The Surveillance Devices Act 1999 VIC

Section 6 prohibits the recording of audio conversations without the consent of all parties unless it is reasonably necessary for the purpose of protecting the lawful interests of the party who records the conversation.

Section 7 specifies it is against the law to install, use or maintain an optical surveillance device to record or observe a private activity to which the person is not a party. To record such private activity, the law requires the consent, express or implied, of all parties to the private activity be obtained.

Can Record but not publish unless

in Victoria, employees are free to record “private conversations” to which they are a party. However, employees are only able to lawfully communicate or publish such private conversations in the following circumstances:

  1. The recording was expressly or impliedly consented to by each party to the conversation
  2. The communication or publication is for the protection of the employee’s lawful interests or the public interest
  3. The recording is disclosed in the course of legal or disciplinary proceedings.

Federal Legislation

Federal legislation prohibits recording of telephone conversations. Even if an employee can lawfully record and communicate a private conversation, it is ultimately a matter for the Court or Tribunal whether the recording will be admissible in proceedings.

Penalties in Victoria

  • In the case of a corporation, 1200 penalty units.
  • In any other case, level 7 imprisonment (2 years maximum) or a level 7 fine (240 penalty units’ maximum) or both.


Ultimately, it is against the law in Victoria to knowingly install, a device that can record a conversation to which you are not a party to without consent and publish it anywhere. You may be able to record the conversation if you are a party, but it is illegal to publish a recorded private conversation that the other party is not aware of unless the recorded party consents to the recording to be used as admissible evidence.


Disclaimer: This publication contains comments of a general and introductory nature only and is provided as an information service. It is not intended to be relied upon as, nor is it a substitute for specific professional legal advice. You should always speak to us and obtain legal advice before taking any action relating to matters raised in this publication.