In Re ‘A’ and Local Government Standards Panel [2023] WAICmr 19 22 December 2023 (D0192023.pdf (oic.wa.gov.au) ), the Information Commissioner has confirmed that election to public office does not mean that Elected Members do not have a right to privacy, in affirming Re Leighton and Department of Local Government and Regional Development [2008] WAICmr 50 , especially para.40. (https://www8.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/wa/WAICmr/2008/50.html)

It is important to note that,

  • The Commonwealth Privacy Act does not apply to WA Local Governments
  • WA does not have a Privacy Act, but has privacy at  common law
  • There is no general right of privacy under WA common law
  • There is piecemeal protection of WA person’s privacy found in tort, equity, statutes, standards
  • The right to privacy is political right, which may be protected by the WA criminal code in some circumstances
  • It may be a crime to share a secretly recorded phone message without the consent of the parties to that message.

Prudent Elected Members will annually FOI the information held by their LG about them to ensure it is accurate and does not contain a breach of their privacy.