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Friday, August 25, 2006

ADT privacy decision: no evidence of who spilled the beans on VA

In VA v Premier’s Department (2006) NSWADT249 the ADT dismissed an application for review of a privacy complaint on the basis that there was no evidence of the allegations made by the applicant.

VA had complained that a member of the staff of the Department or someone in a minister’s office had provided information about him to a journalist. While someone clearly gave the journalist some information, and a shadow minister was of the view that it came from within government, VA was unable to provide evidence that confirmed information was held or disclosed by anyone in the Department.

One issue that isn't referred to in the decision, and hasn't had a run in other ADT cases to date, concerns the application of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act to the handling of personal information by ministers and ministerial staff. Unlike Federal and Victorian privacy legislation, the NSW Act does not include ministers in the definition of those covered by privacy obligations, but ministerial staff, all of whom are employed by the Premier's Department are public sector officials for the purposes of the Act.

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