Proposal 9–2 The new Act should provide that the new tort be limited to natural persons.
9.33 The ALRC proposes that the statutory cause of action for serious invasion of privacy be limited to natural persons. This means that corporations, government agencies or other organisations would not have standing to sue for invasions of privacy. This was unanimously recommended by previous Australian law reform inquiries. Actions in defamation, which are analogous to privacy actions, are also generally limited to living, natural persons.
9.34 An action in privacy is designed to remedy a personal, dignitary interest. It would be incongruous to assign this interest to a corporation or other body. In Australian Broadcasting Corporation v Lenah Game Meats, Gummow and Hayne JJ suggested in obiter that any common law tort of privacy (were one to develop in Australian law), should be confined to natural persons as corporations lack the ‘sensibilities, offence and injury … which provide a staple value for any developing law of privacy’.
Barristers Animal Welfare Panel and Voiceless, Submission 64.
Including elected bodies: Ballina Shire Council v Ringland (1994) 33 NSWLR 680
Victorian Law Reform Commission, Surveillance in Public Places, Report No 2010) Rec 32; ALRC, For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice, Report No 108 (2008) Rec 74–3(a); NSW Law Reform Commission, Invasion of Privacy, Report 120 (2009) NSWRC Draft Bill, cl 74(1).
Defamation Act 2005 (SA) s 9. Some small businesses (which employ less than 10 employees) and not for profit organisations have standing under the Act to sue for defamation.
Australian Broadcasting Commission v Lenah Game Meats Pty Ltd (2001) 208 CLR 199, .