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Law Council of Australia

Business Law Section

Attorney-General’s Department consultation on the Electronic Transactions Act

This submission has been prepared on behalf of the Digital Commerce Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (the Committee) in response to the consultation in relation to the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 (Cth) (the Act). 

The Committee recommends:

(a) flexible legislation that can accommodate the inevitable and dynamic technological advances that will influence digital commerce in the future;

(b) national harmonisation of laws and regulations relating to electronic transactions—the Committee’s view is that this would occur preferably with a Commonwealth Act and regulations to cover the field rather than persevering with now multiple divergent variants among States and Territories. The Law Council notes that it has not consulted its constituent bodies more broadly regarding this view and would need to do so in order to reach a settled whole-of-Law-Council view on the merits of harmonisation versus a Commonwealth Act covering the field to effectively clear away those multiple divergent variants;

(c) removing the consent requirement as a condition of validity in a business-to-business commercial transaction context and dealing with any legitimate concerns by more focussed policy implementation, and aligning to the requirements for government agencies—they must accept electronic communications and signatures, but they may (reasonably) specify the types of electronic communications and signatures they will accept;


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