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Australia Privacy Law

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Australian privacy law is concerned with the protection and preservation of the privacy rights of its citizens.

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Australian privacy laws follow a co-regulatory approach whereby industry develops privacy and data protection standards which are enforced by both the industry and a privacy agency.

National Privacy Principles

The National Privacy Principles (NPPs)[1] are standards related to personal information held by certain private sector organizations. These organizations must comply with these principles, especially all health service providers in the private sector.

The National Privacy Principles were taken from the Privacy Act of 1988. These principles include:

  • Principle 1: Collection
  • Principle 2: Use and disclosure
  • Principle 3: Data quality
  • Principle 4: Data security
  • Principle 5: Openness
  • Principle 6: Access and correction
  • Principle 7: Identifiers
  • Principle 8: Anonymity
  • Principle 9: Transborder data flows
  • Principle 10: Sensitive information

Information Privacy Principles

The Information Privacy Principles (IPPs)[2] regulate how Australian and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) (a self-governing territory) government agencies manage personal information.  Specifically, how and when personal information can be collected, used, disclosed, stored and secured.

The Information Privacy Principles were taken from Section 14 of the Privacy Act of 1988. These principles include:

  • Principle 1: Manner and purpose of collection of personal information
  • Principle 2: Solicitation of personal information from individual concerned
  • Principle 3: Solicitation of personal information generally
  • Principle 4: Storage and security of personal information
  • Principle 5: Information relating to records kept by record-keeper
  • Principle 6: Access to records containing personal information
  • Principle 7: Alteration of records containing personal information
  • Principle 8: Record-keeper to check accuracy etc of personal information before use
  • Principle 9: Personal information to be used only for relevant purposes
  • Principle 10: Limits on use of personal information
  • Principle 11: Limits on disclosure of personal information


  • Privacy Act (1988)[4]

The Privacy Act covers the handling of personal information by both private sector and government entities.  It limits how personal information is collected, used, disclosed to third-parties and secured.  Additionally, the information must be accuarate and access must be given to individuals so that they can make changes to any errors.  This act follows basic fair information practices.

The Privacy Act does not regulate state or territory agencies, except for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Oversight: Australian Government Office of the Privacy Commissioner[5]

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

  • Human Rights Act (2004), Section 12[6]
  • The Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act (Health Records Act)(1997)[7]
  • Freedom of Information Act (1989)[8]

New South Wales

  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (PPIP Act)(1998)[9]
  • NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act (2002)[10]
  • Freedom of Information Act (1989)[11]

Oversight: Office of the New South Wales Privacy Commissioner

The Northern Territory

  • Information Act (2002)[12]

Oversight: Office of the Information Commissioner for the Northern Territory[13]


  • Information Privacy Act (2009)[14]
  • Right to Information Act (2009)[15]
  • Public Records Act (2002)[16]
  • Invasion of Privacy Act (1971)[17]

Oversight: Queensland Office of the Information Commissioner[18]

South Australia

  • Freedom of Information Act (1991)[19]
  • State Records Act (1997)[20]


  • Personal Information Protection Act (2004)[21]
  • Freedom of Information Act (1991)[22]

Oversight: Ombudsman of Tasmania[23]


  • Charter of Human Rights & Responsibilities Act (2006), Section 13[24]
  • Information Privacy Act (VIP Act)(2000)[25]
  • Health Records Act (2001)[26]
  • Freedom of Information Act (1982)[27]
  • Public Records Act (1973)[28]

Oversight: Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner[29]

Western Australia

  • Freedom of Information Act (1992)[30]


  1. http://www.privacy.gov.au/materials/types/infosheets/view/6583
  2. http://www.privacy.gov.au/materials/types/infosheets/view/6541
  3. http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd[347]=x-347-559550
  4. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/pa1988108/
  5. http://www.privacy.gov.au/index.php
  6. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/hra2004148/s12.html
  7. http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1997-125/default.asp
  8. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/act/consol_act/foia1989222/
  9. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/papipa1998464/
  10. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/hraipa2002370/
  11. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/foia1989222/index.html
  12. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/ia144/
  13. http://www.privacy.nt.gov.au/
  14. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/ipa2009231/
  15. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/rtia2009234/
  16. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/pra2002153/
  17. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/iopa1971222/
  18. http://www.oic.qld.gov.au/
  19. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/qld/consol_act/iopa1971222/
  20. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_act/sra1997156/
  21. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/consol_act/pipa2004361/
  22. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/tas/consol_act/foia1991222/
  23. http://www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au/
  24. http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/Domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/PubLawToday.nsf/a12f6f60fbd56800ca256de500201e54/6A434CAD017AC08ACA2573B700227912/$FILE/06-43a003.pdf
  25. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ipa2000231/index.html
  26. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/hra2001144/index.html
  27. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/foia1982222/index.html
  28. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/pra1973153/index.html
  29. http://www.privacy.vic.gov.au/dir100/priweb.nsf
  30. http://www.slp.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_353_homepage.html

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