If it happens, Russell Crowe will be able to sue you, as well as chuck a phone at you. Kylie Minogue could stop photographers taking pictures of her in bed (unless she’s promoting her bedding range), and Nicole Kidman will find it easier to stop those whispers about plastic surgery.
But opinion is divided over whether Australia needs a privacy law.
The Australian Law Reform Commission says there are gaps that need filling – but Justin Quill, one of Australia’s most experienced media lawyers, said: “It’s a bad idea. It should not be implemented. It will provide no added protection to the ‘average Australian’ and will lead to more legal action primarily by the rich or famous.”
His colleague, privacy lawyer Peter Bartlett, added: ‘Media culture is remarkably different in Australia and there is no evidence of such outrageous behaviour occurring here.”
Aussies should beware blundering into privacy laws like the UK did in 2000. They’ll end up with local papers having to blur kids’ faces in photos of the school play, and ambulance crews trying to stop photographers taking pictures of road accidents.
Be warned. – privacy law may be coming to an Australian state near you.
Cleland Thom is a legal advisor to TNT and other media. He also runs online journalism courses. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org