner, I am completely sick and tired of downward envy. I became disabled as a result of complications from being plowed off a motorcycle by a drink driver. How fair is it for government to again victimise people who are already victims of circumstance? One thing for sure, no one is getting fat and sassy on $499.70 per fortnight. Demonising the disabled is so tabloid. Can’t the Liberal Party and the trash media find someone else a bit more deserving of abuse? People with disabilities and single mums have had enough, thanks.

The Australian public are not being told the real reasons why we need a “smart” ID card. An ID card can not possibly increase public safety nor reduce fraud- so what is it really for? We don’t know- and the Howard government doesn’t want to tell us. Howard and Hockey deny that the ‘smart’ card is an ID card. Even the Department of Human Services website goes to some lengths to avoid calling it an ‘ID card.’ However, the jig is up when you look at the filename for the DHS webpage which describes the ‘smart’ card:

idc.htm? Filespeak for ‘ID card,’ perhaps?

If the gubmint is dying to spend $10 billion on something, how about dental coverage on Medicare? Traffic signals at all school crossings? Employment and healthcare in Aboriginal communities? Stormwater and wastewater recycling?

At present, pertinent data is distributed over many information systems. If critical data is placed in a single system, identity fraud will become a much simpler task for those inclined to take advantage. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The notion that the ‘smart’ card is beneficial because it will replace 17 ID cards is a benefit to no one but the government. No single person could qualify for 17 cards. I doubt Joe Hockey could even name them all from memory. The vast majority of people will have no more than two, or at very worst, three cards for government services. The ’17 cards’ suggestion is just another ruse.

I don’t care if Saint Alan of Fels is independently running the privacy management of the ID card system or not; a centralised information system is inherently vulnerable to improper access of information and identity fraud.

If you put all your eggs in one basket, someone will find a way to break them.

If you’re concerned about the proposed ID card, there’s a few things you can do about it.


UPDATE: Murdoch has another go at demonising recipients of entitlements. Not just terrorists- but dole bludgers, too! (hat tip to @ndy!)

8 Comments so far
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Did somebody say function creep?

Start by acclimatising the children, so they never realise that once upon a time, the state trusted its citizens until it had good reason not to do so.

Comment by Flashman 06.02.06 @ 7:07 am

I heard Hockey harping on about doing the right thing by tax-payers earlier on. What a load of BS. As you pointed out Weez, what else can it be for other than serving the purpose of an ID card? Welcome to East Berlin, Australia!
Weez, are you one of the unfortunate people who fall under the new regulations of forcing some on disability pensions to work after July 1st?

Comment by Dave 06.02.06 @ 11:02 am

I can’t believe those mealy mouthed b’s have 10 billion dollars ready to hand but still want to make disabled people work.

Comment by JahTeh 06.02.06 @ 9:29 pm

Is it just me, or is that Murdoch press peice seriously implying that an allegation should disbar relatives of the person concerned from their ordinary entitlements under the law? WTF?

But I’m with ya weez – screw downward envy. You must admit tho, its proving to be a remarkably successful political took for tories & their kin worldwide.

Comment by Marcus 06.03.06 @ 10:28 am

Flash, the ID card for pre-schoolers is just the Big Brother living end, innit? I won’t even use an E-Tag for the tollroads. If a toll road won’t take cash, I’ll drive around it (while I still can).

Dave, the ‘Welfare To Work’ scam specifically excludes people who had a DSP granted before implementation of WTW. Fortunately, I won’t be contending with the new limits. However, given the nature of my disabilities, I wouldn’t be deemed physically capable of working even 15 hours per week. I can’t even do my own grocery shopping anymore. Even if I were subject to the new rules, I’d still qualify for a DSP.

JT, the Liberals just couldn’t get by without tooting that bludger dog-whistle, could they? Please, anyone, come up with some new suggestions of people to demonise for the Liberals. Muslims and other brown people don’t count. They’re already targets.

Marcus, thankfully, most people in Australia are lucky enough never to have had to take a payment. Alan Jones hates those bloody bludgers, so those who parrot the Poofy Parrot himself happily hate them as well. Few tories do the research to find out exactly how much pensioners and unemployed people are actually paid. I wonder how many haters could get by on $250 per week in Sydney. I’ll clue ya, there’s a lot of reduce, re-use and recycle going on in this domicile.

Comment by weez 06.03.06 @ 5:09 pm

I cannot believe Lincoln Wright can get away with suggesting that a family should be discriminated against because of the arrest of one member of their household.

Not only is there no presumption of innocence (he has appointed himself judge and jury) their wives and children are guilty by association & he implies it is an outrage that they be afforded some (legal) way of feeding their kids whilst on their own.

The author of that story and the website it belongs to should be put in gaol not only for contempt of court but for discrimination and vilification for being overly specific of the races of the partners and children of the accused.

Comment by ab 06.03.06 @ 10:00 pm

ab, yes indeed… no court in the western world has the power to penalise the families of the accused. This is the domain of Chinese justice, though not theirs solely.

Lincoln Wright is one thing- Jack-also-known-as-Steve (JAKAS) Medcraft of ‘People Against Lenient Sentencing’ is quite another. JAKAS famously and regularly attacks blogger GuruAnn for no apparent reason other than the fact that he’s a certifiable nuthatch. If The Hun was looking for a reputable, reasonable and reliable comment, one would think that JAKAS would be about as far away from that as one could get.

Comment by weez 06.04.06 @ 10:25 am

[…] Health and Human Services Minister Joe Hockey ought to sell used cars or real estate. In the controversy plagued smartcard campaign, now dubbed the ‘Access Card,’ J-Ho has called the card just about anything but what it is, suggesting that user-available space on the card can be used for recipes, shopping lists or MP3 files- but dodging the core matter of the fact that the Access Card is still a national ID card connected to linked information databases, containing your personal medical and financial data. […]

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