I was very upset to read an article in the morning newspaper that had quotes from staff members of the AIDS Council of South Australia (ACSA) about me in the context of a discrimination case I had against the Education Department of South Australia.
As an individual accessing the services provided by the AIDS Council I felt it was outstandingly inappropriate for them to take it upon themselves to discuss my case with the media without my knowledge or consent.
I had been looking to ACSA for some moral support up until this incident.
Ultimately I was satisfied with the outcome but the process of having to defend oneself against a health services supposedly set up to be supportive was diabolical.
20th July 1992
from the General Manager of the AIDS Council of South Australia in response to a letter I wrote to them about members of their staff speaking about me to the press.
Dear David Paul,
Members of the Executive Committee have asked me to reply to your letter on their behalf.
In regard to your main issue, Executive members understood very clearly that your complaint was about a breach of your confidentiality. We do not wish to minimise that issue in any way. In the previous letter to you, 27th May, it was described as “Two ACSA staff discussing your case in the media without your permission.” The reason it was described that way is that while you have accused those staff members of a breach of confidentiality, the current agreement signed by staff and volunteers of ACSA binds them only to information discovered in the course of their work.
Of the two staff members only one discussed confidential information and that was not learned at ACSA or in the course of his employment here.
The Executive agrees that your confidentiality has not been respected by staff concerned but the Executive has to take responsibility for that because there is no confidentiality policy at the council which is binding on staff beyond the agreement mentioned earlier.
It is because of this obviously insufficient agreement that the Executive has undertaken to develop a strong confidentiality policy and to base staff and volunteer agreements on that new policy.
The Committee working on the development of a confidentiality policy is Jack O’Connor (Secretary), Eugen Opprecht, Ralph Brew and Robert Smith. Members of this committee wish to invite you to participate in the development of such a policy and wish me to inform you that meetings you attend will be held outside the AIDS Council if you prefer. Jack O’Connor will ring you to inform you of the meeting time.
Kenton Penley is not the media spokesperson for the AIDS Council. He is one of the media spokespeople for the Lesbian and Gay Community Action. The media speakers for ACSA are the President and General Manager.
If you wish to discuss the issues in this letter I would be happy to meet with you with a member of the Executive.