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Media Statement: Calls to electors outside the jurisdiction of the Privacy Act
30 March 2005
The Privacy Commissioner, Karen Curtis, has today advised that she will not be investigating the complaint about the telemarketing activities of the Liberal Party of Australia, which was referred to her by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) on 21 March 2005.
"I have examined the information provided to me by the ACA following its investigation of this matter," Ms Curtis said.
"On the basis of that information, I am satisfied that the matters raised would fall outside the jurisdiction of the Privacy Act, as it provides an exemption for the acts and practices of political organisations and those organisations contracted to them," said Ms Curtis.
Background Section 7C (1) of the Privacy Act states that an act done, or practice engaged in, by an organisation (the political representative) consisting of a member of a Parliament, or a councillor (however described) of a local government authority, is exempt for the purposes of paragraph 7(1)(ee) if the act is done, or the practice is engaged in, for any purpose in connection with:
- an election under an electoral law; or
- a referendum under a law of the Commonwealth or a law of a State or Territory; or
- the participation by the political representative in another aspect of the political process.
The activities of contractors for political parties and representatives may also be exempt under the Privacy Act. The acts or practices of a contractor will be exempt if they are carried out for the purposes of meeting an obligation under a contract between the contractor and a registered political party or political representative and are connected to an election, referendum or participating in the political process by the registered political party or political representative.
Please refer to the Office's Information Sheet 12 for more information about the political party exemption.
Section 7C of the Privacy Act outlines the exemption.