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Amazing Australian Laws
The Australian court system recognizes in certain cases
the ancient Aboriginal tribal laws where offenders are punished for their
actions by members of the victim's family.
Hoon is the Aussie word to describe someone with anti social driving behaviour, typically under 25 years old driving too fast, making too much noise and doing dangerous and unlawful stunts. To combat this problem anti-hooning laws have been introduced giving police extra powers to confiscate cars of hoons, as this is what hurts them most, more than a simple fine to pay.
Beer can crushing
In Western Australia it is illegal to crush beercans between
your breasts in the pub!
In Australia it is illegal to ride a bicycle without
a helmet! In the late 1980s a Canberra politician was doing a
few calculations and worked out that a certain percentage of people in
hospitals were there for bicycle accidents so if they were made to wear
helmets there would be a few percent less injuries so the country could
save a few dollars.
Bullet proof vests
In Australia it is illegal to own a bullet proof
vest unless you have special police approval.
Cats and dogs eating ban
In october 2003 the Victorian parliament introduced legislation
banning the eating of cats and dogs.
Queensland Fancy Cheese Products - a succesful 37 year old family business that has become an institution in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm was instructed to close down by the court in january 2004. Not because there were any health or safety concerns, and the judge even admitted that they were manufacturing a high-quality product, but simply because they were not accredited cheese makers! Never mind they had built a reputation over 37 years with high quality cheese!
In Australia it is compulsory to vote,
even if you can not find any political candidate that you could possibly
have any confidence in you still have to go to the polling station and
cast your vote. As by this stage your name has been recorded as having
shown up it now does not matter anymore what you actually write on the
ballot paper as it can not be traced back to you so identities like Donald
Duck tend to get quite a few votes even though they are not actually running
in the elections.
In the Northern Territory your home
can be declared a "drughouse" by police when they suspect
that "more probable than not there are drugs being used or
sold in your house".
Your house may be searched by a member of the police force at any time without a warrant, anyone on the premises may be searched, every person who is found on the premises at the time a dangerous drug is found on the premises can be charged with possession of the drug, and anyone who is on the premises or within 200 metres of the premises can be required to provide a member of the police force with their name and address. Those arrested for possession may even be ordered by the court to undergo mandatory drug addiction recovery treatment.
The first drughouse to be adorned with this poster
in Darwin was that of
grandmother Margot Laughton who was arrested on Thursday, 26 February
2004 by plain clothes Drug Squad police officers at her home in
Coconut Grove in Darwin. They charged her with 3 offences and she
was locked up in Berrimah Prison. A Northern Territory News journalist
that had befriended her before the shit hit the fan labelled her
'The Gunja Granny' in the local newspaper.
In Australia you can end up in court for keeping an animal
that is suffering pain and is beyond medical recovery but you can also
go to jail for helping to end the life of a human being that is suffering
the same pain. The Northern Territory introduced their famous euthanasia
legislation in the 1990s to allow terminally ill people to end their suffering
but the Federal Government in Canberra used their powers to overturn any
decision made by the Northern Territory (as it is not a state and only
has limited self-government ) and the laws were swiftly repealed.
One person involved in this situation was Philip Nietschke, an Australian doctor who became famous for his views that people who are beyond saving by medical science and who are suffering pain should be allowed to die, he pushed his views thorugh to the point where he assisted some people to end their lives and even invented a machine that produced carbon- monoxide that people could use to end ther lives but customs officers confiscated this machine when he was on his way to a conference in the U.S. He also wrote a book titled ' The Peaceful Pill Handbook ' but had his first print run confiscated at customs arriving back from the U.S. , later the Office of Film and Literature Classification cleared the book and he was allowed to print and distribute the book in Australia.
On the Daintree river ferry in north Queensland the local
council regulations say that trucks carrying fuel have to travel on the
ferry alone, with no other vehicles or passengers, even if it is peak
time and queues are built up on both sides of the river.
This while the fuel truck sits in the normal queue before it reaches the ferry with people walking around the truck smoking cigarettes, but then on the ferry where smoking is not allowed the fuel truck has to travel alone!
What sounds safer to you? Walking around a fuel truck on the road with a cigarette in your hand, or sitting next to a fuel truck on the ferry in your car while you are not smoking?
In Queensland you will be hit with a $150,000.- fine if you are caught releasing a goldfish, or even a tiny guppy, in a waterway. Releasing a carp or even possessing a carp, even a dead carp,or part of a carp, will cost you the same.
Since 1976 people have been arriving in Australia on (often very unsafe) boats seeking asylum, and although Australia is usually a generous nation willing to lend a hand to those in trouble, the government did become concerned that this would open the floodgates and massive waves of people could flood the country, so they started to discourage people by making it mandatory that anyone arriving by boat without a visa must be kept in detention until his or her refugee application has been processed. In line with the National Anthem that sings "for those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share" these detention centres are usually in remote places like Woomera in South Australia or Port Hedland in Western Australia. When protesters started to find their way even to those remote locations the "Pacific Solution" was introduced, where governments of Pacific islands were paid to have detention centres on their islands. A tally is also kept of the cost of detention and processing of these refugees and a bill presented to them on deportation, although it remains to be seen how many would actually pay this, one family that exhausted every legal avenue for three years managed to clock up a bill of no less than three million dollars!
If you're turning right at an intersection you would normally go to the centre of the road and, when there is no traffic coming from the opposite direction, make your turn. Not in Melbourne! At a small number of very busy intersections in the centre of Melbourne's CBD, where two tram lines cross each other, you have to pull over to your left, wait until the traffic light from the street you want to turn into changes to green, and then complete your turn!. If cars were waiting to turn right from the middle of the road, they would be blocking the tram lines, thus holding up a large amount of trams. To ensure the flow of traffic stays at a reasonable level, the hook turn was invented.
Horses could soon be wearing nappies on city streets to stop them dropping waste, if voted in by Melbourne City Council on Thursday 4 december 2003, the new rules will also ban horse-drawn carriage rides in the CBD when the temperature exceeds 34C.
To combat alcohol problems in Aboriginal communities some
areas of Australia, in liaison with Aboriginal elders and Land Councils,
have been declared "dry areas". This means no alcohol what so
ever is allowed to be consumed or brought in, even if you are an overseas
tourist. Stiff penalties apply to those who break the laws. Sly groggers,
a name for unscrupulous people who try to make their fortune selling alcohol
in dry areas at extortionate prices, often get fined, jailed and their
vehicles confiscated. Still, some residents of dry areas have been known
to drive 800kms to the nearest bottle shop or charter planes to pick up
You could also find that the only bottleshop in town ( and the next town 500 kms down the road) is closed because it is social security pay day, and authorities try to get the local population to spend some money on food for the kids before spending it at the pub. Argueing with the bottle shop staff that you are a tourist will not get you anywhere, rules are rules.
Early 2004 the 'Winegate' affair hit the news head lines,
a minister for Aboriginal affairs had flown into a strictly dry area on
Cape York with a bottle of wine aboard the plane. Indigenous Affairs Minister
Liddy Clark made a trip on a government jet to the alcohol-restricted
Aboriginal community at Lockhart River in Cape York in February 2004 but
while the plane was on the tarmac there, a bottle of red wine was discovered
on board by Lockhart River airport manager John Hardaker. Government media
adviser to Liddy Clark Teresa Mullan had brought it along and was sacked
but later reinstated by Premier Peter Beattie. After lengthy investigations
by The Crime and Misconduct Commission and countless taxpayers dollars
wasted nobody was charged as the tarmac of the airport was considered
not a public place under liquor legislation. Tourists have also been fined
thousands of dollars for having alcohol with them on their holidays, if
you head this way check on alcoholimits.qld.gov.au
or ring 1300 789 000 for up to date info on restricted areas.
And don't think it is all a joke, penaly for a first offence is a maximum of $37500.- , second offence $52500.- or six months in prison, and third offence $75000.- or 18 months in the slammer, on top of that they may also confiscate your vehicle.
At the start of the twentieth century a group of enthusiastic body surfers in Sydney managed to convince the government to overturn a law that made it illegal to bathe in the ocean during daylight as it was considered too indecent!
Make sure you're not thirsty when you go to Parliament House in Canberra, it is not allowed to drink from the pond !
If you have a ferret as a pet in Queensland make sure you have a permit as under the new Land Protection Act you will cop a whopping $60,000.- fine if caught by the authorities.
When your plane lands make sure you have no food in your
bags, do not even take anything left over from the plane food with you.
Any food, seeds, plants, wood, soil on your shoes, sneakers, etc. could
potentially carry a disease or insect that could become a plague in Australia
so either dump it or declare it as the fines can be high and harsh if
they find anything on you.
Some people that bring traditional foods with them when they visit family in Australia get very upset when it is taken off them but rules are rules and they are strictly enforced.
Dylan Graves, a Swiss student studying English in Western Australia, was fined $4,000 in a Perth court after having been caught hiding a 400 gram salami at Perth International Airport in November in November 2004.
The Sunday markets in the north Queensland resort town of
Port Douglas are a very popular venue, and one of the attractions was
the food. Until one day the local Douglas Shire Council decided, in its
infinite wisdom, to prohibit the cooking of food at the markets, and only
pre-cooked food was allowed to be sold.
Now what are you more likely to get sick from, freshly cooked food or food that was cooked yesterday?
In Victoria police can issue people they suspect of having links to organized crime with an exclusion order which prohibits them from entering casinos, horse racing tracks and betting rings. Breaching of this order will cost you $2000. In NSW the penalty is a bit tougher at $5000.- or twelve months jail.
In June 2005 it was in the national news that Aussie airports were now declared "no-joking zones", several people had been fined heavily for joking about bombs or other terrorism related things, and the public was warned not to make any more jokes in airports and on planes.
This came too late for Cairns student Patrick Carroll, who was in Darwin airport when he got a bit thirsty, so he left his luggage on a trolley to go and buy a beer. When he returned from the bar a security man was inspecting his luggage and Patrick called out to him; "Don't worry, I left the bomb in Iraq, mate!" He ended up in court, managed to be released on bail and had to come back in December 2005 to hear the end of it.
Another Cairns man (what is it with these jokers from Cairns?)
had landed at Cairns airport but became frustrated with the time the disembarking
took so he thought people would move a bit faster if he told them that
there was a bomb on the plane.
It is not clear if it made the passengers move quicker but it certainly made the police move, they arrested him and although his lawyer tried to convince the judge that it was all meant as a joke, the judge did not see the funny side of it and fined him $4000
In 2012 the Queensland LNP Government re-instated the law that makes it illegal for a politician to lie, the law had been abolished by the Labor Government in 2006.
Under the Federal Marriage Act 1961, it is illegal for brothers and sisters to marry but West Australian couple Kevin and Deborah Jefferies who are brother and sister by adoption, but unrelated by blood, are battling the federal law that prevents their marrying.
Up until 1966 the Commonwealth Public Service had a ban on married women. Women that performed their jobs perfectly well were forced to leave their jobs if they married!
On 20 August 2005 it was decided by the Australian government
that the security guards in Parliament House in Canberra
were to be banned from addressing politicians and members of the public
with the term "mate'.
This ban lasted only 24 hours, after which it was decided it was ridiculous and unworkable and the ban was lifted.
John Howard said he had no problems with use of the word mate in Parliament and Kim Beazley said he insisted on being called mate.
Not much later it was decided in the Northern Territory Parliament that politicians were not allowed to call eachother 'buggerlugs', but the term 'dickhead' was still allowed.
November 2003: the NSW Gaming and Racing Commission Minister
has raised concerns about women buying drinks at the bar for patrons at
sporting events and the State Government is considering to outlaw this.
Does the government not have something more important to do with their
January 2004: four beer wenches have been ejected from the Sydney Cricket Ground for selling alcohol during the fourth Test between Australia and India.
In the Northern Territory the Transport Act says that it is illegal to play a musical instrument on a bus!
Under the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act of 1931,
public nudity is an offence in Queensland and a person charged with wilful
exposure faces a penalty of $100 or six months imprisonment. But while
governments around the world are relaxing laws in this area and other
states in Australia have had clothing-optional beaches for up to 30 years,
the Queensland government has plans to pass the Summary Offences Bill,
which will increase penalties for wilful exposure to $150, or if the offence
involved circumstances of aggravation, a maximum penalty of $3000 or one
year's imprisonment! Nudist activists say that Queensland is missing out
on millions of nude international tourism dollars every year.
South Australia already opened Australia's first official nude beach in 1975 and Don Dunstan, South Australia's premier at the time, said that "unless people were hurting others in the community, they should be able to be individuals and do their own thing". Since then nude sunbathing has become legal in all of Australia except for Queensland.
Laws in all Australian states prevent the legal sale of X-rated films, but it is allowed in Canberra and the Northern Territory. That's why Brisbane porn star Jodie Moore sells her movies online.
When the internet was just becoming popular and the first
pornsites starting to happen the Australian government, despite having
relaxed laws allowing the porn industry to thrive in Canberra, decided
they were going to keep this evil out of Australia and prohibited pornsites
from operating in Australia.
This was a futile attempt as now the pornsites that were already operating moved to the U.S. so Australia missed out on the income of these thriving businesses and Australians can still view these sites just as good as the internet is international and it does not matter where they are based.
Around 2002 they finally relaxed the rules on .com.au domain name registration causing a frantic rush to register names that had been taken up ages ago as a .com .
Within minutes of the new rules taking effect names like f%*#.com.au , sex.com.au etc. were registered, soon to be followed by sex.com.au , tits.com.au and the whole range that Australia could have had contributing to its economy for years before that.
In 2003 a couple in Wagga Wagga, N.S.W. decided to paint
their house at 56 Best Street purple. The local council pointed out to
them that it is illegal to paint your house purple in
Wagga Wagga and has set aside $25000.- to take legal action through the
Land and Environment Court. Does the Wagga Wagga council not know that
in Normanton there is a purple pub that is one of the main tourist attractions
of the town?
Luckily in 2004 the council and mayor were replaced by some new ones who so far have not dared to involve themselves in this situation. Local musos have made support songs that were played on local radio, and hundreds of people have signed petitions and letters of support so it looks like this purple house will be there for a few years to come.
Believe it or not, but when residents put out their rubbish
on the footpath because they want to get rid of it, it is illegal in many
towns to take anything of it for your own use!
In a time where recycling is promoted everywhere as a good way to help the planet's problems you can not pick up something that is useful to you from the footpath, even though this is destined to go in to landfill.
Many Aussies don't even know about this but when news hit the headlines that former motorbike champion Trevor Flood was charged with taking a vacuum cleaner from a footpath rubbish pile people learned about this and many queried the logic of such a law...
Heading down to the park in the Sydney suburb of Willoughby?
90 year old Alan Waddell, who has walked more than 2000 kms through every street of 143 Sydney suburbs, found these beauties, we borrowed these pictures from his website Walksydneystreets.net
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced new powers for
the state's police to issue on-the-spot fines of between $100 and $300
for swearing and abusive language.
In the year before there had been court cases in which a Sydney student was let off for using the word 'prick' to a police officer and a Queenslander who went to court for telling police to F*#! off was also let off and the police union told to pay his legal costs.
Victoria followed suit and from 1 July 2011 police can fine people $240.- for using language deemed to be indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening.
Poor Melburnians, can't even complain about their F%#!ing weather anymore!
Since December 14 it has been against the law in the outer Melbourne suburb of Brimbank to vacuum clean your house between 10pm and 7am on weekdays and 10pm and 9am on weekends, noisy cleaners will cop a $205 on-the-spot fine, which can rise to a $1000 court fine if it is not paid, and subsequent violations attract fines of up to $2000!
If you like nocturnal water skiing forget about a holiday to the Atherton Tablelands, (west of Cairns in north Queensland), here it is against the law to waterski during the night!
If you visit one of Australia's many National Parks, bear in mind you are not allowed to remove anything. this does not only mean you are not allowed to dig up trees but you can not even pick up a seed, pebble or stick to take home as a souvenir.
This act was passed by government in 1901 to put an end to Australia's version of the slave trade that is so well known of America in its early days.When white settlers first started turning the landscape into sugar cane plantations they found it hard going in the tropical heat and honestly believed that white people could not work in such circumstances. While the Dutch were succesful getting Indonesians to work hard on spice plantations Australian settlers were not so succesful getting Aborigines to do the same (though they proved their skills as horsemen and workers on cattle stations). A solution was found in sailing out to Pacific islands and kidnapping people to bring back to the cane fields, starting around 1860 at least 800 ships had "kidnapped" at least 60,000 islanders and sold to Queensland sugar growers. Though officially they were not slaves the pay was that ridiculous that they could not afford to return home and thus had little choice other than to stay and work to survive. The government passed the Pacific Island Labourerer Act in 1901 to abolish this practice and by 1906 ordered their repatriation, though not all of them returned and even nowadays you can see dark skinned people in sugar cane areas that are not Aborigines but descendants of Pacific Islanders that decided to stay.
In Queensland you can be fined $30 000.- for keeping a feral pig as a pet.
Up to February 1, 1955, the law stated that bars in Australia had to be closed at six pm! Much to the delight of drinkers this law was narrowly overturned in the Referendum of 1954 so pubs could now keep their doors open till 10.00 p.m.. Before then amused tourists used to watch Aussies knocking back beer like there was no tomorrow in a guzzling frenzy with drinkers being too scared to move from the bar for fear of losing their place and not being able to get their daily quota down before the bar closed! This frenzy was known as 'the six o'clock swill' .
Up to the early 1990s it was in many Australian states against the law to eat kangaroos, now roo burgers and steaks are found in many places where tourists go.
It is illegal in Australia to`pay sperm donors and it is also illegal to import frozen sperm and there is a limit here of 10 families who can use sperm from one donor. Also the NSW Government is expected to pass a law allowing people to learn who their biological parents were to end so-called "genetic bewilderment. This led to such a shortage of donors that the Reproductive Medicine Centre in Albury advertised in Canada in the sports section of Alberta's Calgary University student newspaper offering sperm donors a $7000 package of free return trip, accommodation for a fortnight and a daily spending allowance. An avalanche of emails followed from Canada, Russia and other countries.
When you work in Australia you will find you have to pay
something called super, or superanuation.
This is the Australian terminology for pension fund. It is not a voluntary saving, you must pay.
Click to find out what is superannuation?
In Tasmania it was, up to 1997, illegal for two men to have
sex together, even if they are consenting adults and are in the privacy
of their own home where nobody can see them or be aware of it. The offence
carried a 21-year jail term. At least Sydney can be assured it will be
a long time until a Hobart Gay Mardi Gras will overshadow their annual
The politician that was the driving force in removing this law was Bob Brown, a Tasmanian himself, and gay as well, so at least he won't have to go to jail if he would ever get caught in bed with his partner.
He had already spent time in jail, not for corruption as you would expect from a politician, but for protecting the environment. As the director of the Australian Wilderness Society he was one of the leading forces to block the damming of the Franklin River in Tasmania in 1982 and 1983. 1500 people were arrested and 600 jailed, Bob was one of them and spent 16 days in Risdon Prison, and he was elected to Tasmanian Parliament on the day of his release!
The Tasmanian government decided early 2004 to legalize brothels, before that Tasmanian law had never actually outlawed prostitution, but it had been illegal for brothel operators or pimps to live off the earnings of prostitution. So if you left it all in a saving as account or donated it to a political party you were within the law.
Australia has laws that protect its native wildlife, and
especially the endangered species.
But there are exceptions for Aborigines, and the law says that Aborigines can hunt and kill such animals as sea turtles and the endangered dugong.
The philosophy behind this is that the eating of these animals has been part of their culture for thousands of years.
Many debates have raged over the traditional hunting issue, some people say let them do what they have done for thousands of years, some say put a stop to it if these animals are endangered, and others in between those say OK but hunt these animals in the traditional way then, NOT with motorboats, guns, spearguns and other modern technology.
The White Australia Policy, the policy of excluding all
non-European people from the Australian continent, was the official policy
of all governments in Australia from the 1890s to the 1950s, and the final
elements of it were only abolished by the Fraser government's review of
immigration law in 1978.
Although the expression “White Australia Policy” was never in official use, it was common in political and public debate throughout the period.
The origin of the policy can be traced back to the 1850s when large numbers of Chinese came to Australia during the gold rushes. The Anglo-Australian population resented the Chinese undercutting "white" labour and by 1888 new Chinese arrivals were banned from all the Australian colonies. a "dictation test" was introduced as a device for excluding unwanted immigrants.
Immigration officials were given the power to exclude any person who failed to pass a 50-word dictation test in any European language.
At the start of the 20th century women were not paid very
well but this changed in 1919 when women were awarded 54% of the national
basic minimum wage for men, (assuming working women are single and do
not need to pay for a wole family like men do).
In 1950 women got an even better deal when their minimum wage went op to 75% of men's wages. And in 1972 it got even more better when female public servants were awarded the same pay as men!
Do you know of (or made, if you're a politician) any amazing Australian laws? Then contact us!