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.