Australian Information Commissioner investigates privacy breach by MUA

June 10, 2016 |

The Privacy Commissioner issued a statement today announcing that he is investigating a possible breach by the MUA.  The media release provides:

The Acting Australian Information Commissioner has opened an investigation into an incident in which personal information about members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) was allegedly disclosed by the MUA to the Glen Lazarus Team (GLT) political party.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner will publish a statement about the outcome of this investigation at its conclusion.

The facts are outlined in the Courier Mail article  Federal election 2016: Maritime union members outraged at breach of privacy  which provides:

MARITIME union members are outraged by a massive breach of privacy when their private details were handed over to Senator Glenn Lazarus’s campaign team without permission.

His close association with the organisation sparked accusations from a senior Turnbull Government Minister that he was a “union stooge”.

Addresses and phone numbers were handed over to the crossbench Senator’s office, with Maritime Union Australia members contacted asking if they would volunteer for the Glenn Lazarus Team (GLT) on polling day.

MUA state secretary Bob Carnegie said there had been a full inquiry into how the breach of protocol had occurred, saying there had been an “absolute miscommunication”.

“My members’ addresses are sacrosanct. They are not for any political party,” he said. “There’s no huge secret that we’re giving (Senator) Lazarus some support, of course we are, that doesn’t mean I’m going to give him membership lists.”

The union last Friday ordered the GLT to stop using the details and it is understood the party complied.

But Mr Carnegie also confirmed the MUA had made donations and offered other support to Senator Lazarus’s campaign. “We’re throwing a few bob his way. A couple of our rank and file members are doing work with him for no charge,” he said.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said it brought into question Senator Lazarus’s voting opposition to the Australian Building and Construction Commission Bill and the China Free Trade Agreement. “There are already enough union stooges in the Australian Senate,” she said.

The Senate narrowly rejected the ABCC Bill in August after the Government failed to get support from crossbench senators Jacqui Lambie, Ricky Muir and Senator Lazarus.

Senator Lazarus did not comment on how he got the workers’ details, but defended his relationship with the MUA.

He said he was backed by the MUA because of his stance on “Aussie jobs for Aussie workers”.

“I am proud to be supported by an organisation that fights for the rights of workers,” the Senator said.

One Response to “Australian Information Commissioner investigates privacy breach by MUA”

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