It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Jun 7, 2013

15 Strange and Funny Australian Laws

1.       Life Imprisonment

While most of the related sites claim that the life sentences in Australia are only 25 years, this statement is just partially true. For example, in spite of the fact that in New South Wales the average prison term for murder is 25 years, despite the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) stating the sentence to be for the remainder of the offender's 'natural life', there were four people who received natural life sentences for murder in 2009. And the longest non-parole period imposed is 37 years, has been applied to Adam Mikhail and his father Frank for shooting dead convicted drug dealer Frank La Rosa and his wife Kim in an ambush at their Chittering property in June 2008.

2.       Minors Rights

Children may not purchase cigarettes, but they may smoke them. There is indeed no set age smoking. However, it is totally illegal in every way to supply an underage person with smokes so the only way they can legal be smoking cigarettes is if they found some.

3.       Legal Sex Age

The legal age for straight sex is 16 in all states of Australia except for South Australia and Tasmania, where the legal age is 17. However, if the person is in the legal care of the older person, the legal sex age is 18.

4.       Cross-dressing Law

In Australia, men are free to cross-dress as long as their dresses are not strapless. The reason behind this funny law is possibly a measure to prevent a cross dressing male's wardrobe from "malfunctioning."

5.       Unattended Vehicle

Based on the Australian Road Safety Regulation 1999, it is illegal to leave keys in unattended vehicle. It claimed that many cars are stolen from petrol stations, corner stores and driveways where the owner has left the car, with key in the ignition, sometimes for even less than a minute, so this law is for the owners’ good anyway.

6.       Dangerous House

There is quite unusual regulation, stating that just being near or in a house that is regularly used by thieves, can get you arrested (Vagrancy Act 1966). However, any police officer or authorized person, who is found on the property, will not be liable for an offence, even when there is a strong suspicion that the person is actually associated with the thieves.

7.       Dangerous Clothes

It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burglar. Also, having an article of disguise without a lawful excuse is illegal (Vagrancy Act 1966). If you are a smart you can claim that a lawful excuse means any excuse that isn’t unlawful so wearing disguise is illegal only if you intend to use it to commit a crime. At least you can try to protest this way. And as the separate restriction, you may not wear a ski mask or costume that hides your identity when walking the streets at night or near a market.

And in Victoria, it is illegal to wear hot pink pants after midday Sunday. So, be aware on that as well.

8.       Reward for Lost Item

If you are to advertise a reward for the finding of a certain lost object, you have legal obligations not to state that no questions will be asked (Crimes Act 1958). This refers to section 89 (Victorian legislation):
“Where any public advertisement of a reward for the return of any goods which have been stolen or lost uses any words to the effect that no questions will be asked, or that the person producing the goods will be safe from apprehension or inquiry, or that any money paid for the purchase of the goods or advanced by way of loan on them will be repaid, the person advertising the reward and any person who prints or publishes the advertisement shall on summary conviction be liable to a level 11 fine (5 penalty units maximum)”.

9.       Singing a Song

If you can be heard by someone while singing an obscene song, you’ll be in trouble (Summary Offences Act 1966).

10.   Witchcraft

It is illegal to read someone's tarot, or give them a psychic reading as these are forms of witchcraft. The law has been recently eliminated (2005), making witchcraft and fortune telling legal in Australia.

11.   Walk Left

In Australia, It is against the law to walk on the right hand side of a footpath. Walking on the left of the footpath puts you further away from the traffic when walking in the same direction as traffic flow, as they still drive on the left in Australia. When you are walking towards traffic you are closer to the road (still on the left of the path but in the opposite direction), so can see oncoming traffic to avoid accidents.

12.   Taking Care of Horses

It is not far back, the horses were indeed a very important transportation means in Australia. Therefore, there are several funny laws, assuring good care for them. For example, taxi cabs are still required to carry a bale of hay in the trunk. And bars’ owners are obliged to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons.

13.   Other Animals

That is a good one. In Australia, it’s illegal to give a name to any animal you plan to eat.                                                      

14.   Changing Light Bulb

Studying for professional electrician means probably the highest job security in Australia, since only licensed electricians is legally permitted to replace a light bulb. Note that fine for abusing this law is 10 pounds. Why pound? This law is dated from pre-dollar Australia. Like UK, the pound is divided into 20 shillings and then a shilling is further divided into 12 pence. So, the government of Australia decided to decimalize the currency in 1966 by set £1 to $2. That’s because of more of Australia’s trade going to other nations which use decimal currency instead of Great Britain that once ruled Australia.

15.   Melbourne Laws

Speaking about Melbourne, there are some local laws, which should be included in the list:
- It’s considered an offence to drive a dog or goat harnessed or attached to a vehicle in a public place (Summary Offences Act 1966).
-You may not trade with Pirates (Crimes Act 1958).
-You may not fly kites or play games in public that annoy other people (Summary Offences Act 1966).

Sources and Additional Information:

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