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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Privacy cause of action attracts 70 submissions, and notable absentees

Brendan O'Connor Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information opened the Australia and New Zealand International Association of Privacy Professionals annual conference in Melbourne today-read the Media Release and the speech (when someone fixes the link). Apart from telling us there were more than 70 submissions in response to the Issues Paper on a proposed statutory cause of action for serious invasion of privacy, that submitters have various views, and the importance and complications in getting the balance right (all from the media release) there isn't much in this.

By my count of the more than 70 submissions received only 43 have been published-most twice, some more than that. Presumably not for publication are some submissions by individuals that detail what are alleged to be serious invasions of privacy. That's fair enough.

But how to explain no published submission to date-the extended cut off was last Friday- from the media coalition Australia's Right to Know, or members News Ltd or Fairfax Media?
(See the update below before making anything of this.)

Chris Merritt wrote last Friday in The Australian (behind this paywall) about a News submission that argued there is no need for a new way to sue for privacy, predicted unintended consequences if a statute emerges, and claimed two key supporters, the Australian Law Reform Commission and the Victorian Law Reform Commission, misinterpreted a leading case on privacy law to support the case for action. But no link there to the submission and nothing on the submissions page either. Surely an explanation ( late? a stuff up?) other than that they (and other media organisations missing from the list so far) lodged a confidential submission?

Update:a raft of new submissions have been posted since Wednesday- now up to 59 including a submission from News Limited, a separate joint News/SBS submission, and a submission by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance 

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