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SMS and the Law in Australia

Your business has many great reasons to embrace SMS marketing in Australia, for everything from sending bulk SMS to sending SMS alerts, and you can even send SMS from Outlook. But it’s imperative that you understand how Australian Law applies to SMS.

If you in any way violate Australian spam laws, you and your business can attract fines worth many thousands, and even millions, of dollars.

As a business owner or marketer, you need to understand the line between appropriate and effective SMS marketing messages and spam.

What is SMS Spam?


The term “spam” simply refers to unsolicited or unwanted messages, including marketing or promotional messages. It is akin to Junk Mail. It is usually received by consumers from a company and relates to a product or service that the recipient has no prior experience with or proven interest in.

If you want to know how to stop SMS spam check out our blog post:

Australian Spam Legislation

Current Australian SMS legislation relating to spam is presented in the Spam Act 2003, which is enforced legally by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Every business must individually ensure that its activities comply with the Act.

The Spam Act 2003 covers all forms of digital or electronic mail, from SMS to Email, Instant Messaging, and MMS.

Breaches of the Act will attract enforcement by the ACMA. This is determined by each case and circumstance. Formal warnings will usually be issued as a first-line response to a breach, allowing the individual or business to complete compliance action to prevent future infringements.

According to the Spam Act 2003, marketing and commercial SMS must incorporate:

  • Opt-In Consent – no marketing SMS may be sent to a consumer without express consent given by that consumer. For this reason, your business should never purchase contact lists from a third party. Express consent is given when a consumer actively signs up to receive SMS marketing messages.

Consent may legally be inferred. This is established by:

Subscription to an associated newsletter or other publication. | Contact after a purchase that requires ongoing support or warranty. | Registered as a user of an online service. | Member of Loyalty Clubs. | Member of Frequent Flyers Clubs.

  • Opt-Out Option – clear, concise and simple options to unsubscribe from marketing messages must be clearly displayed and this feature must be functional.
  • Identifier – all marketing messages must clearly and accurately state information relating directly to the authorised person or organisation who is sending the message. Ideally, you will incorporate a Sender ID into your message and it will include the company or business name.

There are some exemptions from the Spam Act 2003, and these include for government bodies, charities, educational institutions, religious organisations, and the like which send informational messages that are not related to direct marketing.

ClickSend is very committed to compliance with all legislation and we offer a service that is unparalleled in its integrity. For more information on everything from bulk SMS to SMS alerts and how to send SMS from Outlook, contact us today.