Online Privacy Bill will not be introduced prior to the election

On March 31, 2022 Policy and Regulation

Back in October 2021, the Government announced two privacy reviews which we summarised here.

The first was a comprehensive review of the Privacy Act to “ensure privacy settings empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy” – i.e. to ensure it is fit for purpose.

The second review was in relation to Exposure Draft legislation, the Privacy Legislation amendment (Enhancing Online Privacy and Other Measures) Bill 2021. 

The draft legislation proposed to:

  • Allow for the development and implementation of an Online Privacy Code (OP Code); and
  • Increase the penalties and strengthen the enforcement powers available to the OAIC under the Privacy Act.

At the time we flagged that the Exposure Draft legislation would need to be introduced and pass the Parliament before the process for developing and implementing a Code could begin and before the new enforcement and penalty provisions commence.

Though the Bill was on the list to be introduced into the Senate yesterday, the order of business has been rearranged resulting in the part of the program which contained the introduction of this Bill, to be removed from the program.  In other words, the Bill was not introduced and now will not be before the upcoming federal election.

Next steps will therefore be dependent on the outcome of the election.  If the coalition wins, this Bill would then be likely be picked up again for introduction shortly thereafter.