Unsurprisingly, the Super Saturday byelection results had Crikey readers in a frenzy yesterday. Poll Bludger’s assessment in particular drew a few choice comments on the country-wide melee (readers threw down in Guy Rundle’s and Bernard Keane’s pieces too). Elsewhere, Ben Grub’s guide to fixing the My Health Record roll-out continued a complex debate which doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

On the Super Saturday shakeup

Interrobanging On writes: The press gallery didn’t just smell blood in the water for a Labor leadership spill, but overall has a slant to the Liberals and wanted to foment division. Too many live in a fantasy that an urbane and socially at-least-non-regressive Liberal PM can exist. There seems still hope that Turnbull might deliver — amazing!

Peter Wileman writes: Not enough credit is given to Eric Abetz for helping Labor across the line in Braddon. Typically, Abetz trolling through his dirt file came across trouble that Craig Garland got into 24 years ago, and so Abetz, demonstrating what a good christian he is, had to hold a press conference to make sure that the dirt was spread around. Result: 11% voted for Garland. I wonder what the result would have been without his mealy mouthed smear campaign?


On fixing My Health Record.

2shed writes:  I’m a GP. I have many patients who have complex health problems. Some of these sort of patients have been seriously harmed or have died due to lack of knowledge of their health status, and many who are elderly or suffer from chronic disease are poor historians.

That being said I am appalled that there are provisions to give other agencies outside of health access to these records. If this permission is not revoked then they will effectively wreck the e-record system. Too much vulnerability, too many end users, but for the millions of little old ladies and gents out there it is essential progress.

Fargyn writes: You seem to assume that the data being shared is complete and correct. The fact that the majority of health data in Australia is either still in paper form, incomplete or incorrect — with no means or funding made available to correct this — makes the system, even with right ownership and privacy control, rather pointless.

Ian Farquhar writes: I think today’s article on fixing the My Health fiasco misses a key recommendation. Let’s make the assumption that there is a legitimate reason for law enforcement, and only law enforcement, to access an individual’s health record without their consent or knowledge. In reality, finding actual cases where access to this data is the only way a crime could be prosecuted tends to identify boundary cases, and most examples of crimes I’ve heard used to justify this requirement are readily investigated by other means.

The change which is required is simple: the access should require a warrant, as proposed.  And if the matter which that warrant has been issued for has not resulted in a prosecution of the individual within six months, that individual should be officially notified that their health records were shared, with whom, and for what purpose. Addressing the need of very complex investigations which take longer than six months, investigators should be able to go back to a judge and get an extension which delays the notification.

Of course, logically, this proposal shouldn’t just apply to the health records.  The same should apply to a telecommunications interception as well, under the Telecommunications (Intercept and Access) Act 1979. This is actually not a new proposal, as a variant of the above was proposed within the Attorney-General’s department some years ago. Police and intelligence both made sure the proposal never saw the light of day.

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