The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) sets out rules of conduct called Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which establish standards for the collection and handling of 'personal information' (as defined by the Act) by Commonwealth agencies. The APPs comprise a code of conduct for privacy of personal information in areas [Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) s 14] including:
Under the Act agencies must comply with the APPs and a breach of an APP by an agency is deemed to be an interference with the privacy of an individual [s 13]. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) may issue a public interest determination to allow practices which would otherwise be a breach (eg. publication of Telstra's white pages telephone directory).
The APPs and many useful publications about them and about how to make a complaint about breaches of them are available from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's website.