On 19 October 2011, the Governor-General approved an amendment to the Administrative Arrangements Order transferring responsibilities for privacy and freedom of information policy from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Attorney-General’s Department.  The Privacy and Freedom of Information Policy Branch within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department as the Information Law and Policy Branch.  Relevant parts of this webpage and its contents will shortly be updated and relocated to the website of the Attorney-General’s Department (www.ag.gov.au). 

A Commonwealth Statutory Cause of Action for Serious Invasion of Privacy

The Commonwealth Government has developed this issues paper, A Commonwealth Statutory Cause of Action for Serious Invasion of Privacy, to inform its response to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendations to introduce a statutory cause of action for serious invasions of privacy.

This paper invites comment upon whether Australia should introduce a statutory cause of action for privacy and, if so, what elements a statutory cause of action might include.  It draws on the analysis of the Australian, Victorian and New South Wales Law Reform Commissions, and considers the policy context and current legal positions in Australia and comparable jurisdictions.

Submissions may address the particular questions contained in the paper, comment upon the proposed reform as a whole, or upon any other relevant issue.

Providing Comments

Responses are requested by Friday, 4 November 2011, though earlier responses are encouraged.

Responses can be submitted by email (preferred) or by post to:


Privacy and FOI Policy Branch
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
1 National Circuit

  • Please ensure your submission contains your name, address and any other relevant contact details.
  • Emailed submissions are preferred.
  • Submissions sent by email should be in Word or PDF format.  These should be attached to the email, and should be no bigger than 10MB.  Other file formats will not be accepted and may be lost in security scans.
  • Submissions larger than 10 MB should be saved to disc and mailed by post. 
  • Receipt of emailed submissions will be acknowledged by return email.

Publication of Submissions

It will be assumed that submissions are not confidential and may be made publicly available on the website of the Department (www.dpmc.gov.au/privacy/causeofaction). 

If you would like your submission, or any part of it, to be treated as confidential, please indicate this clearly on the submission.  A request made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) for a submission marked confidential to be made available will be determined in accordance with that Act. 

Useful Resources

Australian Law Reform Commission, Report 108: For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice (2008). See especially chapter 74 and recommendations 74-1 to 74-7 (which form part of volume 3).

New South Wales Law Reform Commission, Report 120: Invasion of Privacy (2009).

Victorian Law Reform Commission, Surveillance in Public Places: Final Report 18 (2010). See especially ch 7 and recommendations 22 to 33.


Last Updated: 01 November 2011