News State Victoria News Financial and medical records inadvertently released in political data dump

Financial and medical records inadvertently released in political data dump

daniel andrews matthew guy ventnor
The Labor government botched its attack of Opposition Leader Matthew Guy this week. Photo: AAP
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The Daniel Andrews government could face legal action after the financial and medical records of innocent bystanders were revealed as part of an attack on the opposition leader.

The Victorian government ordered the release of 80,000 documents in a hit on Liberal leader Matthew Guy over his botched rezoning of Ventnor at Phillip Island, when he was planning minister in 2011.

But among the documents were the personal details of private citizens.

Former privacy commissioner David Watts warned the government could now be open to a class action.

“It seems a number of people have been, or could have been affected,” he told radio station 3AW on Thursday.

“They would be well advised to seek some legal advice about how best to prosecute this through the courts.”

Among those embroiled in the debacle is Leonie Hemsworth, mother of Hollywood actors Chris and Liam Hemsworth, according to The Herald Sun.

It’s understood Mrs Hemsworth was a Phillip Island local who opposed the Ventnor decision.

“Take responsibility for this gross abuse of power done in your name for the sake of political vengeance,” Mr Guy said during question time on Thursday.

Premier Andrews insisted his government was just complying with a March motion passed by the parliament – which he controls – to release the documents.

The Speaker of the lower house now has the power to remove private details, on an ad hoc basis as complaints arise.

In 2011, Mr Guy approved the rezoning of farmland for housing at Ventnor on Phillip Island, sparking widespread backlash.

He quickly reversed his decision but that prompted a legal battle with the would-be developer, who also had connections to the Liberal Party.

In 2013 that case settled for a then-private sum.

But the documents tabled by Labor revealed taxpayers were slugged $3.5 million dollars to settle and Mr Guy worried for his political career if it went to court.

On Thursday afternoon the lower house passed a censure motion against Mr Guy which demanded he resign and pay back the money.

Both parties are now heading to the November state election covered in mud.

Labor is under police investigation over its misuse of parliamentary allowances during 2014 to partially pay for election staff.

It was also reported on Thursday that Mr Andrews had been at events and shopped at the fruit and vegetable store of alleged mafia leader Tony Madafferi – the same man Mr Guy was revealed to have shared a lobster dinner with last year.