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Dispelling Attorney-General Dreyfus’ misinformation about privacy reform

Joint media release

Julian Leeser MP, Shadow Attorney-General
Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson, Shadow Minister for Communications

Today, in response to questions at the National Press Club after his address, Labor’s Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus made statements that could only be described as blatant misinformation.

When asked about upcoming privacy reform, he falsely claimed that the Coalition only announced a broad review of the Privacy Act, and did nothing more.

The facts are very different.

The Coalition released for consultation a draft Online Privacy Bill in October 2021. This bill included provisions which increased penalties for privacy law breach and stronger consumer protections such as greater rights to cease using or disclosing personal information. It also proposed much needed parental controls in relation to children signing up to online apps and other platforms.

Since July, we have been calling on the Albanese Government to adopt the Online Privacy Bill subject to any further necessary reforms as a result of extensive consultation conducted by the former Coalition government.

Mr Dreyfus is well aware of our calls for him and Communications Minister Michelle Rowland to act, and it is most improper of him to mislead the national media as he did today.

Labor needs to treat the Optus cyberattack much more seriously and move immediately to implement urgent amendments to the Privacy Act in the next sitting of Parliament.

It is also unacceptable that the government did not instigate separate investigations by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner much more quickly.

12 October 2022

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