After being absent from the top 12 spammers list for a period last year, Australia ranked number 11 for the first three months of 2005. According to Sophos, 1.22 percent of spam originated here, well behind number one the US with 35.7 percent, number two South Korea with 24.98 percent and China with 9.71 percent.
Paul Ducklin, head of technology for Sophos Asia Pacific, said the Spam Act 2003 would not work on its own.
"Australia dropped out of the dirty dozen last year, but has snuck back in over the past six months. This doesn't mean that the Australian Spam Act was pointless. It just serves as a reminder that legislation is there to help with, rather than to sort out, the problem of unwanted e-mail," said Ducklin.
He explained the majority of spam was sent from 'zombie' computers compromised by a virus or Trojan. Compared to countries such as the US and China, far fewer Australian computers are infected.
"By some measurements, the fact that Australia -- a developed country with very strong Internet usage -- provides only 1.22 percent of the world's zombie computers can be seen as a good sign," said Ducklin.
Deborah Platt Majoras, head of the US Federal Trade Commission, made a similar point in Brussels on Thursday.
"I can't say that I think that we're going to whip this spam problem just through enforcement," said Majoras. "We can do a lot of good but we're still going to have to educate consumers and push the private sector to develop technology to deal with the problem."