16.1 This chapter sets out recommendations about new regulatory mechanisms to reduce and redress serious invasions of privacy. The new regulatory powers the ALRC recommends in this chapter are not intended to be an alternative to a statutory tort for serious invasions of privacy—although, in the absence of a statutory tort, the new regulatory powers would increase the legal protection of privacy. Rather, the new regulatory powers would complement a statutory tort, providing a low cost alternative to litigation, which may, in some cases, lead to a satisfactory outcome for parties.

16.2 The ALRC recommends that consideration be given to conferring extended powers on the Privacy Commissioner to investigate complaints about serious invasions of privacy. This would provide a forum for consideration of complaints about serious invasions of privacy without requiring parties to commit the time and resources that might be needed for court proceedings. Under these extended powers, the Commissioner could be given the power to recommend the non-publication or removal of private information from publication. However, court action would be required to enforce such a recommendation.

16.3 The ALRC also recommends conferring additional functions on the Privacy Commissioner to act as amicus curiae or intervener in court proceedings, with the leave of the court, where the Commissioner considers it appropriate.