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The Australian Spam Act in Profile (Part 1)

by Gordon Cramer  |  
January 4, 2005

The view among all professional marketers is unanimous. Spam is a worldwide problem that has to be taken on with a worldwide effort.

The US started the ball rolling in December last year with CAN-SPAM, followed closely by the implementation of EU Directives. This article, presented in two parts, looks at the Australian Spam Act, which came into force in April of this year. I'll look at how the Act is structured and how it's already making significant progress in the ongoing battle against spam.

Fundamentally Different

If I were to point to one major and fundamental difference between this act and others from around the world, it would be that the Australian Spam Act is "opt-in" and consent-based. Recipients cannot be sent commercial content via email, SMS, IM or other electronic communications without their prior express or inferred consent.

What the Act doesn't cover is fax transmissions or voice-to-voice telemarketing—that's the job of other legislation.

In short, the Act allows two forms of consent: express and inferred. It applies to two types of messages: commercial and factual.

In this first article, I'll review the two forms of consent and their effect on how marketers carry out their work. I will also look at best practices associated with the requirements of the Act.

In part two, I'll cover the two types of message that can be sent (and those that can't), plus implications for international, cross-border marketing campaigns. I'll also discuss an interesting call to action.

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Gordon Cramer is a principal consultant in Actif Communications, Queensland (

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