A Must Read - Australian Regulatory Updates

August 22, 2018

 

 

We recently ran a webinar with updates on ipso facto reform, privacy developments, and the Banking Royal Commission. Here's a recap of what we covered and some key thoughts on these important regulatory updates. You can view the webinar via the link below.

 

Ipso Facto Law Reform - In Practice and Exemptions

Recent law reform has introduced a new stay on enforcement of ipso facto clauses that previously allowed a contractual party to terminate a contract when an insolvency event arose. You can read more about the reform here. In practice, contractual parties need to consider how the new ipso facto regime might affect commercial arrangements entered into on or after 1 July 2018.

It is worth understanding the types of contracts or rights that are exempted by the Regulations and the Ministerial Declaration. This is the right way for not having the stay apply, as parties cannot contract out of the regime.

 

Privacy Developments - Their Impact on Your Business and the Controversial Centrelink Case

In our webinar, we considered the impact of Australia's Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (commenced in February 2018) and the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (commenced in May 2018). These recent changes to privacy legislation in Australia and in Europe present some real challenges for businesses. We also shared some practical tips on compliance. If you missed the webinar, or if you want to hear our tips for your business, you can access a recording of our webinar via the link below. We also recommend you read our Practical Steps on GDPR.

The case of Ms Fox and Centrelink generated much interest, as reflected in the answers to our webinar poll questions. In a nutshell, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner rather controversially confirmed that Centrelink's disclosure of Ms Fox's personal information was permitted under the Privacy Act. The Australian Privacy Principle Guidelines gave examples of when the regulator considers that an individual may reasonably expect disclosure of their personal information. This includes circumstances in which the individual has made negative comments about an entity to the media about the way the entity has treated them. 

It is fair to conclude that, despite that the decision is consistent with how the law is applied, many people (including our attendees) seem to think that it is not consistent with community expectations. The lesson here is summarised well by the saying, “just because you can, doesn't mean you should”, as there may be commercial and reputational ramifications following disclosure despite it being permitted by law.

 

Banking Royal Commission - Findings and Learnings from Rounds 3 and 4

A similar theme was present at the public hearings at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. The evidence heard at the hearings has shown that even when the conduct of financiers seems to comply with the relevant laws and regulatory guidelines, the outcomes for consumers can still fall below the standards expected by the community. This is certainly something financiers need to take into consideration.

Currently, the Commission's interim report is due by 30 September 2018, and a final report and findings are due on 1 February 2019. The Commission's term may be extended, and this is something many people are keeping a watchful eye on.

 

In Case You Missed It…

Almost 100% of our webinar audience told us that they are interested in attending future regulatory update webinars. So watch this space for more webinars coming soon.

Miss the webinar?  You can view the slides here or watch now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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