SURVEILLANCE DEVICES ACT As in force at 1 March 2011

Post by email:

Just to clear up some misunderstandings we’re reading on this blog about the legality or otherwise of recording private conversations.
The best way for someone to check is of course to ask a lawyer; don’t ask Halfpennys, get someone like Ron Hope.

Alternatively you could read the appropriate NT legislation yourself but of course ask a lawyer to check your interpretation before you act on it.

You can find all the current NT Legislation here:

Click on “View Legislation Alphabetically”, which will take you to a rather tawdry looking website with letters down the side.
Click on the letter of the legislation, in this case “S” then go down the list to “Surveillance Devices Act” and click on it.
This will open up the Act with options to download your own copy in PDF or Word format for you to read later.

The important parts for readers of this blog are the following:

“11 Installation, use and maintenance of listening devices 9”


“15 Communication and publication of private conversations and activities 12”


41 Definition – In this part:

public interest includes the interests of national security, public safety, the economic well-being of Australia, the protection of public health and morals and the protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens.”

Basically, IT IS AN OFFENCE TO RECORD A CONVERSATION YOU ARE NOT PARTY TO: If you’re part of the conversation you can legally record it.

With regards to sharing or publishing said recording of a private conversation, if it satisfies the definition in 41 – namely: being in the public interest – then you can share it or if it is shared for “protecting the lawful interests of the person making it”.

We at Cardfightback firmly believe that sharing a recording of a stressed-out, bullying, aggressive, intimidating principal, who is in charge of a school full of kids and who is also in charge of teachers who are in charge of kids, is DEFINITELY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, ON SO MANY LEVELS. We’d definitely want to know about this if any of our kids went to this kind of school. The same way we’d like to know if the someone in authority at the school was threatening to kill staff or was threatening to get a gun licence to shoot them.

However, we encourage you all to go and read and download the Act for yourselves. Have a look around the NT legislation site, read up on other Acts, particularly the Information Act which is what Lance Follett uses to try to help NT DECS “prevent stuff from getting through” to people when you do your Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. And remember to involve the Information Commissioner’s Office if you smell something fishy from Lance.

We’re hearing of a new tactic to try to stop people people submitting FOI requests in the first place by trying to scare them away with the promise of huge fees. Don’t be put off so easily because THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT.  They don’t want us digging around because it’s costing them a fortune in legal defence bills (from the huge amount of stuff involving Hylton Hayes alone!)  We dream of the day that they start changing their behaviour which is what we all want.

Good luck, keep recording and keep us posted.

CFB Team.

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13 Responses to SURVEILLANCE DEVICES ACT As in force at 1 March 2011

  1. Stephen Ferguson says:

    Hey I’m Stephen Ferguson and I publish this site. It’s great don’t you think? I’m a great guy. Shake my hand and I’ll steal your watch. Feeling down? Rely on me to make you feel worse. I’m Stephen Ferguson be my friend cos’ I’m lonely.

  2. I’m glad all you guys enjoy my site. I’m dedicated to publishing the truth here. Or at least my version of it. I love you all. Stephen xx.

  3. CFB Team For The Win says:

    Nearly 10000 views already! Go CFB!!!! We luv Ya too.

  4. AEU sucks (a member) says:

    Good onya CFB for takin a stand & giving us teachers a voice. Better than the EDUC Union anyday.

  5. Miss'd Opportunity says:

    Wish we’d thought of doing this sooner…would have saved my partner a lot of hassle.
    The sh*t they got away with saying because nobody was listening….. 😦

  6. Fudd Hunter says:

    Read the “Digital Recorders are your best friend” post too – bloody brilliant.

    We’ll get those bastards…..

  7. Keep fighting back!!! says:

    EXCELLENT piece of advice.
    THANX Cardfightback!

  8. john smith says:

    re Fees. I requested everything held in every government department about me recently. Cost was $550.00. That is the first stage. Then, you review everything they gave you back redacted and that is free. And reading the information you initially received allows you to target communications about you between specific people and dates which is when you get into the good stuff. Of course, when and if you get to the Information Commissioner, request all the fees back due to the tardiness of the FOI manager, the obfuscation and the attempt to hide relevant material. Ball park figure would be $1000. They will spend a lot of time and much more money trying to stop you and you will win in the end most of the time. Once the decisions are made out of the department, justice prevails. Another trick of senior management is to cc all emails to the legal team and then clam lawyer confidentiality. The act of doing that is not a satisfactory reason under the Act, so make sure you review those and take them all the way.

  9. john smith says:

    Thank you for the information on surveillance. I personally am grateful for it as it has relevance to me and others. It is worth looking at the CPE website and reading the 13 Commissioners Instructions on it. The one on natural justice, I find, is often relevant in cases of management bullying. But they are all there to be used as grounds for lodging grievances and will give you a frame work if you think you need one. Retaliatory action is common once a grievance is lodged. It’s illegal and must be reported to the CPE if it happens. All CPE stats are reported annually to the relevant minister so the department is very sensitive to it. It may be why they stamp on people so savagely in the first place.

  10. john smith says:

    Re; HUGE FEES on FOI requests. You can claim them back on tax so that should reduce them by 30-40%. The FOI timeframe for turnaround is 30 days. The clock starts from the moment you submit the FOI. KEEP COPIES. Inevitably, they will be late on time. Let them be late on time. Anything you are refused, ALWAYS ask for a REVIEW – you have 30 days to ask for a review which is free. If they don’t change their decision, you can then appeal to the Information Commissioner. The organisation hate this because this comes up on statistics and the CE has to write a report on FOI requests every six months. Generally if you ask for a review, they get concerned because you are showing them you aren’t going away. If you appeal, you go through a mediation process which is the department’s last chance before a hearing which gets published on the Information Commissioner’s web site. At hearings, unless you are being vexatious, each side is responsible for their own costs so you don’t have to worry about that. The important thing is to never back down, do everything by email and always be polite, no matter how much they fuck you around – and they will fuck you around as much as they can. Also, never say you are thinking of suing them – a whole new ball game starts if you say that. The FOI stuff is part of the legal office so be sure that their lawyers are involved all the way in requests looking for loopholes. But if you stick to your guns, you will pretty always get what you wan in the interests of open government. FOI opens up a new world of information about you that you never knew existed. Abusive emails, defamatory comments, lies, innuendo, conspiracy, the list in some cases can be endless. CFB Team – keep up the great work you do on here. Great source of honest information. Love to all. XX

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