What a beefy response by the Secretary SPCA! It's so different to his many other responses and comes across as having a defensive (in its robustness) feel to it. I wonder why?
Perhaps I should have used the word "accounts" instead of "records", though the comments from BB do clarify that. My apology for any confusion.
Secretary SPCA said
CSA Bluff Tricks: Seeking Medical Records from Practitioners & Financial Information from Partners
The CSA is known to try on (bluff) official looking, but not legislated, requests for information and action.
This bluff is called the "I'm from the Government, you can trust me, so just give me what I want" Trick (shortened to "I'm from the Government").
The CSA often gets away with the bluff because people know the CSA is part of the Federal Government and assume it must know the law and is to be trusted. Wrong! They don't realise that the CSA typically uses various 'tricks' to elicit information they have no legislated right to demand.
Are you speaking from personal experience, with some factual example, or is this just a view you hold with some qualification? Or is this something from the "Chaos Theory"? You also mention that CSA are seeking "medical records from Practitioners." Which Practitioners, who and when? Why do CSA need "Medical records? and How do they get medical records? CSA practitioners do not hold medical records, Dr's hold medical records and my Dr certainly wouldn't be releasing medical records.
Wow … a barrage of assumptions and questions, with a twist of aggro.
What is this "Chaos Theory" are so fond of and introduce and speak of? I've never heard of it and wonder why you bring it up here. Crazy stuff man!
Who are "CSA practitioners"? I've never heard of them.
And why the aggro?: "or is this just a view you hold with some qualification?" Stop and consider your blood pressure bro!
I have an a friend who is a medico and he receives demands from the CSA for details of patients accounts from time-to-time. In my first email I did mention accounts and a clearer reading on your part would have seen that. But you approached it with pro-CSA blinkers.
Nevertheless, because I'm a top bloke, I have added a clarification to my original post. We could argue the toss on whether account documents held by medios are "medical records" but at the end of the day the fact is the CSA is demanding personal information about medicos' patients, such documents are likely to include details (listings) of procedures and treatments.
Secretary SPCA said
…It is important to check the legislative and regulatory basis for all requests. The CSA should be able to provide relevant sections of Acts and Regulations. If they cannot (or will not - a possible ground for an SSAT appeal) then you know that they don't have the right. Maybe check with lawyer re legislation.
Firstly in relation to the last part. Most lawyers in general practice are completely ignorant of the detailed CSA legislation. I spoke to one of the senior Federal Magistrates during the week who in fact made that comment. You are probably better off posting a question on the Portal here to get an authoritative answer and check that against the CSA officers. Or make a submission via the "Have your say" icon on the home page which will be sent on to FaCSIA or other department for response.
In respect to CSA providing sections of the relevant Act's that is definitely something they should be able to do.
Lawyers work with the law. There are qualified lawyers out there. One just has to find them. The CSA and Federal Magistrates may be just a tad biased, don't you think, to get advice from, particularly if that Federal Magistrate was Grant Reithmuller, a one time lawyer contracted by the CSA to introduce Change of Assessment nasties against fathers.
I don't think it's wise to trust those extorting money from you. Or to endorse them.
It's great that this Portal is trying to help but it needs to be careful to be 1) Independent, and 2) Not just a funded branch of Federal Government eg. FaCSIA and the CSA.
I'm glad you can agree that it's a good idea that the CSA back up its demands with the relevant legislation.
In the absence of CSA provision, people might otherwise look at www.austlii.edu.au
for the two Child Support Acts and related regulations.
Secretary SPCA said
NB. The CSA "The Guide" doesn't count because it's their own CSA internal document and is not, and does not, have the authority of an Act or Regulation. (They try another bluff on their 'clients' by referring them to this "The Guide" as being authoritative.
"The Guide" is the authoritative document used both by internal CSA officers and available to external Payers and Payee's. There is no secret document here. It is the authoritative interpretation of the ACT for purposes of implementation of the legislation and a guide. There is a new Guide coming in April to reflect the new legislation.
Steady on there… "Secret document"? What "secret document"? I didn't say anything about a "secret document". You introduced that one out of left field - as our American cousins would say.
You need to learn the difference between exegesis (reading out of a text) and eisegesis
(reading into a text what you want to see and say).
"The Guide" has no legislative standing. It is merely a CSA internal agency document. At least that is my understanding to date. I stand to be corrected if you can show me the Act or Regulation that directs the CSA to produce a Guide and gives it some legislative grunt. Can you say that it does have legislative standing and power, and provide the references? Please.
Otherwise my observation and comment are correct and the promotion of "The Guide" by the CSA (and yourself?) is little more than bluff designed to tip the scales in favour of the CSA - given that the CSA have convinced you to take their interpretations as authoritative … when they are not the law (legislation). Blokes might falsely get the impression that "The Guide" was the law and not just an internal CSA document for their procedural use.
The CSA itself, on it's "The Guide
" website, admits that "The Guide" is essentially an internal document and not authoritative:
The CSA "The Guide" said
Note: External users should not use The guide in place of independent legal advice. The Commonwealth accepts no liability for any loss suffered as a result of reliance on any material in The guide.
I'm not saying it is, but to me your response sounds like a spirited defence of "The Guide" and the CSA. Which puzzles me given that I understood this site was designed to help victims of CSA abuses, excesses and injustices.
Secretary SPCA said
Elsewhere LL said
It is not hard to imagine the CSA/FCA/FMC axis of evil having, or presuming they have, the same right to access Medicare records
, as they do Motor Registrations, Land Titles, ATO, TAB, employer's records…
To which BB said
Several times I have had CSA request records. eg Who paid this child's account and how much?
I photocopy and send to the father, and write to CSA: "Good try!"
You really got me here. Who is is LL? and What posts are you referring to? I did a site search for LL and BB and there are no users with those site names. The only LL I know of is a very highly respected poster in one of the Yahoo Groups and who's details I will not disclose here. If these posts are not posted here where are they posted?
You're pulling my leg, right?! I did use a convention to indicate this quoted material was from another source: "ELSEWHERE LL said" (emphasis added). I find it difficult to believe you spent time searching for them here on this site.
LL and BB are not on this forum, hence "elsewhere". I am not prepared to breach their privacy and name names or the exact branch of 'medicine' BB practices. I do not want to provide the CSA with any identifiable details from which they can hassle anyone.
The point is the principle of CSA trickery, not the personal details of persons quoted. I am not going to divulge their details here to you and to the CSA. That would be breach of confidentiality and is not required by your or anyone else regarding the principle expounded.
If you want to make it that then I look forward to seeing you applying the same diligence to many other posts on this site whose details and story are not known and verified.
The feeling I get is that the level of diligence of enquiry is related to my criticism of the CSA. And that may be related to me pointing out tactics of CSA malfeasance.
Secretary SPCA said
Another use of the "I'm from the Government" Trick is to request partner financial details. If given they will be used against you. What the CSA will do is not take any money from your partner - it cannot do that - but it will twist matters to say that because she has assets and income, she can provide you with some support, so therefore you have money freed up that the CSA can take! Logical, isn't it? NOT! It's called the "Subsidy" Trick…
Are you sure you are in Australia? Are you sure you are not smoking anything illegal while dreaming about the Child Support Agency? Have you read the new Act? I pay child support, I have a great partner and she has never heard from the Child Support Agency in all the time I have been paying.
What an odd question: "Are you sure you are in Australia?" Similarly your insinuation on me being under the influence of drugs.
Yes, I'm in Australia. I have over 12 years exposure to family law and child support, though I do not claim to be an expert in either. What I discussed is sufficient for an intelligent person to realise that I am Australian and discussing the Australian CSA.
Good for you and your partner. You're fortunate, if not blind to the realities. I have heard numerous complaints over the years from people where the CSA has verbally (never in writing, that's part of the trickery, so they won't get caught) demanded details of partners' incomes and finances. They do do this (during Change of Assessments) and they do it to offset additional gouging from the father with his partner's income. So they are not touching her income directly, but they impact it by taking more from him than they would have if she were not there and not provided any details. Of course they do not ask for nor take into account a payee's partner's income!
Secretary SPCA said
1) Ask for the legislation (sections of Acts and Regulations) that authorise the CSA to request this information; and
2) Consider Privacy Act considerations. Does the CSA have the right to request information from non-clients? No.
(NB. The CSA DOES have the legislated ability to suck money from your bank accounts and to threaten the bank not to tell you until after it has been done. Lesson: If you're vulnerable (money in the bank), remove your money and keep it in a safe place. Consider other financial options. I've heard of home refrigerators and work filing cabinets being used to safekeep thousands of dollars. Subsequently used for the children's benefit!)
Why would CSA being requesting anything from Non-Clients. I have never heard of that. You got me there as well. There are three categories of payers.
CSA collect (47.4%)
Private Collect (52.6%)
Self Administered (around 10%) are included in the Private Collect group.
I am not really sure what you are getting at in this post. I absolutely agree that you should not blindly go along like a lemming reaching the cliff and you should have an understanding of the sections relating to the payments you are making and how the formula works. That is why the guys here, with the help of MikeT have designed and built a pretty impressive calculator which you have probably already used to check off against the CSA estimator.
All I can say is that you've lead a sheltered life. I've explained the reason why the CSA does request information from non-clients above.
It is abundantly apparent you don't know what I am talking about. You showed that by your response. That doesn't mean others don't know what I'm saying. What I do suggest is that you learn to ask nicely initially, rather than launching into such a controlled aggressive 'response' first up.