Wide Bay MP ‘wary’ of PM’s ‘intrusive’ phone tracing plan
WIDE Bay MP Llew O’Brien has quietly censured the Prime Minister’s proposal to use mobile phone tracking to combat the spread of COVID-19, saying the intrusive plan should at the very least be optional, and that he, for one, would be opting out.
Scott Morrison this week warned Australians they may need to endure more invasions of their privacy to beat the coronavirus and allow the country to start slowly lifting social restrictions as of next month.
That invasion of privacy involves a COVID-19 mobile phone tracing app that registers a user’s close physical contact with other users’ mobile phones, thus alerting authorities when someone free of the disease comes into contact with someone who has it.
But Mr O’Brien, a former police officer said he would be opting out of the Trace Together app, just as he had opted out of the myhealth online medical record system.
“I’m about smaller and less intrusive government,” Mr O’Brien said.
“I’m very wary of proposals that bring big brother into people’s lives and such proposals deserve full and proper scrutiny.
“Where government does see a need to intervene in our lives in this way it needs to be optional wherever possible.”
Mr O’Brien said his personal preference was for government to have as little to do with his personal life as possible, “and that is a choice we should all be free to make”.
“Whilst I see the advantages of programs like the myhealth online medical record system, my personal preference was to opt out,” he said.
“Unless convinced otherwise, I see myself opting out of the TraceTogether app.”
The proposal is part of Mr Morrison’s three-step process to possibly relax social restrictions from next month.
Despite him yesterday revealing a national four-week blueprint to ease restrictions, a defiant Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk slapped down Queenslanders hoping to escape the lockdown early.
“We’ll be looking at a number of options but I don’t want to give anyone false hope,” she said.
“What we need to be very careful about here, and I’ve made it very clear, is that we do not want to see those massive spikes that we saw in European countries and the United States.
“I’m saying to Queenslanders that we have your best interests at heart, these are tough times.”
The State Government will begin to formulate a plan for how Queensland’s distancing, isolation and lockdown rules would be lifted but refused to speculate on what would trigger the easing.
“It depends essentially on how Queensland goes over the next month,” she said.
“We’ll go now and work through all of that but of course it’s going to depend on surveilling the new cases and where they’re coming from but also to the rate of community transmission and what areas they may come from.”