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Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Australia) (Date of assent 5 Aug. 1999) (full-text).
The Act implemented the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996) (“Model Law”). The Model Law sought to provide a more secure and internationally-recognized environment for electronic commerce. The Act implements three key outcomes of the Model Law – legal validity of electronic transactions, non-discriminatory treatment of different electronic methods, and party autonomy to agree to alternative terms and conditions.
The Act states that a transaction under a law of the Commonwealth will not be invalid simply because it was conducted by the use of electronic communications. The Act allows any of the following requirements or permissions under Commonwealth law to be fulfilled in electronic form:
- Giving information in writing
- Providing a handwritten signature
- Producing a document in material form, and
- Recording or retaining information.
The implementation of the Act was in two stages
- Before July 1, 2001, it only applied to those laws of the Commonwealth that were specified in the Electronic Transactions Regulations 2000.
- On or after July 1, 2001. it applied to all laws of the Commonwealth unless they were specifically exempted from application of the Act by the Electronic Transactions Regulations 2000.
The Attorney-General’s decision to exempt a law from the application of the Act is made in consultation with other Departments. The decision is based on the commitment to deliver all appropriate services online where possible. Most exemptions can be found in Schedule 1 of the Electronic Transactions Regulations 2000.
The Act was updated by the Electronic Transactions Amendment Act 2011.