The Australian Border Force Bill 2015

Those working in Australia's detention centres are now forbidden under threat of jail time from revealing information to anyone about anything they come across while doing their jobs.

Well, not really, but that's how everyone is reporting it.

This is a reference to Part 6 of the Australian Border Force Bill 2015

This provides for a penalty of up to two years if an "entrusted person" working for border protection discloses "protected information", unless at least one of several possible conditions are met. There's a variety of allowed conditions related to law, courts, child protection, etc., but the two most relevant to this discussion are:

  1. If they have the consent of the person the information is related to. Section 47.
  2. If they reasonably believe that the disclosure will prevent or lesson a "serious threat to the life or health of an individual". Section 48.

[NB: Either one of these alone is acceptable]

I'm honestly not sure that this law is more restrictive then the usual doctor-patient or lawyer-client confidentiality agreements. An argument could be (and apparently has been) made that because there is a small chance they might have to prove in a court of law that their disclosure was reasonably designed to prevent a serious threat it might discourage disclosures, but it in no way forbids it.

Actual law (with Explanatory Memorandum):

47 Disclosure with consent
     An entrusted person may disclose protected information that relates to the affairs of a person or body if:
       (a) the person or body has consented to the disclosure; and
       (b) the disclosure is in accordance with that consent.
Clause 47 - Disclosure with consent

237. This clause authorises an entrusted person to make a record or disclose protected information (including personal information) that relates to the affairs of a person or body if the person or body has consented to the disclosure, and the disclosure is in accordance with that consent.

238. The making of a record or disclosure under this clause is also an exception to subclause 42(1). Also, for the purpose of APP 6 of the Privacy Act, disclosure under this provision constitutes disclosure that is authorised by law. See also clause 51 of the Bill.
48 Disclosure to reduce threat to life or health
     An entrusted person may disclose protected information if:
        (a) the entrusted person reasonably believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the life or health of an individual; and
        (b) the disclosure is for the purposes of preventing or lessening that threat.
Clause 48 - Disclosure to reduce threat to life or health

239. This authorises an entrusted person to make a record or disclose protected information (including personal information) if the entrusted person reasonably believes that the making or a record or disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious threat to the life or health of an individual, and the making of a record or disclosure is for the purposes of preventing or lessening that threat.

240. Disclosure under this clause is also an exception to subclause 42(1). Also, for the purpose of APP 6 of the Privacy Act, use or disclosure under this provision constitutes disclosure that is authorised by law.
Categories: Politics
Date: 2015-10-15 08:25:50, 2 years and 9 days ago

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