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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Complaint: Exercise of Benefits Powers against Employee" [1994] PrivLawPRpr 39; (1994) 1(3) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 54


Australian Privacy Commissioner (Annual Report 1992-93)

Personnel records - benefit records - IPP 3 (collection) - IPP 9 (use) - IPP11 (disclosure) - Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), s14

''The complainant was both a client and an employee of an agency, which placed on the complainant's personnel file documents relating to one of its program payments. It then also disclosed this information to another agency. The respondent agency also collected information from the complainant's part-time employer using its collection powers under the program legislation' (Fifth Annual Report on the Operation of the Privacy Act, p 91). The agency apologised, withdrew the data from the other agency, and acknowledged that it should not use benefit program powers for employment purposes.


The complaint as reported appears to illustrate the dangers to agencies in using powers granted for one purpose for other purposes. The limited details available make it difficult to draw any conclusions concerning the Commissioner's interpretations of the IPPs involved.

Graham Greenleaf

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