Two recent publications by the Australian Attorney-General’s Department mark significant steps forward on the long road to reform of Australian privacy legislation:

  1. An Online Privacy Bill Exposure Draft introducing amendments to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (“Online Privacy Bill”), which will strengthen penalties and enforcement measures and introduce a binding privacy code for online platforms.
  2. A Privacy Act 1988 review discussion paper seeking submissions on 67 proposals for, and further questions in relation to, broader reforms to Australian privacy legislation (“Discussion Paper”).

The publications follow the release of an issue paper in November 2020 outlining and seeking feedback on the Privacy Act, and the Government’s December 2019 announcement that it would conduct a review of the Act as part of its response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry report (ACCC Report).

We published a detailed overview of the ACCC Report’s privacy recommendations and Government response in early 2020, comparing key recommendations to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the 2008 Australian Law Reform Commission report on Australian privacy law (ALRC Report). The complete overview can be accessed here.

We have noted some key issues and themes coming out of the Online Privacy Bill and Discussion Paper and produced two tables summarising the proposals made under both publications, covering the following areas:

  • Increased penalties and enforcement
  • Third party collection
  • Fairness requirements
  • Overseas data flows
  • Individual’s rights
  • Direct marketing
  • Employee records and small business exemptions
  • Controllers and processors of personal information
  • Direct right of action.

Our full analysis of the Online Privacy Bill and Discussion paper’s proposals can be found here.

We will also separately be publishing further commentary on specific topics raised by both the Discussion Paper and the Bill.

Kaman Tsoi
Kaman Tsoi
Special Counsel, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1336
Marine Giral
Marine Giral
Solicitor, Melbourne
+61 3 9288 1496