Tag Archives: privacy

Radio Atticus 13 October 2011

Two months on from the News of the World hacking scandal, is privacy legislation still on the agenda? Anthony Jucha takes us on his latest journey with Brush With the Law.

Two months ago the media world was afrenzy with the News of the World hacking scandal, when that notorious and now defunct publication was exposed as a hot bed of phone tapping and intrigue. There were calls in Australia for privacy legislation, and since then there has been much debate on the issue. As the heat has died down from the expose, the lawsuits are piling up. So is this standard procedure of tackling breaches of privacy in the courts after the fact, really the best that we can hope for?

Reporter: Justin Ellis

  1. Tim Vines, a director with Civil Liberties Australia.

This week Anthony speaks with Peter in Glebe, who lent $100,000 to a lawyer who has never paid him back. Please note that ‘Brush with the Law’ is edited and is provided for general information only.  Every situation is different and this segment does not represent legal advice for listeners. If you need legal advice, you should speak to a lawyer.

Reporter: Anthony Jucha

1. Peter from Glebe

The limitation period to commence legal proceedings for a breach of contract is 6 years from the date of the breach. This means once that date has passed, it is generally not possible to commence legal proceedings.  There are a variety of limitation periods that apply to different sorts of legal matters.  You can find a Schedule of Limitation Periods at the website www.lawcover.com.au.

Radio Atticus 15 September 2011

Privacy still on the agenda: you’ll hear from three experts about what they think, and is the police database COPS, keeping our kids in remand without cause?

In July, Radio Atticus aired a story on privacy when the public response to the News Ltd phone hacking scandal had reached fever pitch. In reaction to the scandal, the Government revived the 2008 recommendations on privacy from the Australian Law Reform Commission. New federal privacy laws, affecting the rights of everyone in Australia, are expected to be drafted soon. Some of the country’s foremost experts on the subject were brought together in Sydney this week to discuss exactly what the right balance should be – between privacy, accountability and public scrutiny under the law.

Interviewer Justin Ellis

  1. Barbara McDonald, Professor of Law at the University of Sydney
  2. Chris Merritt – Legal Editor of the Australian Newspaper
  3. David Rolph – Associate Professor  at Sydney University Law School.

We take you on a journey into the lives of some young people who have been falsely imprisoned. Earlier this year, some of them launched a class action in NSW. In this class action they fall into two categories. The first were arrested under s.50 of the Bail Act when in fact they were no longer on bail. The second were arrested on the basis of a breach of a bail condition which had in fact been changed.

The claim before the Supreme Court is that the Police’s database, the Computerised Operational Policing System, known as COPS, was so unreliable, and known to be so by senior members of the police force, that no individual police officer could have reasonably relied on it as the sole basis for arresting someone.

Reporter Amarande Chauvet

  1. Ben Slade, Principal of Maurice Blackburn
  2. David Porter, Solicitor at the Redfern Legal Centre
  3. Prue Bergen, Treasurer of the Police Association of NSW and serving officer

Radio Atticus 25 August

Mental health and privacy: when the law says you can’t be named, what can be done for people with mental disabilities who can’t give evidence to protect themselves, and calls for the mentally ill to get the right to appeal for treatment.

This week, a modern day ‘one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest’. In this two part series, Radio Atticus takes a look inside the mental health system and privacy legislation protecting patients. Privacy policies protect the vulnerable from the hands of the media: the young, victims of sexual abuse, and the mentally ill. Yet if a child or a victim of sexual assault decided to speak out in NSW, they could do so by giving consent, but not the mentally ill. Under s.162 of the Mental Health Act, they’ re prohibited from doing so.
The section has now come under scrutiny. And the question being asked by activists is, if a patient wants the media to use their name, should they still be forced to remain nameless?

Reporter Amarande Chauvet


  1. Adrian Keller, Clinical Director of Forensics, Long Bay Hospital
  2. Brett Collins: Prisoner’s rights activist
  3. Dan Howard: Author of Crime and Mental Health Law in New South Wales
  4. The lawyer representing the case in the Supreme Court

Now to a case in South Australia, where a 57-year-old bus driver accused of indecent assault has had charges against him dropped because the alleged victims were too mentally impaired to give evidence in court. The case has sparked more calls for South Australia’ s Evidence Act to be changed, to make it easier for people with disabilities to access justice. The state’s Attorney-General John Rau has ordered a review into the Act. One of the proposed changes includes allowing a judge to give more weight to other evidence when cross-examination in court is too difficult. They’re changes that have already been adopted in some other Australian states, including NSW.

Reporter Sharnie Kim


  1. Janene Cootes, executive officer of the Intellectual Disability Rights Service of NSW

Radio Atticus 4 August 2011

Does privacy extend to political party campaign databases? Bradley Manning – wikileaker: hero or thoughtless desperado, and is the sacrament a law unto itself?

Two weeks ago Radio Atticus reported on the growing push for a tort of privacy in Australia. That push had come off the back of the News of the World phone hacking scandal. The Prime Minister saw an opportunity to both dust off the Australian Law Reform Commission 2008 Privacy report, calling for a legislative protection of individuals’ privacy, and to also put the boot in to the media, especially News Ltd.

But in an ironic twist, it seems that Australia’s major political parties themselves are breaching important parts of the privacy act – that is however, if it applied to them. The major political parties back in 2000 passed the Private Sector Amendment Bill, which exempted them from this country’s privacy legislation.

Those privacy exemption laws were scrutinized by the Australian Law Reform Commission in 2008, who recommended they be removed, and both the current and former Federal Privacy Commissioners have also called for their review.

Former South Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja (des-poy-ya) also spent much of her political career campaigning against the loop-holes, calling them “undemocratic, invasive and hypocritical”.

Reporter Patrick Wright


  1. Peter Onselen, Contributing Editor at the Australian Newspaper.

Bradley Manning isn’t known for his caution. Labelled King of the Wikileakers, he’s responsible for the biggest leak of classified information in US history. 250,000 diplomatic cables, and video including the piece titled ‘collateral damage’, which showed two Reuters journalists being fired on by US forces.

Manning was arrested in May 2010. He’s been charged with violations of breaching the uniform code of military justice – the law applicable to US forces abroad in conflict zones. In March this year, 22 further charges were laid – the most serious of them being aiding the enemy in the course of an armed conflict, which can carry the death penalty

Serious stuff. But is Bradley Manning a hero, or a thoughtless desperado? That was the topic up for debate at a forum in Sydney recently about Manning’s case.

Reporter Alexandra Vaughan


  1. Ben Saul, Director of the Sydney Centre for International Law at Sydney Law School 
  2. Wendy Bacon, Professor of Journalism at the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism.

Ireland has announced it will change the law so that Catholic clerics will be prosecuted if they don’t report crimes disclosed during confession. It follows outrage there over the long-running cover-up of child sex abuse cases within the Church.

Independent senator Nick Xenophon has said Australia should legislate accordingly, and argued it was unacceptable for priests to hide behind religious practice. Senator Xenophon introduced a private bill on the same matter when he was a member of the South Australian parliament in 2003, but it wasn’t backed by the big parties.

Catholic groups have come out against the Senator’s calls, arguing that if crimes disclosed during confession did have to be reported, congregants would have no channel through which to express remorse and make the first steps on the road to redemption.

Reporter Justin Ellis


  1. Brian Lucas, General Secretary of Catholic Bishops Australia.

Radio Atticus 21 July 2011

Privacy: how should we protect ourselves from the media pack, or should that be hack? Is the US legislating itself, and us, into debt oblivion?
And past lives: should violent histories be made public to the love struck?

At present there is no general right to privacy in Australia, and that means there’s no certainty for anyone wanting to sue for an invasion of their privacy.
But that might be about to change. The phone hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch’s British publication, The News of the World, has sent politicians here into a spin, with many calling for national inquiry into media ownership and ethics here in Australia. But it seems the government will resist those calls, and instead will put the focus on overhauling the country’s privacy laws.

Reporter Patrick Wright


  1. Bernie Goldsmith – Principal of Australian Defamation Lawyers
  2. Peter Timmins – FOI and privacy law expert – Sudanese Australian community leader.

The US national debt is about to reach a new milestone. Next month it will go over the $14 trillion mark, the current legal limit to government borrowing set by Congress. Congress routinely raises the debt ceiling each year to avoid America defaulting. But now it’s using the situation as a bargaining chip for drastic spending cuts for the first time in years. With negotiations making little ground, the US is now in real risk of default, which would shake global economic confidence. International commentators are warning that despite budget cuts, America’s unsustainable debt is digging the global economy into a bottomless financial pit.

Reporter Alexandra Vaughan

  1. Dr David Smith, lecturer in American Politics and Foreign Policy at the United States Study Centre at Sydney University.

People often don’t know a lot about someone they’ve just met online. So what if you find out too late that your new love interest has a secret violent past? A campaign is underway in the UK to introduce new laws where women could be warned if their partner has had a history of domestic violence. The proposal is called “Clare’s Law”, named after British woman Clare Wood, who was murdered by a man she met on Facebook. Victims’ rights campaigners, police, and the murdered woman’s father, have all voiced support for the legislation. But could the law infringe civil liberties?

Reporter Sharnie Kim

  1. Helen Fenwick, Co-director of the University of Durham’s Centre for Human Rights

Radio Atticus 17 February

Civil liberties under threat with proposed access to Twitter accounts, and in a new era of multiculturalism, is tolerance in need of a rescue plan?

Read more »

Radio Atticus Summer Edition: Thursday 6 January

On this week’s show we’re talking about rights:

  • Your right to privacy challenged by augmented reality,
  • What are you rights when it comes to S&M?, and
  • On brush with the law we speak to Jerry: does he have any rights over his neighbour’s fence?

Read more »

Radio Atticus: Thursday 21 October

Phone tapping – can the invasion of privacy be justified?  Augmented reality raises a whole new issue of identity theft, and on Brush With the Law, we speak to Cheryl, who learns that  retrospective justice is a rare thing. Read more »