Privacy complaints

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Can the Privacy Commissioner investigate my privacy complaint?

This will depend on a number of things such as whether or not:

  • the agency or organisation (the respondent) you are complaining about is subject to the Privacy Act;
  • your complaint involves personal information; or
  • your complaint is being handled by another complaint resolution body.

If you wish, you can use the ComplaintChecker to help you work out whether the Commissioner is likely to investigate your complaint.

What is the ComplaintChecker?

The ComplaintChecker is a system which asks you up to eight simple questions to help you see whether or not the Commissioner may be able to investigate your complaint under the Privacy Act.

This system can only give you general advice that will apply in most circumstances. It cannot be relied upon as legal advice. If you would like to discuss the information provided in the ComplaintChecker, please call our Privacy Enquiries Line on 1300 363 992.

If, after you have used the ComplaintChecker you are unsure about whether or not the Commissioner can investigate your complaint, we encourage you to submit your complaint for consideration.

What does the ComplaintChecker cover?

The ComplaintChecker applies to complaints about:

What is not covered by the ComplaintChecker?

You can also make a complaint about:

  • spent convictions;
  • data-matching conducted by federal government agencies using tax file numbers or the use of tax file numbers, more generally.The complaint checker does not deal with complaints about these matters.

    For help or information please contact the Privacy Enquiries Line or submit your complaint.

We have used the following abbreviations in ComplaintChecker:

  • Privacy Act - for the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) current as at January 2004
  • Commissioner - for the Privacy Commissioner
  • Respondent - for the agency or organisation your complaint is about

It's important to remember:

  • Before lodging your complaint with the Commissioner you should first write to the respondent setting out your complaint, so that it has an opportunity to resolve your complaint.
  • You should allow the respondent a month to respond to your complaint.
  • If you receive no response from the respondent or it has not resolved your privacy complaint to your satisfaction, you can then lodge your complaint with the Commissioner.

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