North Coast Voices readers may have noticed mainstream and social media debating the ethics of Turnbull Government Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, and a department in his portfolio releasing personal and perhaps sensitive protected information about a Centrelink client to journalists.
Readers may also have noticed that in Senate estimates last week Secretary of the Department of Human Services, Kathryn Campbell, told the Community Affairs Reference Committee that Centrelink undertook surveillance of social media to identify clients critical of its policies, procedures or specific actions and reported them to the minister.
One doesn't have to look hard for a likely reason why this was such an easy admission to make at a Senate hearing being covered by the media.
It could only have a chilling effect on sometimes already stressed individuals who have been victims of the flawed Centrelink automated debt recovery system, so that they would think twice about coming forward as witnesses during the current Senate inquiry into this same system.
Snapshots from the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee media release: