Audio Recording a General Meeting | Strata Committees | Flat Chat Forum: Your Questions Answered




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Audio Recording a General Meeting
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kezza111
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11/11/2017 - 9:44 am
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A motion was put on the agenda for an owner requesting permission to audio record the meeting.

Majority ruled in favour of this motion.

Two owners objected to the audio recording and did not give their permission to audio record themselves speaking at the meeting.

Heated discussion followed.

In the end the majority said to go ahead.

I confirmed that its against the law to audio record when consent was NOT given by ALL speakers present in the room.

Who is correct?

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Lady Penelope
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11/11/2017 - 2:01 pm
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kezza111 - From the legal opinion below it appears that 'majority rules' when it comes to audio recording of Strata meetings. To prevent someone from 'unknowingly' being recorded then the ideal scenario appears to be the creation of a by-law.

https://www.lookupstrata.com.au/nsw-recording-strata-meetings/

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BONNIE L
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11/11/2017 - 5:32 pm
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In my experience, definitely against the rules (don't have actual reference, and am sure there will be one somewhere) to record or photograph anyone without their permission.  Invasion of privacy suggests one reason. 

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Boronia
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11/11/2017 - 8:04 pm
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If you walk down just about any street these days, you will be subject to multiple filmings/recordings on CCTV. You weren't asked to give permission. Same when you go into a building, shop, bus, railway station, etc. Anyone can take a picture in a public place, and you could just happen to be in it. Privacy laws generally only cover how the pictures are subsequently used.

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scotlandx
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12/11/2017 - 7:20 am
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Lady Penelope and the OP are right - a strata meeting is a private meeting, and you can’t record the meeting without the consent of all the participants, refer Surveillance Devices Act 2007.

You could implement rules that govern the recording of meetings, but personally I think it’s overkill, I can’t see why it’s necessary to audio record a meeting, and it can be counter-productive.

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Ziggy
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13/11/2017 - 5:39 pm
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Scottie, I can! When nobody bothers to take minutes.

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JimmyT
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13/11/2017 - 8:08 pm
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BONNIE L said
In my experience, definitely against the rules (don't have actual reference, and am sure there will be one somewhere) to record or photograph anyone without their permission.  Invasion of privacy suggests one reason.   

There is no general right to privacy under Australian law however, there are specific areas such as usage or the activity being recorded (something that you might reasonably expect to be private - like taking a bath or doing the Macarena in the nude in your bedroom).

The law on recording conversations goes back to the early days of the first mechanical recordings of sound.  It has not been properly updated to include video or indeed, the Internet.

Also, I believe that if you tell someone you are recording a conversation, you have their tacit approval if they keep talking without saying they don't want to be recorded. The implications for a general meeting are potentially troublesome.

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BONNIE L
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13/11/2017 - 8:55 pm
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That's interesting thank you, and wondering if have read the thread 'right.'  That is, if there is just one person as the target, would it be a case of civil rights, or straight out harrassment?

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kezza111
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15/11/2017 - 8:06 am
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Interesting responses!

DoFT confirms that general and strata committee meetings are considered "private meetings" as members of the public cannot attend these meetings.

Any discussions which takes place at a general or strata committee meeting are considered "private conversations".

If all of the participants to the private conversation consent, expressly or impliedly, to the listening device being used to record the conversation, the conversation may be recorded.

If a person uses a listening device to record the discussion during a strata meeting without the consent of all the participants in that discussion, the person will normally be breaking the law.

A strata meeting has the inherent power to regulate its own affairs subject to the applicable legislation and rules. This includes power to regulate the manner in which meetings are conducted such as whether or not the proceedings of a meeting can be recorded.

If there is disagreement among those present at a strata meeting as to whether or not the meeting should be recorded, that disagreement can be resolved by a vote of those entitled to vote at the meeting or the chairperson may make a ruling.

The rules regarding the right of a person to record a strata meeting are not well understood and can cause controversy.

The right of a person to record a strata meeting is not unfettered.

If a person insists on recording a meeting after being told that he or she is not permitted to do so, the chairperson may ask that person to leave the meeting or alternatively adjourn the meeting.

Any audio recording of a meeting brings into question whether or not the meeting will be heard by other non-strata members at a later date and whether the owner's privacy will be respected.

Breach of the Privacy Laws is a criminal offence.

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Lady Penelope
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15/11/2017 - 11:11 am
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The 4 fundamental questions are: (1) what is the purpose of the audio recording of the Meeting; and (2) who is doing the recording; and (3) is there knowledge that the Meeting is being recorded; and (4) has there been OC consent to the audio recording of the Meeting.

I would think that if the OC agrees to the recording of the Meeting by a designated person for the purposes of accurate Minute taking and that the recording is destroyed after the Minutes have been recorded in writing then that should be OK. This decision should be placed in a By-law for all Owners and all potential Owners to be aware of.

It is reasonable to place a ban in the By-law on any other unauthorized audio recording of Meetings.

Everyone who attends the Meeting would have knowledge that the Meeting was being recorded.

A person buys into the Strata Scheme with an understanding that there are By-laws for the scheme. The purchase of a Lot within that scheme is an implied consent to the By-laws of that scheme. 

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