by Lisa Banks

New bill to strengthen Australia’s e-commerce laws

May 11, 2010
ERP Systems

The Attorney-General’s office has welcomed a new agreement which will align e-commerce laws in each state and territory.

The Model Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill is aimed at promoting greater certainty in the international trade sector and will comply with the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts 2005.

Once the bill is drafted and becomes a legal obligation, enterprises across Australia will have 12 months to update their Electronic Transaction Acts in accordance with the legislation, which will affect both domestic and international contracts.

The government hopes the bill will allow organisations to determine a person’s location in the electronic sphere, know the time, date and recipient of an electronic transmission and enable contract formation through automated message systems.

While the bill is currently only a broad agreement between the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, Nick Abrahams from Sydney law firm Norton Rose says that once initiated, the new laws will make compliance easier for enterprise.

“The legislation will be the same nationally and internationally, thus removing the risk that arose as a result of the disconnect between the Australian legislation and the UN Convention on the Use of Electronic Communication in International Contracts 2005,” he said.

Abrahams also suggested that while the bill will promote greater unity between Australian legislation and the UN Convention, it may mean CIOs will have to rethink the way that online contracts are created within their organisations.

“It will specify what companies must do if they wish to use automated messaging systems for contract formation. Depending on the extent of the changes, this may mean companies will have to change their procedures for forming contracts online”, he said.