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NSW Not Allowed to Use a Recording Device at Centrelink Appointment?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Sophi, 23 March 2015.

  1. Sophi

    Sophi Member

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    A Centrelink officer informed me that the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 does not allow using recording devices at appointments with Centrelink.


    I explained to the officer that the Listening Devices Act 1984 (NSW) allows me to record my conversations under three different circumstances: 1) where both/all parties agree to do so, 2) when one party’s legal interests are affected 3) where the recording will not be published (Point 5 Clause 3); and I asked the officer to provide the clause of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 which prohibits me to record my conversations with Centrelink. The officer refused to specify the clause, and stated that Centrelink could stop my payments if I used a recording device during appointments.


    Please advise me whether by law I am prohibited to record my conversations with Centrelink. If yes, please specify the clause of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (or other Act) which overrides my rights granted by the Listening Devices Act 1984 (NSW).
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Don't quote me but I thought the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 related to conversations intercepted over the phone or other telecommunications network - not in person.
     
  3. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    The Listening Devices Act 1984 (NSW) was repealed several years ago.
     
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I agree with @Sophea - that act applies to the phone system.
    Which means that the Centrelink worker is partly right - recording conversations
    had on the phone with workers in the Centrelink call centre can be a problem.

    For in-person conversations, in NSW, the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW)
    is more relevant.*
    That act contains a general prohibition on recording conversations,
    and provides for offences in respect of making the recording, and for publishing it.

    The modern act does not give you any rights.
    Rather, it simply provides for certain circumstances where making a recording is not an offence.
    It would be a matter for you to convince the court that one of those exceptions applied to you.

    ----------------------------------------
    * The Listening Devices Act 1984 (NSW) is no longer in effect - it was repealed in 2008.
     
    Sophea likes this.
  5. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Tim W. I'm not sure if this is how Centrelink applies it, but this is what I see as their case.

    Section 7 of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 prohibits a person from doing anything that will enable another person to intercept a communication passing over a telecommunication system.

    Section 6 defines 'interception' as 'listening to or recording, by any means, such a communication in its passage over that telecommunications system without the knowledge of the person making the communication'.

    Basically, if the Centrelink employee allowed you to record the conversation in a place where they know other phone calls may be occurring (as is most often the case for Centrelink), they would essentially be 'allowing another person' to potentially 'record communications in its passage over the telecommunications system without the knowledge of the person making the communication'.
     
    Tim W and Sophea like this.

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