Terms of Reference

Review of the Privacy Act 1988

I, Philip Ruddock, Attorney-General of Australia, having regard to:

  • the rapid advances in information, communication, storage, surveillance and other relevant technologies
  • possible changing community perceptions of privacy and the extent to which it should be protected by legislation
  • the expansion of State and Territory legislative activity in relevant areas, and
  •  emerging areas that may require privacy protection,

refer to the Australian Law Reform Commission for inquiry and report pursuant to subsection 20(1) of the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996, matters relating to the extent to which the Privacy Act 1988 and related laws continue to provide an effective framework for the protection of privacy in Australia.

1. In performing its functions in relation to this reference, the Commission will consider:

  1. relevant existing and proposed Commonwealth, State and Territory laws and practices
  2. other recent reviews of the Privacy Act 1988
  3. current and emerging international law and obligations in this area
  4. privacy regimes, developments and trends in other jurisdictions
  5. any relevant constitutional issue
  6. the need of individuals for privacy protection in an evolving technological environment
  7. the desirability of minimising the regulatory burden on business in this area, and
  8. any other related matter.

2. The Commission will identify and consult with relevant stakeholders, including the Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner, relevant State and Territory bodies and the Australian business community, and ensure widespread public consultation.

3. The Commission is to report no later than 31 March 2008.*

Dated 30th January 2006


Philip Ruddock