Report No. 93
5.4. Position in Australia as to clergyman and physician.-
The above is the position in Australia as to journalists in the absence of a statutory modification. Two Australian States (Victoria and Tasmania) have thought fit to enact legislation creating two additional privileges, besides those generally recognised in common law jurisdictions. In these states, a clergyman cannot divulge, without the consent of the patient, the contents of any confession made to him in his professional capacity.1 Also, a physician or surgeon cannot, in these States, divulge in civil proceedings (unless the sanity or testamentary capacity of the patient is in dispute), any information which he acquired in attending the patient and which was necessary to enable him to prescribe or act for him.2-3
1. Evidence Act, 1958, section 28(1) (Viet.); Evidence Act, 1910, section 96(1) (Tas.). The Tasmanian provision does not apply to a communication made for a criminal purpose.
2. Evidence Act, 1958, sections 28(2) and (3) (Viet.); Evidence Act, 1910, sections 96(2) and (3) (Tas.). The Tasmanian provision does not apply to a communication made for a criminal purpose.
3. For the English practice, see para. 4.20, supra.