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Privacy Law and Policy Reporter

Privacy Law and Policy Reporter (PLPR)
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Greenleaf, Graham --- "Complaint: Australia Post (Cth)" [1995] PrivLawPRpr 6; (1995) 2(1) Privacy Law & Policy Reporter 11

Complaints: Australia Post (Cth)

Australian Privacy Commissioner, Cl 804(P), C1 835(P), Cl 696(P), 1994

Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) - disclosure of postal addresses - IPP 11 - compensation

Three complaints raised similar issues of Australia Post disclosing a person's new mail address (obtained by Australia Post from redirection notices lodged by the complainants). The complaints arose in three different Australian States. The disclosures had different consequences for each complainant:

  1. The complainant's ex-husband was given her new address and her silent telephone number, perhaps unwittingly by an Australia Post employee.
  2. The complainant was harassed, and allegedly 'stalked' by her ex-fiance, causing considerable apprehension.
  3. The complainants, who were the previous managers of a park, were contacted by debtors of the previous owners of the park, some of whom visited them demanding money under the mistaken belief that it was owed by the complainants. These disclosures, and disclosure to both the previous owner and the new owners, caused them considerable disquiet. The disclosures were one factor in the complainants changing addresses again.

All of the matters were settled by a formal apology and the payment of compensation by Australia Post of amounts ranging from $500 to $1,000. The Commissioner decided not to investigate the matters further (s 41(2)(a)).

In Qld Australia Post also took action to release a circular concerning privacy issues, to include a message in all staff payslips, and to include privacy information in training briefings. A general Australia Post review of redirection policy was conducted as a result of one of the other complaints.

Graham Greenleaf

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