Your right to take photographs in Australia.
The taking and publication of a photograph of a person in NSW Australia, without their knowledge or permission, but within the limitations outlined below, is not an invasion of privacy, nor is it in breach of any case or statute law. It may be frowned upon by misguided Privacy Zealots, but in this country it has always been, and for the moment remains, a perfectly legal thing to do. A legacy of our convict past is that we've never had a Bill of Rights. Constitutionally speaking, there has never been any concept of a "Right To Privacy" here. Because of this, our common-law has always rejected attempts at prohibiting photography by merely claiming privacy rights (see this PLPR 1999 overview by Sharon Theedar, as well as this iLaw 2004 Net Law Roundup #35 by Jeremy Malcolm).
Indeed "unauthorized" photography has been sanctioned in Australia ever since the 1937 High Court decision in Victoria Park Racing v. Taylor (1937) 58 CLR 479 (at p.496). This was reaffirmed in ABC v Lenah (2001) HCA 63, where the Court ruled that despite the passage of decades since Victoria Park, any concept of a "Tort of invasion of privacy" still does not exist in this country. As Justice Dowd put it bluntly in R v Sotheren (2001) NSWSC 204 - “A person, in our society, does not have a right not to be photographed.”
You can't state it any clearer than that.
Whenever you enter private land, you do so with the understanding that you consent to any terms & conditions the property's owner may impose on you. So if they tell you to stop taking photographs, then there is nothing you can do. Stop it! Property owners can even use "reasonable force" to evict you if don't follow their (lawful) instructions. They can never threaten violence though (assault), or push you around and seize your camera or film (battery). This relates to Rent-a-cops, supermarket clerks, shopping centre managers and customers...
Consent for photographs always required?
Not in Australia. Aside from Trade Practices or Summary Offences issues (see immediately below), consent is not required, and instead is a purely moral and aesthetic issue. As pointed out in the Aug 2005 Federal Attorney General's Discussion Paper "Unauthorised Photographs on the Internet And Ancillary Privacy Issues", as quoted on the (anlysphere.com) website:
… for any society to function in a relatively free and open manner there could not realistically be a requirement for all photographs to be taken with consent. If there were such restrictions, candid shots could never be taken, and the media would be severely constrained in the images they show us. Freedom of expression and artistic expression would undoubtedly be adversely affected ... while there may be legitimate circumstances when recording images should be restricted, it would not be practical or desirable to obtain consent from every person all of the time, for example, for use in television news file footage.
article by Andrew Nemeth BSc (Hons) LLB
[ www.overclockers.com.au/wiki/Your_right_to_take_photographs ]