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An Overview of the Law in Australia

Australian Statute Law is based on the British Common Law, meaning the Australian legal system is very similar to the UK’s.

map of Australia

Australia operates a federal system with 9 jurisdictions. Each State and 2 territories have a separate parliament. There are 565 local government bodies in Australia, which consist of a diverse range of metropolitan, regional, rural and Indigenous communities.

When it comes to the law in Australia, most of the rules and regulations are what you would expect. However, there are some Australian laws which are more on the strange side!

Take a look as we highlight some notable facts within Australian Law to ensure you don’t land into trouble down under!

How strict is the law in Australia?

Ignorance of the law is no defence! If you are travelling Down Under it’s important to make yourself aware of the Australian laws and regulations. Here are a few crucial Australian laws:

  • It is illegal to drink alcohol in public areas
  • It is illegal to smoke indoors
  • You need to be 18 to buy alcohol or tobacco (although it is not illegal for children to smoke tobacco, only to buy it)
  • It is illegal to work in Australia with a Tourist Visa
  • It is illegal to sell belongings on the streets without a license
  • It is illegal to ride a bike without a helmet or drive without putting your seatbelt on
  • You will be fined AUD 75 for littering, including cigarette butts
  • Possession of drugs is of course illegal
  • Touching someone without their consent is considered an invasion of their privacy and can lead to prosecution
  • The legal age for sex is 16
  • A life sentence is 25 years

Unusual laws in Australia

The above laws in Australia are what one might expect to be in force. However, there are some aspect of Australian law which are slightly more unusual. Here are a select few amusing laws in Australia:

  • In Victoria, only a qualified electrician can change a light bulb – if you choose to do it yourself you could risk an AUS10 fine per bulb!
  • Again, in Victoria, it is illegal to wear hot pink trousers after midday on a Sunday
  • It is illegal to walk on the right-hand side of a footpath
  • Taxis are required to carry a bale of hay in their boot
  • When entering or leaving a courtroom in Australia, it is court etiquette to bow
  • Men must remove their hat if they are wearing one, unless they are Jewish
  • Legislators are proposing a new law that prevents people coming closer than 100 meters to a dead whale’s carcass…

So, if you find yourself travelling to Australia, make sure you familiarise yourself with the laws relevant to the area you are visiting.

Thinking of moving Down Under? Take a look at Halo Financial’s handy guide to emigrating to Australia. Register to receive currency alerts for Pound to Australian Dollar