The peak body protecting and promoting the Australian visual arts sector

Privacy

Currently the Government is contemplating the introduction of privacy legislation. Depending on the terms, it could hinder the capacity of artists to take photos or make videos or films in public places or make art which draws on the observation of others.

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NAVA is concerned that the absence of an express right to freedom of expression or speech in Australia, means that unless artistic expression is specifically identified as an interest which is to be balanced against any right to privacy, artistic expression is at risk both through the exercise of the law and through self censorship by the arts sector itself.

NAVA asserts that Australia needs to foster the documentation of and commentary on its public life provided by artists rather than put barriers in their way which would cause them unnecessary anxiety, cost and waste of time, damage to their artistic reputations and possible legal conviction.

NAVA has written two submissions in reaction to the proposed privacy legislation for Australia.

In relation to the proposals in the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)’s Discussion Paper on Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era, NAVA is very concerned that without adoption of our recommended changes, artists could face serious legal threats and a 'chilling effect’ of self censorship would result from the introduction of a cause of action for invasion of privacy.