Victoria’s major political parties are keeping vast dossiers of personal information on voters.
The Age newspaper said on Tuesday it had gained access to the ALP’s Electrac database, which it said has recorded personal details of tens of thousands of Victorians, including health and financial details.
The information was accessible to campaign workers ahead of the state election on Saturday, the newspaper said.
Labor uses the information to tailor telephone and door-knock campaigning in marginal electorates, the newspaper said.
The coalition has a similar database, known as Feedback, but would not reveal details or comment.
The ALP database, thought to be compiled primarily by staff in MPs’ offices, is based on voters’ communications with MPs, attendance at rallies, letters to newspapers, polling, surveys and membership of groups, The Age said.
Names, addresses and their opinions on certain issues such as gay rights or the environment can be searched on the database.
Voters on the Electrac database contacted by The Age all said they had not permitted details of their political activity, opinions or contact with their MP, to be entered into the system.’
Political parties are exempt from privacy laws that might prevent collection of similar data elsewhere.
Liberty Victoria president Michael Pearce, SC, told The Age: “If a state or federal department or a business with turnover of $3 million or more did that, they would be in breach of either the state or federal privacy acts”.
Labor state secretary Nick Reece defended the database, saying it complied with all privacy laws.
Liberal state director Tony Nutt refused to comment.