Campaign for Fair Privacy Laws 1997-99

Last Updated: April 2000

"The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom."

-  William O. Douglas 1952

Contents

Background

Despite expectations that the Australian Government would deliver on its stated intention of implementing world standard privacy legislation, the Prime Minister announced on 21 March 1997 that the legislation would not proceed, claiming "compliance costs" as the main obstacle.

A coalition of privacy rights, commerce and academic groups mounted a campaign to have this decision reversed. See the October 1997 Invitation to join the Campaign. The campaign went global, to the extent that Privacy International called on European countries to restrict data flows to Australia until privacy legislation was enacted.

On 16th December 1998, the government announced that "light touch" legislation would now be introduced, to support self-regulatory codes. A draft was released in December 1999 and the legislation (Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 (C'th)) was tabled in April 2000, to a chorus of criticism from privacy advocates.

For information about the legislation and developments since April 2000, see separate page.

Privacy Campaign Documents

General Privacy Reference Materials