View Privacy Act
|Telephone:||02 6215 1783|
|Postal address||Privacy Contact Officer
Department of Finance
One Canberra Avenue
FORREST ACT 2603
The Privacy Act establishes statutory requirements for how Australian Government agencies collect, store, use and disclose personal information. Personal information is defined in the Privacy Act to mean information or an opinion (including information or an opinion forming part of a database), whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about a natural person whose identity is apparent, or can be reasonably ascertained, from the information or opinion. Personal information is generally accepted to include such information as details about a person’s birth date, home address or financial circumstances.
Why does M&PS collect personal information?
M&PS collects personal information:
- for the administration and provision of resources to current and former Members of Parliament, including their employees and their eligible dependants, under the parliamentary work expenses framework
- to enable the payment of salaries, benefits and allowances to:
- Ministers under the Ministers of State Act 1952 and the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 (RT Act)
- Members of Parliament under the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1952 and the RT Act
- employees under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 (MOP(S) Act)
- for other purposes such as: maintaining personnel and salary records, recording freedom of information (FOI) requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), and assisting with inquiries in relation to alleged misuse of parliamentarians’ work expenses.
What sort of personal information is collected?
M&PS collects information that may include: name, address, date of birth, occupation, classification, gender, marital status, names and status of partners or relatives, curriculum vitae, performance management information, medical records, travel profile, accounting details for various travellers, special needs requirements, security, compensation details, salary details, tax file numbers, financial information, and relationship details (eg. nominees, next of kin etc.).
The information collected may form part of material kept by the Department including records of: use of work expenses claimed by Members of Parliament, payments system for MOP(S) Act employees, material prepared for enquiries in relation to alleged misuse of parliamentarians’ work expenses, and personnel and recruitment records.
How does M&PS collect personal information?
M&PS collects personal information by, through or from:
- recruitment and employment documentation
- security clearance documentation
- claim forms
- certifications and acquittals
- telephone, email and facsimile communications from Senators and Members and employees
- from other organisations (such as service providers and portfolio departments, if applicable).
Storage of personal information
Different categories of personal information are kept on separate files, determined by the purpose for which the personal information has been collected. For example, personnel records, including such personal information as payroll records and contact details, are kept on a different file to security clearance records.
All records are kept in secure storage and access is strictly on a need-to-know basis – that is, the records are only able to be accessed by persons with responsibilities for the functions for which the personal information is collected.
Use and disclosure of personal information
In accordance with the Privacy Act, M&PS only uses and discloses personal information for the purposes for which it was collected. This is based upon the premise that an individual usually gives personal information to an agency for a purpose, and with the expectation that the information will only be used or disclosed for that purpose. Consistent with this, M&PS may disclose personal information in certain circumstances that include:
- where you have consented to the personal information being disclosed
- where you would expect personal information to be disclosed, or we have told you your personal information will be disclosed – for example:
- by disclosing information to external service providers to assist in the provision of services
- by publishing details of expenditure on the Finance website
- by tabling information in the Parliament.
- where the disclosure is required or authorised by law – this may include sending tax file numbers to the Australian Taxation Office, or responding to an access request under the FOI Act (which are governed by the FOI Act, but noting that where the information is personal but not already in the public domain, a decision-maker will generally consult with you first), and to assist with law enforcement.
Access to and alteration of personal information
You are generally entitled to access personal information about yourself. You are not generally entitled to access information about other people. Under limited circumstances, a record-keeper is entitled to refuse access to personal information, for example, where documents contain joint personal information (i.e. where the personal information about you includes personal information about another person).
A record-keeper is obliged to take reasonable steps to ensure that records are accurate, relevant, up-to-date, complete, and not misleading. The FOI Act and the Privacy Act provide for individuals to challenge any record about themselves which they consider does not meet these standards. Such a challenge would usually follow an access request under the FOI Act, but may also be made directly to the record-keeper. Where a record-keeper declines to amend a record, the record-keeper must take reasonable steps, if so requested by an individual, to attach any statement provided by the individual to the record. This is done by an ‘annotation’ rather than a ‘correction’.
If you believe a record about yourself is inaccurate, please contact the M&PS Help Desks.
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This site contains links to other sites. Finance is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.
Australian Privacy Principles (or APPs) - 13 principles established under section 14 of the Privacy Act 1988. Australian Government agencies must comply with the APPs in their handling of personal information in their possession.
Domain name - The code for the country or type of internet connection a user comes from, such as '.com', '.gov' or '.au' '.uk'.
Internet Service Provider - A company or organisation that provides access to the internet for users.
Law enforcement agency - An agency of the Commonwealth or a State or Territory such as the Australian Federal police, which exercises powers such as executing a warrant to seize documentation or goods or to search premises etc.
Notification - Automatic advice of new or updated material available via Finance provided to a user who registers for this service.