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Wednesday, 8 November 2000
Page: 22387

Mr WILLIAMS (Attorney-General) (11:44 AM) —The government opposes this amendment and believes it would introduce quite unnecessary bureaucratic requirements that would be expensive to implement and of little point. The amendment would impose additional burdens on organisations. It is inconsistent with the government's commitment to provide a light touch coregulatory approach to privacy protection, although I have to admit that it is consistent with the heavy-handed approach that the opposition seems to be taking. It should be up to individual code adjudicators to decide how complaints will be resolved and whether a precedent or similar system is set up. Imposing these requirements in the legislation will not encourage the take-up of codes by industry bodies, which will then rely on the national privacy principles instead. Of course, that would result in everybody being subject to the Privacy Commissioner's adjudication rather than individual code adjudicators.

The Privacy Commissioner has a power to make guidelines relating to the making and handling of complaints under approved privacy codes in the new section 18BF. Whether he recommends an annual complaints summary will be a decision for him in administering the code system, and he will be in the best position to make that judgment. He will know how many code adjudicators there are, what industry sectors of individual enterprises they cover and how well they are operating. It is a matter which should be left for the decision of the Privacy Commissioner.

Amendment negatived.