“Committee to review Data Bill”


The Senate has referred the Data Protection Bill 2019 to a select committee for further consideration after several questions were raised about some of its provisions.

The bill which originated in the Senate, saw acting Leader of Government Business Senator Kay McConney leading off  the debate at Friday’s sitting and Independent Senator Kevin Boyce querying aspects, such as the proposed regulations related to child protection.

He pointed out the issue of consent for processing children’s personal data had proven to be “somewhat difficult”.

“We need to be aware that while the goals are lofty and the aim certainly should be commended, when we start to get into the legislation, especially with the penalties that could arise, we need to be making sure that we tread appropriately in the circumstances,” he said.

Boyce argued education would be “key” as to how the act would be implemented. He suggested the intent of the legislation was “good” but  expressed concern about the implications for people who could find them themselves in breach of the act and the attendant penalties. 

“My humble urging is that it is rolled out with the necessary warning and training to allow the necessary stakeholders to put the appropriate  safeguards and resources in place, and that the education campaign to support it is widespread,” said Boyce.

kay-mcconneyIn response  to what she described as a wide and useful debate on the bill, Senator McConney told the Senate: ”I believe from what we have heard today  that we can admit that there is some need for further public education, as well as the opportunity to ventilate this bill further.”

She then recommended the legislation be referred to a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament and suggested herself, Senator Boyce, Senator Damien Sands, Senator Crystal Drakes and Senator Rawdon Adams be selected to serve on that committee.

All senators voted in favour of McConney’s recommendations. (GC)