Last month, Federal MP Steve Georganas, introduced the Do Not Knock Register Bill 2012 in the lower house to establish the ‘Do Not Knock Register’. The private members Bill replicates the Do-Not-Call Register legislation introduced in 2006 and prohibits salespeople from making marketing calls to residential and government addresses listed on a register.
However, Mr Georganas said that, “this [scheme] doesn’t stop the Girl Guides selling biscuits or the Salvation Army conducting their Red Shield Appeal but it does mean that you won’t be hassled by a sales rep to sign up with a new energy company or for a new phone plan when you’re trying to eat dinner or enjoy your Saturday morning. ”The Do Not Knock Register scheme is aimed to promote the following rights:
Right to privacy – opting out of unsolicited door to door marketing calls will reduce the incidences of unwanted interferences and disturbances to people at home.
- Rights of people with disability – opting out of unsolicited door to door marketing calls will help protect people with disabilities against potential exploitation or abuse.
- Right to take part in public affairs and elections – politicians and political candidates are not prevented from making door to door calls.
- Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief – political, religious and not for profit organisations which are engaged in issues of thought, conscience religion and belief are not prevented from making door to door calls.
- Right to fair trial – the federal courts will hear matters involving contravention of civil penalty provisions. Once an address is entered onto the Do Not Knock Register, it will remain on the Register for 3 years. The address will then have to be re-entered.
The Do Not Knock Register will be regulated by the Registrar appointed by the Minister shortly after the Bill is enacted.
Proceedings for civil penalties injunctions may be instituted by the Registrar in the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court.
The pecuniary penalties vary according to a number of factors such as whether the alleged offender has a prior record, is a body corporate or whether there are more than 2 contraventions on a particular day. The penalties can be up to $1,100,000 for a body corporate with a prior record and with multiple contraventions on a particular day.
In addition to pecuniary penalties, the Federal Court or the Federal Magistrates Court may grant an injunction to restrain the offender from engaging in the conduct.
At this stage it is not known whether there will be substantial amendments made to the Bill or whether Mr Georganas will have sufficient support for the Bill to be passed.