On the Nick Xenophon Team

Nick Xenophon Team candidate for the Federal Seat of Kingston Damian Carey writes: Re. “Meet the candidates looking to take the NXT step” (yesterday).  For all those out there who are willing to discern truth, as distinct from perpetuating myth, I can assure you I am not an anti-vaxxer. The Australian journalist who interviewed me should have known this because I made that very clear to him. I can only conclude that the reference to me in the story and the headline was deliberate misinformation, a politically motivated attempt at undermining the Nick Xenophon Team. I invite you to read my response to the story here.

There is currently an astonishingly high percentage of undecided voters, suggesting that a substantial slice of the population is despairing of the tone of political debate that has been on display by the two major parties over the recent years. This situation is exacerbated when media focuses on sensationalism and conflict rather than solid investigative journalism.

The Nick Xenophon Team offers a credible alternative to the two major parties. The nation has an opportunity at the upcoming election to change the federal political landscape by electing a team of people with fresh ideas. We are not clones of Nick, we all come from a wide variety of real world experiences and we are passionate about federal parliamentary representation that serves the community interests.

We also honour the integrity and respect that Nick has brought to parliament. He argues strongly about the facts, but he doesn’t go around insulting individuals who have different points of view. We are committed to emulating that.

On skipping the census

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “On boycotting the census” (yesterday). Chris Libreri from the ABS strongly attacked at length Bernard Keane’s earlier article on the proposed changes to handling personal identification details to be gathered in this year’s census. Libreri did not make any attempt to explain or justify why the ABS is making these controversial changes rather than running the 2016 census in the tried and tested way which has generally been found adequate. He continued, “Having complete public trust in our ability to collect and protect people’s information is critical to the success of the census.” He then spelt out the dire consequences for government policies and hence Australian society if the census is compromised.

Well, quite. Thus Libreri justifies the concerns of Keane and many others and makes an irrefutable case for abandoning the ABS’s dangerous proposal to retain personal identification details with this year’s census, which is already destroying the public trust he describes as critical to its success. If the 2016 census becomes a debacle it will be the fault of the ABS. Perhaps a debacle is the intention. Early last year there were reports the Abbott government, characteristically averse to objective real-world facts and their notorious left-wing bias, did not want another census. Turning this census into a wreck will make its subsequent abolition easy.

Dave Moore writes: ABS spokesperson Chris Libreri  tells us that we should become familiar with the Privacy page on the ABS website.Why would I go to the trouble?  As a Crikey reader, I have the advantage of delegating to a trusted source to research and evaluate the issue for me. It would appear that the best course of action is “Nobody was home that night.”

If I were planning to actually research and formulate an opinion of my own, I would stop first to see how many of the Abbott/ Turnbull government promises on metadata retention have been broken (all of them?). I would look at how many major companies and government departments across the planet have been hacked (all of them?). I would look at how many police databases have been illegally used by corrupt police for illegal purposes (all of them?). I would look at how often this happens (every day?).

But, like I said, I don’t need to go to all that trouble.  Bernard looked into it for me and, apparently, ‘there just wasn’t anybody home that night”.

Chris Jackson writes: The ABS’s Chris Libreri is spouting pious waffle on boycotting the census. PayPal, the Big 4 banks and others all require customers to produce copies of passport, driving licence and utility bills before opening accounts. They all regurgitate the same assurances as the ABS, but they all refuse to guarantee that storage and/or processing of your primary ID info will not be outsourced to other companies, in other countries or the cloud. I know from personal experience that Microsoft cannot keep its Australian customers’ details secure from scammers, and if Microsoft can’t secure its own customers’ information, who can? Even if the ABS data is held securely in Australia now, it is at permanent risk of being outsourced when this or some future government slashes the ABS budget. Ditto Medibank and the tax office. The sad truth is that it is almost impossible to guarantee data security in the internet age.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey