Australian Statute Law is based on the British Common Law, so the Australian legal system is very similar to the UK’s. However, the big difference between the two is that the UK has only one legislative body, Parliament, whereas Australia has seven with the Federal Parliament and six State Parliaments. Australia operates a federal system with 9 jurisdictions. Each State and 2 territories have a parliament. There are 565 local government bodies in Australia, which consist of diverse range of metropolitan, regional, rural and Indigenous communities. Fun fact: when you enter or leave a courtroom in Australia, it is court etiquette to bow. Men must also remove their hat if they are wearing one, unless they are Jewish.
Here are some Australian laws and facts that are worth knowing:
- 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. (However, 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 with a helmet, or drive without putting your seatbelt on
- You will be fined AU$ 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
Now, here are some slightly funnier Australian laws, that are genuinely true:
- In Victoria, only a qualified electrician can change a light bulb - if you choose to do it yourself you could risk a AU%10 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
- Legislators are proposing a new law that prevents people coming closer than 100 meters to a dead whale's carcass...