South Australian opposition MP Isobel Redmond has introduced a bill that would ban drones from being flown any closer than 30 metres above private property.
Redmond put forward an amendment to the state’s Summary Offences Act that would outlaw the invasive use of unmanned aircraft.
It would also impose maximum penalties of 6 months in prison or a $2500 fine for those caught intentionally breaching the privacy and peace of those around them by using one of the devices.
"The horse has bolted in respect of drones and other technologies," she told parliament last week.
“It just seems to me that we have failed thus far to give people what they reasonably expect, and that is a right to protect their privacy and to protect them from unreasonable nuisance when it comes to drones."
The proposed laws would protect anyone who is flying the drone over their own home, or anyone who can prove that the breach was inadvertent.
Redmond said she was concerned “technology is moving faster than we as legislators can possibly keep up”.
She pointed to the adoption of drones by real estate agents to take aerial snaps of properties they are putting on the market, and in particular one Melbourne case where a drone accidentally caught a neighbour sunbathing topless in her own backyard.
“All I am seeking to do in this bill is to ensure that, within those strict confines, people have an expectation and a right to have their own privacy and to not be subjected to the nuisance of this technology,” she said.
The state government has not indicated whether it will support the bill. It has yet to be debated in the tightly matched SA parliament.
Last year a federal lower house committee investigating drone regulation recommended new rules be put in place to protect Australians against the malicious use of drones, tying its proposal to long-running calls for a tort to be introduced against serious invasions of privacy.
The NSW parliament’s law and justice committee is currently weighing up the same issues.