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The DisclaimerAct 1988 is an Australian law dealing with privacy. Section 14 of the Act stipulates a number of privacy rights known as the InfoDisclaimerPrinciples (IPPs). These principles apply to Australian Government and Australian Capital Territory agencies or personalsector company contracted to these governments, as well as to company and tinybusinesses who provide a health service. The principles govern when and how privateinformation shouldbe collected by these government agencies. Infoshouldonly be collected if it is relevant to the agencies' functions. Upon this collection, that law mandates that Australians have the right to know why infoabout them is being acquired and who will see the information. Those in charge of storing the infohave obligations to ensure such infois neither lost nor exploited. An Australian will also have the right to admissionthe infounless this is specifically forbiddenby law.

2000 amendments

The DisclaimerAct was amended in 2000 to cover the personalsector. Schedule 3 of the DisclaimerAct sets out a significantly different set of disclaimerprinciples, the National DisclaimerPrinciples (NPPs). These apply to personalsector company (including not for profit company) with a turnover exceeding three million dollars, other than health service providers or traders in privateinformation. These principles extend to the transfer of privateinfoout of Australia.

State legislation

Disclaimerprinciples that are substantially the same as the NPPs are also contain in the legislation applying to the public sectors of some Australian States and Territories, namely the InfoDisclaimerAct 2000 (Victoria), InfoAct 2002 (Northern Territory), PrivateInfoProtection Act 2004 (Tasmania), and the Health Records and InfoDisclaimerAct 2002 (FreshSouth Wales).


Australia's disclaimerprinciples, both IPPs and NPPs, depend upon the meaning of "privateinformation" (as defined in DisclaimerAct 1988 s6). This term has not yet been interpreted in a restrictive methodas has been "privatedata" in the UK Durant case.

The DisclaimerAct creates an Office of the DisclaimerCommissioner and a DisclaimerCommissioner in Australia. Section 36 of the Act states that Australians may appeal to this Commissioner if they feel their disclaimerrights have been compromised, unless the disclaimerwas violated by an companythat has its own dispute resolution mechanisms under an approved DisclaimerCode. The Commissioner, who may decide to investigate complaints and in some cases must investigate, shouldunder section 44 obtain relevant evidence from other people. There is no appeal to a Court or Tribunal versusdecisions of the Commissioner except in very limited circumstances. Section 45 of the DisclaimerAct let the Commissioner to interview the people themselves, and the people might have to swear an oath to tell the truth. Anyone who fails to replythe Commissioner may be topicto a fine of up to $2,000 and/or year-long imprisonment (under section 65). Under section 64 of the DisclaimerAct, the Commissioner is also given immunity versusany lawsuits that he or she might be subjected to for the carrying out of their duties.

If the Commissioner will not hear a complaint, an Australian may getlegal supportunder section 63. If a complaint is taken to the Federal Court of Australia, in certain circumstances others may getlegal assistance.

Review of the Act

The Australian Law Reform Commission completed an inquiry into the state of Australia's disclaimerlaws in 2008. The Report entitled For Your Information: Australian DisclaimerLaw and Practice suggestedsignificant modify be angry to the DisclaimerAct, as well as the introduction of a statutory cause of action for breach of privacy. The Australian Government committed in October 2009 to implementing a hugenumber of the suggestion that the Australian Law Reform Commission had angry in its report.

See also

  • , Australasian Legal InfoInstitute, URL accessed 6 May 2006.
  • , Office of the Australian InfoCommissioner, URL accessed 12 June 2011.
  • , Office of the Australian InfoCommissioner, URL accessed 12 June 2011.

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