On May 2, 2012, Australia’s Attorney General Nicola Roxon announced that the Australian government will introduce a bill to the Australian Parliament that will enact a number of the recommendations from the 2008 Law Reform Commission Report (ALRC Report 108) and reform privacy law in Australia. Discussion drafts of segments of the bill were considered by a Senate Committee in 2011. On May 4, Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim presented an overview of the draft legislation at an event held during the iappANZ Privacy Awareness Week. Commissioner Pilgrim noted that the legislative package includes:

  • An introduction of new Australian privacy principles to replace the current Information Privacy Principles that apply to federal agencies and the National Privacy Principles that apply to the private sector;
  • More stringent regulation of personal information used for direct marketing;
  • Privacy protections for unsolicited personal information;
  • Easier access for consumers to correct their personal information;
  • Updated credit reporting rules;
  • An accountability-based approach to data transfers; and
  • Greater powers for the Privacy Commissioner.  

Former Australian Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton, Managing Director of Information Integrity Solutions (IIS) and a leading observer of data protection reform, said that the reform package will probably move through the Parliament with minimal changes in light of the reviews that already have been conducted.