1. Email Marketing

Email marketing regulations for Australia [2023]

It’s crucial for email marketers to understand and comply with the latest email marketing regulations to protect the privacy and data of individuals.

Australia’s Spam Act of 2003 provides guidance for email marketing teams regarding unsolicited commercial emails, with the legislation covering all messages originating from Australia and any emails targeting an Australian address. 

Here, we’ll take a look at what the guidance in Australia entails and how businesses can protect themselves and their subscribers from a data breach. 

Australia’s Spam Act and its role in email marketing

In Australia, it’s illegal to send unsolicited emails. The law states that businesses need to gain the permission of their customers before they can send them marketing content. The Spam Act 2003 is the primary legislation that outlines the boundaries businesses need to adhere to when carrying out online marketing practices and sending out email campaigns. 

The key elements of this act are that all marketers need to identify their business and their contact details. Every recipient also needs to have given clear consent to receiving marketing emails.

The emails need to provide a functional unsubscribe feature and this needs to work for up to 30 days after the original message was sent out. Any unsubscribe requests need to be actioned within five working days. 


Permission for receiving emails can be given expressly or be inferred. Express permission is given when a customer specifically tells you they want to receive marketing emails, while inferred is when a customer has a continual relationship with your business such as being a subscriber to your services, and receiving marketing content can be part of that. 


In Australia, businesses can’t use harvested or scraped lists. But, certain organisations are exempt from this legislation such as registered charities, educational institutions (provided they’re sending to current or former students), government bodies and registered political parties. 


The ACMA states that “the penalty units referred to in the Spam Act are currently equal to $180 each. For example, the penalty under section 25(5)(b) of the Spam Act for a company with a previous record of spamming and who sent two or more spam messages on a given day (without consent), is a maximum fine of 10,000 penalty units. This equates to a maximum penalty of $1,800,000 per day.”

In conclusion

In Australia, the Spam Act of 2003 plays a vital role in guiding email marketing practices and ensuring that businesses operate within legal boundaries. The Spam Act establishes clear guidelines for email marketers in Australia, emphasising the need for businesses to obtain explicit consent from their customers before sending marketing emails. Marketers must provide accurate identification and contact details in their emails, along with a functional unsubscribe feature that remains active for at least 30 days. Timely action on unsubscribe requests, within five working days, is also essential to remain compliant.

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