Commonwealth of Australia, A Policy Framework for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce (Oct. 1999) (not available online).
This Policy Framework sets out the Government's policy for consumer protection in electronic commerce. It first discusses the context in which this framework must be developed, focusing on the nature of electronic commerce and its uptake in Australia. It also looks at the Government's overall policies for the information economy and consumer protection.
The framework outlines the Government's overall objective of building a world class consumer protection environment for electronic commerce in Australia. The Government's vision is to empower Australians to be at the forefront of global commerce, both as online consumers and as online traders. It also details the principles which will be applied in achieving this objective. These are: functional equivalence and technology neutrality, the need to balance the interests of consumers and business, the dual responsibilities of industry and Government and the importance of international co-operation.
- Information — the provision of adequate information to consumers;
- Payment — establishing secure methods for paying online;
- Redress — availability of effective and accessible redress in Australia and overseas;
- Jurisdiction — international agreement on the appropriate jurisdiction for consumer contracts; and,
- Privacy — protection of personal information in the online environment.
The framework discusses these issues including the Government's objectives and approach to each issue.
Finally, it outlines specific initiatives that the Government will be undertaking to achieve these objectives in the areas of: Self-regulation; International Co-operation; Education; Legal Framework; and, Enforcement Co-operation. Major Government initiatives include the establishment of an Expert Group to advise the Minister for Financial Services and Regulation on consumer protection aspects of electronic commerce, the development of a model code for traders, examining the availability of adequate redress for electronic commerce, educating both consumers and business on consumer protection issues and negotiating a range of multilateral and bilateral international agreements.
One of the key initiatives announced in the Policy Framework was for the development of a Model code for traders in electronic commerce. That initiative culminated in the release of the Australian E-commerce Best Practice Model in May 2000.