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Preview: Comments on Peter Martin: Tuesday column: The Access Card is a complete mes...

Comments on Peter Martin: Tuesday column: The Access Card is a complete mess, buried but still belching up toxic smoke.

Updated: 2015-09-30T08:04:03.541+10:00


I was the author of the paper which killed the ori...


I was the author of the paper which killed the original Australia Card. I was co-founder of the then leading supplier of IT solutions into the pharmacy market and we were concerned that the plan for the Health Insurance Commission (HIC) to spend a capital amount of some $700m putting "black boxes" into every pharmacy to do on-line checking of concession card numbers. With on-going costs of about 10% (ie $70m) minimum, it was a lot of expense to deal with a portion of then $30-50m pa concession card fraud on the PBS.

In the submission, the Guild offered that our company would do the same function... by updating pharmacy computer systems with algorithms to determine expiry dates of concession card numbers and by providing a list of known-fraudulent current concession card numbers. The difference was that our company would do the billion dollar job FOR FREE with no strings attached...

The really amazing thing was that, when the Senate knocked back the legislation on the grounds that the HIC's aims could be achieved by less expensive and less intrusive methods, the HIC showed NIL interest in encoding expiry dates into concession card numbers, or any of the other "alternative means" of achieving the stated goals of the $1b project. That fact proved to me that it is "normal" for any bureaucracy to seek greater and greater control for simply the purpose of control... in other words that Orwell was right and that it is only people speaking out that will limit the inch-by-inch growth towards a 1984-style of government.

I don't have any fundamental objection to the minimum solution for the now-proposed Australia Card II... but I do believe that it's strength will be in keeping identifiers like your photo within the chip, and not on the face of the card... That way we can also have the debate about how ubiquitous the readers should eventually become...

The Feds already have such extensive data-matching that they know all the high-risk benefits abusers... and the doctors who over-prescribe... and the doctors who see too many patients in a day...

The Feds should go with a minimal card and put their efforts into the new ATO electronic lodgement system where the ATO gathers all your interest-earned and dividends (with and without franking) and pre-fills-in most of your tax return for you... it is far better to assist people with compliance that seek to catch them out afterwards. The state never has the resources to pursue those it has caught, but there is more tax collections in reminding everyone beforehand.

Peter,You forgot to mention that Chris Ellison pre...



You forgot to mention that Chris Ellison presided over the computer system upgrade fiasco at Customs, which has cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in compensation, with millions of dollars outstanding in claims,to importers.

The Banking Industry has a huge interest in a National ID card as it will allow the Banks to tip their losses due to fraud onto the unsuspecting taxpayers. This likely will make 'Marginal Mal' Turnbull and his cronies happy campers.