Ever heard of Cambridge Analytica? Well that probably changed this week when the shadowy political marketing company which lurks in the murky world of data mining and fake news was exposed for its role in using Facebook data to manipulate the outcome of the US elections.
If the data wasn’t illegally obtained, then its use has been. The discovery is reverberating around the world, wiping a massive $49.4 billion off Facebook’s share value (that’s double the Australian Medicare Budget) and leading to calls by governments and regulators for action. Labor is on to the issue with Ed Husic calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry.
This scandal puts a spotlight on the collection and use of data. For years now, the Government has dealt with it in a disjointed way. Sometimes under the guise of national security – laws have been passed to allow security agencies access to metadata for national security purposes. In commerce, we have legislated to restrict the use of personal information collected for one purpose to be used for another. In the area of healthcare, there have been long running issues about who owns and has access to a person’s health information. There are plenty of good reasons to want to regulate this.
What we haven’t had is a national discussion about how all of this information is collected, stored and used, who has rights to access it and on what conditions. I’ve been advocating for a set of national principles that should be applied to all of this data. It should include the collection and use of data for political purposes. The Federal Government has an important role in regulating it, but so far, we are off the mark.
I’d be happy to hear your views on this.
Turnbull returns with empty pockets
The PM visited my electorate again this week. We are starting to feel popular.
While it is great that he visited twice in two weeks, it’s not so great that he has ignored the problems his government has created here. He drove past our hospitals. The Liberal Government’s $715 million cut to our public hospitals are starting to bite. There’s a $11.5 million cut to Illawarra health service alone. That’s the equivalent of 17,267 emergency department visits, 32 nurses, 1,908 births or 442 knee replacements.
Prime Minister - next time you come to town, don’t just use it as a backdrop for your media conference. Come and talk to the workers on the frontline of our struggling health system.
One National has sided with the Liberal and National parties to support the Government’s billion dollar corporate tax cuts. We think this money would be better spent on schools, hospitals, and better train services.
Well done Geoff
I got to meet Geoff Dean at the launch of Flagstaff Enterprise's Life Choices Hub in Warrawong, today. The Hub is teaching people with disabilities a heap of great skills, so they can be part of our community. Geoff has already got his L Plates and is on target for his Ps by the end of the year.
Electorate Office Relocation
My electorate office has relocated to Stockland Shellharbour. Our new contact details are Shop 244, Stockland Shellharbour via Lamerton Cres. And our new phone number is (02) 4297 2285.
NBN Regional Inquiry
Parliament’s NBN Oversight Committee is holding an inquiry into the rollout of the NBN across rural and regional Australia and is accepting submissions from residents, business and consumer advocacy groups.
And with only a week to go before submissions close, I want to urge Regional Australians to take this opportunity to raise their concerns in a short submission to the Committee.
Submission to the Committee close on 29 March 2018. For more information, visit the Committee’s website here.
Community Heritage Grants
2018 Community Heritage Grants are now open.
Operating since 1994, the Community Heritage Grants offer grants of up to $15,000 to assist in preserving cultural heritage collections of national significance. Not-for-profit organisations, such as historical societies, regional museums, public libraries and Indigenous and migrant community groups throughout Australia, are encouraged to apply.
More information, including guidelines and application forms, can be found on the website here.
Wollongong Seniors Festival
Shout-out for Wollongong Seniors Festival held from 4 to 15 April 2018.
For more information, visit Wollongong City Council website at www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/seniorfestival