Administration of Privacy in Child Support Cases

One Eye Open: The Administration of Privacy in Child Support Cases

The Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 and the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 confer broad powers upon the Child Support Program (CSP), within the Commonwealth Department of Human Services (DHS), to collect and disclose personal information regarding Australian families. Against the background of the historical intentions of Parliament for the protection of privacy in the administration of child support cases, this paper evaluates the privacy practices currently employed by the CSP, the contemporary requirements informing the duty to accord procedural fairness, and demonstrates that current practices relating to the collection and disclosure of personal information in child support matters are not aligned with the intentions of Parliament, are not informed by a full reading of the statutory context, and lead to unwarranted interferences with the privacy of Australian families.