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  • Writer's pictureKubra Yazici

You can't sit with us! - unique Australian Laws

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Colloquially, Australia may have adopted the name of ‘the land down under’, due to its geographical location, isolation and uniqueness, but has the thought crossed a mind that a unique country alone will have unique system of law? In Australia this is a fact and there are plenty of unique laws, which you’ve probably never heard of exists and almost laughable. Here are only a few of them:

1. Can I buy coffee with coins?

How much does coffee cost these days? Average price ranging between $3.50-$5.50? As law students, clinging onto the challenges of law school (oh yes challenging! but a very rewarding experience indeed), we require our daily sustenance of coffee. Although, most of the time coffee is paid with loose coins and regarded as an acceptable method of payment however, to pay in coins exceeding $5-$10 with 50 cent coins could actually result in you being refused service. Section 16 of the Currency Act 1965 (Cth), states that coins are not legal tenders if coins of 5, 10, 20 or 50 cents are presented to a cashier that exceed $5 or more. As a consequence, it is not an acceptable method of payment and it is completely legal. Hate to break it you guys – but looks like we are going to have to stick with paying for coffee with gold coins or notes.

2. Considering chores at a late night?

It’s a late night and throughout the day you have been busy catching up with lectures, reading, planning assignments or just Net-flix-ing and suddenly, you realise that you have fallen behind with chores. You have a skim and see that your room is in a dire need of a vacuum. Yet, before you do plug the cable into the wall socket you might want to utilise your legal skills and bring up Environment Protection Act 1970 (Vic) and Environment Protection (Residential Noise) Regulations 2008 (Vic) and interpret s 48A and reg 6. In the State of Victoria, vacuuming at a late night emits ‘unreasonable noise’ and vacuuming between 10pm to 7am on weekdays and 10pm to 9am on weekends and public holidays are strictly prohibited and you could possibly be fined. If such ‘unreasonable noise’ were to spread over to your neighbours, this would not make them the happiest of people and chores are probably best left to a midday.

3. Rain, rain come again!

I am sure we have all heard countless times the phrases of ‘drought’ or ‘Australia is the driest continent’ in fact, it is the second-driest globally. Due to beautiful Australia’s sub-tropical belt, rain is prevented from entering into the atmosphere and rather the air lifts the rain out of the atmosphere. But, did you know that to create your own artificial rain is considered an offence? The State of Victoria has enacted the legislation of Rain-making Control Act 1967 (Vic) to prevent such activity and if a person is caught, a penalty of $1,000 or an imprisonment of 12 months. Be careful guys – please utilise water wisely.

4. We love our veggies, don’t we?... maybe, sometimes and quite a lot

Alright, here it is. Potatoes remain to be one of Australia’s most consumed vegetable and why? Because we love our chips! An article published in 2014 in the Australian Geographic by Michael Symons, the estimate yearly consumption of potatoes in an average Australian is 64kg and obviously in the form of chips. Yet, the Western Australian government, deems it illegal for us to buy, sell or possess potatoes exceeding 50kg under section 22 of the Marking for Potatoes Act 1946 (WA) and if one were committed in breaking this law, a fine of $2,000-5,000 could be issued. Of course, placing a penalty on a ‘vegetable’ struck me at first blush, but the real question I asked here is, is this Parliament’s ‘actual’ intent to have us cut down on chips? … a little food for thought to process.

5. On the hunt for some food?

It’s the year 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic is here. Whilst 2020 may have most of us (unless you are an essential worker) in isolation, have you seen unusual reflexes flourish? Such as taking more frequent trips into the kitchen fridge than you normally did? If so, have you considered how many kg’s your fridge can hold? Personally, I have not considered but the State of South Australia has considered such lengths and finds it to be an offence if you try to manufacture, buy, sell or hire a fridge more than a capacity of 42.5 kg’s according to section 58B of the Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA). This approach would have been realistic back in the 1950’s to prevent people from being trapped inside a fridge that is more than 42.5 kg’s, but nowadays is 42.5 kg’s too high of a limit? Clearly, we want to store more food!

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