QLD Voice Recording Conversations with Dishonest Builder?

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Warren Dodd

16 July 2014
Hi, I have been dealing with a very dishonest builder. During an inspection of defects I recorded the conversations (voice recording) as I know they would not follow through on their promises to fix faults. I now need to know if I can use this in a court of law even though they had no idea the conversation was being recorded. The conversation was entirely within my house and on the grounds of my property.


Hi Warren, it sounds like the recording that you took was of a face to face conversation that you were a participant in. According to the laws in Queensland, it would appear that your recording was probably legal under the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 and can be used in legal proceedings. However, I would be very careful not to play the recording to anyone else, as your rights under the Act may not extend to such use. Here is some general information:

In Queensland:

  • It is legal for a face to face conversation to be secretly recorded by a person who is a party to the conversation and such recording may be used in legal proceedings – s 43, Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld).
  • It is legal for a telephone call to be secretly recorded by an external device (e.g. Dictaphone) by a person who is a party to the conversation – s 43, Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld)
  • It is illegal to record a telephone call with a device physically attached to the telephone –Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 (Cth). This includes bugging or intercepting a telephone conversation, so don't attach anything to or in the phone or its connections.
  • The recording of a conversation by a person who is not a party to the conversation (whether by telephone or face to face) is illegal.

This is what a QPILCH fact sheet states: http://www.qpilch.org.au/resources/factsheets/Privacy_rights.htm

"As a general rule, conversations cannot be recorded without the permission of the people party to the conversation.

If a call is to be recorded or monitored (for example if you telephone a customer call centre), an organisation must tell you at the beginning of the conversation so that you have the chance either to end the call, or to ask to be transferred to another line where monitoring or recording does not take place if this is available.

It is an offence under the Invasion of Privacy Act 1971 (Qld) to use a listening device to record a private conversation unless you are a party to the conversation or unless you have a warrant. It is also an offence to publish a recording of a private conversation, or information obtained from the recording (even if you were a party to the conversation), unless it is for certain defined purposes such as legal proceedings.

Under the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 (Cth), telecommunications cannot be intercepted, except where a warrant has been obtained in the interests of security or in connection with enquiries related to narcotics offences, etc. However, communications that are no longer passing over a telecommunications system (such as emails stored on a computer system) are not protected under this Act."


LawConnect (LawTap) Verified
27 May 2014
Best thing is to write up the results of the inspection and send/email them to the builder, that way you have it on a written record AND can prove it was sent to the builder.