Policy on Privacy
The Mainstream Party, if we are elected to run a State or Territory Government, will enact a Privacy Act, to expand what is regarded as defamation. If any of our candidates are elected to a State or Territory Parliament, we will introduce our Privacy Bill as a private member’s bill. Under our Privacy Act, the disclosure of certain types of information about people will automatically be considered defamatory.
Accusations of crimes or unlawful actions will normally be considered defamatory, unless made to a police officer, a lawyer, a court, or Parliament. If an accusation is made to a court or Parliament, it may be reported and discussed for up to one month after it is made. If a prosecution is underway, it may be reported and discussed for up to one month after the prosecution ends. If a person is convicted of a crime, this fact may be reported for up to one month after the conviction is recorded and while the person is in prison. If a person is convicted of a crime, this may be discussed until such time as the conviction is quashed or considered spent.
Saying that someone has a particular illness will normally be considered defamatory, unless it is obvious to anyone seeing him or her in public that he or she has the illness. For example, if someone is obviously sneezing and coughing in public, it may be reported that he has a cold. Saying that someone has a terminal illness without his or her written consent will normally be considered defamatory.
Saying that people are married or living in a de facto relationship if it is true will not be defamatory. Saying that people are friends if it is true will not be defamatory. Saying that people are in a sexual relationship will be defamatory, unless they are married or living in a de facto relationship.
Displaying images of someone nude or undergoing a medical procedure will normally be defamatory. The exception will be if it is in a film with the person's written consent. A person will not be able to consent to themselves being shown in a film undergoing a medical procedure until after the medical procedure has been carried out.
Displaying images of someone in a swim suit without their written consent will normally be defamatory, unless it is a lifeguard, or in a film made by government media (ABC or SBS). It may be made a condition of admission to a beach for a special event, such a surfing competition, that people agree that they may be filmed. A married person may make images of his or her spouse and children in swim suits, but the images may not be published without their permission at the time of publication.
Displaying images of someone in a distressed state will be defamatory. Showing someone entering or leaving a court without his or her written consent will be defamatory. Showing people who have been forced to evacuate a building or train or ship and in their night clothes or with a dishevelled appearance will be defamatory. Showing people at a funeral without their written consent will be defamatory.
Possession of defamatory photographs or records will be a crime. Taking photographs of or pointing a camera at someone who is on private property without his or her permission will be a crime. Carrying a camera on private property without the owner's or lessee's permission will be a crime. Possession of a listening device or a miniaturized camera except by a police officer and with the authority of the police will be a crime.
An image of a person showing his or her head combined with the body of someone else will for legal purposes be considered a image of the person whose head is shown. The use of innuendo, such as code words or whistling or body language, while talking about a person, will be defamatory. In the sentence, “God save the Queen, you know what I mean”, the last five words are code words. For example, if one television presenter says that two people are friends, while the other presenter is whistling, this would be seen as suggesting that the two people are sleeping together, so it is defamatory.
To further discourage defamation, there will be minimum amounts of damages that the courts must award. To secure the minimum amount of damages, it will be enough to prove that the defamation took place. It will not be necessary to prove the extent of the loss that the person suffered. The minimum amount of damages for saying something on television or showing an image on television will be a lot greater than the minimum damages for saying something verbally.