Privacy rights for Australia, maybe, but where’s speech?

Early this morning, Australia’s Minister for Privacy Brendan O’Connor announced that the government will start a public consultation into whether Australia should have a statutory right to privacy.

The media release was emailed at 6.26am AEST, a clear sign that it was a calm, reasoned decision made as part of a long-term government strategy. Sorry? No? Read the release?

“The News of the World scandal and other recent mass breaches of privacy, both at home and abroad, have put the spotlight on whether there should be such a right.”

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendation for such a law has been sitting on the table for three years now. But hey, something in the news cycle triggers a potential “announceable” and… disco!

Right then.

I’ve already written straight news stories today for CSO Online, Australia to consider right-to-privacy law and Watchdogs welcome Australia’s right-to-privacy move. I’ll be writing about the timing thing tomorrow for ABC’s The Drum.

Right now, though, I have one question. It’s a question I’ve asked before, but I was reminded by something Mark Newton said earlier this evening.

How come we don’t see such sudden action, ever, when is comes to giving Australians a statutory right to freedom of speech?

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