Having worked in both the government and financial industry I understand the need for privacy when dealing with personal information. However we may have taken things too far:
PRIVACY laws and interstate bickering over funding sabotaged plans to introduce a nationwide fire-alert system in time for this year's killer bushfire season.
The federal Government is now fast-tracking plans to let state and territory emergency services access the national database of phone numbers, in order to bombard residents in areas of danger with automated phone calls and text messages.
Victorian Premier John Brumby is understood to have written to Kevin Rudd as recently as two months ago complaining about hold-ups to the potentially life-saving alert system.
The federal Government signed off on crucial legislation just three days before Australia's deadliest natural disaster.