The Queensland registry is lobbying the Queensland Government to access to the Commonwealth’s MyHealth Records system to use the information it holds against shooters.

Meanwhile, the New South Wales registry is duping our veterens into providing medical information in exchange for free firearm licences.

Our advice is that:

  • If you live in NSW and are a veteran, think twice before going for a free licence – because the information on your DVA record will be used against you.

Access to Commonwealth records

In March last year the NSC revealed legal limitations to which confidential medical information held by the Commonwealth Government can be used. 

The advice we received from the Australian Digital Health Agency, which manages the Commonwealth’s MyHealth Record database advised:

Any third party, such as a firearm registration body, seeking access to information in a My Health Record would require the consent of the individual or an order from a court, tribunal or coroner that has been issued under the framework set out in the MHR Act.

Firearm registration bodies are not participants in the My Health Record system engaged in providing healthcare to individuals. As noted above, if they wished to access My Health Record information for an individual, they would need to obtain consent or go through the formal process in the MHR Act. We are not aware of any requests to date from firearm registration bodies for access to My Health Record information.

Its clear with that information that our registries cannot gain access to MyHealth Records.  Yet that’s exactly what they want.

Queensland

A few days ago, the NSC received a tip that “the QPS have been given permission by the Qld health minister to access the “confidential” Commonwealth online health records, and based on this they are arriving on the doorstep of shooters with the documents to cancel licences and seize private property”

The fact this has been said does not mean the story is true. However, if it was true, it would raise serious legal questions which is why we could not let it go.

So we wrote to the Queensland health minister asking him for his advice on the matter by 31 March. No response was received.

New South Wales

Around the same time, we became aware that veterans holding a Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) card are being duped into exposing their medical information to the registry. 

Card holders are entitled to fee exemptions for licences and permits to acquire if they provide a copy of their card. 

The problem is, once our vets get this exemption, they can expect a call from the registry asking about what medical conditions are attached to their cards.

Or they might get an email, such as this one, which requires vets to get medical proof they are fit to posses and use firearms. This is despite the fact there was no evidence that the vet was not fit and proper in the first place.

While perhaps not perfect, the DVA provides considerable post-service support. 

This means those who may be discharged for a medical condition – including psychiatric, are well looked after.  It means the odds of anyone ‘slipping through the cracks’ are low, probably lower than in the broader population.

One vet we spoke with held licences in other states before moving to NSW where this became an issue. The vet served 10 years, of which 8 was spent on deployment in Afghanistan where he trained other soldiers and was involved in several incidents.  He received treatment for this and is now enjoying a normal civilian life.

The vet took advantage of the free licence concession, which led to a call from registry that required him to reveal his medical history.  He must now provide psychiatric reports every time he wants to renew his licence.

While he can get the reports at no cost through the DVA scheme, the fact is, it is outrageous and deceptive for NSW Police to be treating him this way because he is a vet.

This affects every vet in NSW who shoots – whether they served in Somalia, Timor, Iraq, Solomons, peacekeeping, Korea, or Vietnam. Simply put, it’s a disgrace that the NSW registry should dupe our vets in this way.

The conduct of NSWPol creates a real disincentive for vets who may need help, from getting that help because it may be used against them.

We put this allegation to the NSW health minister also for a response by 31 March.
Again, no response was received.

If you are a vet in NSW, we’d like to get your email address to coordinate an approach to the NSW Police Minister to put an end to this practice. To sign up to that, please click here (for DVA vets only).

Enter the Commonwealth Government

The fact we have these problems in two states prompted us to not only write to the Qld and NSW health and police ministers, but the Federal Minister for Health and the Australian Digital Health Agency. This will make them aware of the allegations and have any robust conversations that they may think appropriate behind closed doors, if they wish to do so. 

Given the sensitivities that exist around the confidentiality of medical records – including the clearly strident protection of our data by the ADHA – we’re confident that any legal or ethical concerns will be dealt with, one way or the other.

At a minimum, we would be happy to see our registries issue guidelines which make it clear what information they will and will not use, and for what purpose – which most government privacy organisations require anyway.

In the meantime, we hope those agencies will eventually get back to us. We’ll let you know what they say when we hear from them.

6 thoughts on “REGISTRY SPIES: Qld snoops while NSW dupes

  1. hellbent says:

    With all the Big Brother, COVID-1984, RNA vaccine, bulk testing swabs and general fear generating shtick going down at the moment .. You might have thought that the Qld Premier, or even the media; might have mentioned the fact that Annastacia Palaszczuks’ father Henry, is the Chairman of GTA.
    GTA is a genetic data storage and gene technology Foundation with implications and applications right across the A.I. pharmaceuticals and gene manipulation spectrums. Which had its fabulous international prospectus launch in Chaohu City, Anhui, Province China.. on September 22, 2019.
    Interesting position when you consider Henrys previous utterings as something of a tangent Polish victim, of reportedly infamous genetic regimes of the 1930s-40s.
    Nothing for the legacy media to see there I guess?

  2. Gene says:

    I served in the Australian Army for 19 years.
    12 Years of Infantry, 7 years Medicine, 3 years of which an Australian Special Forces Medic with a total of 6 Deployments.

    During that service I had unfortunately sustained and accrued a fair amount of damage to my person both physically and mentally and was Diagnosed with PTSD which effectively ended my service with Army.

    My personal experience of dealing with firearm registries from each state has certainly been varied to say the least.

    After my separation from the military
    I found the Northern Territory Firearms branch extremely helpful and understanding to my situation at the time.
    With one Gentleman stating, How many Police Officers do you think we have in the Territory diagnosed with PTSD that are carrying a service weapon as we speak.
    I was somewhat relieved at the voice of reason from an honest officer without censor.

    I then went on to use Competitive Shooting as a vector in part for my own psychological treatment and wellbeing in a sport I loved.
    It gave me an avenue to be able to reconnect with normal society again and to have a purpose with its own inherent version of discipline, safety, structure and mutual respect.
    Over time the desensitisation to loud explosive sounds with what you could call a type of exposure therapy I found was extremely beneficial to me.

    I ended up having the honour and privilege of getting selected for the Northern Territory Shooting Team to compete at the World Long Range Championships 2011 In Brisbane.
    Alas to no avail I came in third last in my division, but to be honest I was completely chuffed just to have the opportunity to be there for the experience with some of the Worlds top shooters.

    It was then because of an unfortunate circumstance that I made the move down to my home State of Tasmania returning back to my family farm.

    I thought it would just be the simple case of transferring my Territory license over to Tasmania……….however,
    They wanted my medical and psychological information as to determine my suitability to hold a Tasmanian firearms licence.
    I gave them cover letters of recommendation by my treating GP.
    Reports from my team of psychiatrists and psychologists over the years of treatment stating that I was safe and trustworthy and had extensive safe firearm use from my early childhood and 19 years of an armed profession serving my Country.
    I handed in a Manila folder full of weapon qualifications as well as my qualifications as safety supervisor and instructor on A Class ranges both here and overseas.
    All this amounted to nothing as Tasmania Police stated that I would need to now need to find a new Psychologist here in Tasmania to make a report stating that I was of no risk to myself or the public.

    I searched for weeks to find a psych that would be available though my new GP and then through DVA with no luck as the earliest I could book one was a waiting list of six months.
    I went back to TasPol an explained my situation to them.
    It was then they suggested that I have an interview with the Police Psychologist I think it was a few months before that interview took place. He wanted me to have a second interview with him I’m guessing for due diligence.
    It was then that he said he would summit his report to the Firearms Registry for approval.
    After that psychological extrajudicial hurdle was overcome I was the told that would have to complete a firearms safety course run by Tas TAFE and would have to hand in my guns to a gun dealer until I had completed my safety course which at that time to my recollection was only 3 courses being run that year with somewhere around $200 odd dollars at personal expense.

    I was starting to consider there was an agenda at play with the application of law, however I eventually consoled myself that it had to be the PTSD talking and certainly not the Government policy in the application of law. Needless to say I received my Licence.
    The last firearms licence renewal 2 years ago, apparently the policy had changed somewhat from my last encounter.
    As now I only needed a Recommendation from my GP each new renewal which was some very welcomed news.
    My question to all of this is does medical in confidence exist for a Police Psychologist interview or has my personal medical information been disseminated in some extrajudicial conflict of interest
    Ehh??? I really don’t know, I suppose only time will tell.

  3. Philip walter says:

    What the various state governments are doing is illegal to use in most civilian arenas the Victoria LSD have their own set of rules .
    After being robbed at gun point assulted with sawn off shotgun and the culprits eventually caught my firearms WERE all seized all ammunition etc
    They eventually returned most of them one third to be exact anf mort of the collection of ammo disappeared
    6 years on im still trying to get my dealers lic back
    But after serving for 4 years in the armoury with the artillary my ptsd is the hold up or so i think 6 applications to get the forms for application have been ignored
    I urge all vets to be carefull who you tell about your service

    • Ken R says:

      No one need to know about any veterans service. Not related. Keep it to your self, you know what you did for Australia.

  4. Jaye says:

    There are so many questions and inconsistencies that will only hurt veterans in the future. Why are former police and other emergency services not subjected to the same rules? Arguably they see more trauma then most. If I am seeking a psychologists help with a personal issue like erectile dysfunction, shy should I have to disclose this information? Who am I disclosing it too? I don’t think it is another medical professional at the other end in the firearms registry with the qualifications to determine how my medical history effects me. How are they tracking individuals that were not allowed into the ADF because of psychological issues? I know many former soldiers that are now law enforcement with PTSD claims, what will happen to them? PTSD comes in so many forms and does not make you a homicidal or suicidal maniac, in fact it can be the exact opposite. If most veterans are committing suicide by hanging and prescription medicines will I need a letter from my psych to buy rope from Bunnings? I guess veterans will need to choose between being looked after for injuries acquired in service or risk their firearms license determined by a non qualified medical practitioner.

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