The introduction of privacy legislation to Australia as a case study in policy making

  • Ian Harding

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The basis of this study was my belief that the introduction of the present privacy legislation had been done in such a “try and see” manner. To me, the whole process “begged” for a much closer look to try to understand the rationale behind successive governments’ decisions on this policy initiative. I begin my look at the process from the 1960s as this is when general public concern for the security of personal information was high. I then move to the introduction of the proposed Australia Card and its demise and then to the present. Then, with reference to the “classic” policy analysis authors, I show that the implementation of federal privacy laws in Australia was an excellent example of how not to go about convincing the public the new laws would offer the protection they, the public, sought. I also explore the reasons behind negative lobbying by certain non-government sector interests to demonstrate how this sector has influenced government thinking. As an example of the study of a policy issue this thesis shows the effect a lack of planning, and a terrible lack of communication, can have on the introduction of any new legislation. Much of this is due to the fact that the real issue behind the introduction of privacy legislation was that of increasing taxation revenue and not the protection of individuals’ privacy. The privacy legislation was the “sweetener” the government believed was needed to satisfy the general public’s concerns so that the government could achieve the desired result for its taxation revenue policy.
    Date of Award1998
    Original languageEnglish

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