[LINK] Sue regarding privacy

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Sep 29 23:57:54 AEST 2011


Issues Paper — A Commonwealth Statutory Cause of Action for Serious 
Invasion of Privacy

In May 2008, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ARLC) concluded a 28-
month inquiry into the effectiveness of the Privacy Act 1988 and related 
laws as a framework for the protection of privacy in Australia. 

In its report, the ALRC made 295 recommendations for reform in a range of 
areas, including telecommunications, credit reporting information, health 
records, and privacy protection generally. The Government has responded 
to 197 of these recommendations.

One of the ALRC’s recommendations was that the most serious invasions of 
privacy could best be addressed through the introduction of a statutory 
cause of action for privacy. 

The Victorian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions have also 
recommended a statutory cause of action for privacy.

In responding to the ALRC recommendation, the threshold question that 
must be asked is whether the introduction of a statutory cause of action 
for privacy is warranted. 

This is a particularly important question in light of a cause of action 
for privacy developing case-by-case in the Australian courts. 

If there is to be a statutory cause of action, how do we make sure it 
gets the balance right between the public interest in the right to 
privacy and other important public interests including freedom of 

We cannot simply consider whether action is desirable without also 
considering how best to do it.

The Australian Government has prepared this Issues Paper for public 
consideration of these important questions. I encourage everyone with an 
interest to visit www.dpmc.gov.au/privacy/causeofaction/ to submit his or 
her views on this important debate.

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