4 Weird Australian Laws You’ve Almost Definitely Broken Without Realising

Le Brun & Associates are experts in many areas of law, including criminal and civil

As a country descended from convicts, we are known for our larrikinism and our love of sending up those in authority. But did you know – you are probably just as in line for being sent over the seas as your ancestors?

Here are four weird of Australian laws that are confirmed as being true, that you have probably broken.

1. Carrying more than 50kg of potatoes in WA

Australia has a bunch of weird criminal laws that only experienced lawyers would know about.

That’s right – not only is it illegal, but members of the Potato Marketing Authority are allowed to stop your car and search for them if they suspect you might have more than 50kg of potatoes on you. Potato Inspectors have the right to demand the name and address of anyone in possession of what appears to be more than 50kgs of potatoes, and can seize them as evidence. The fine is $2,000 for your first offence, or $5,000 for your second offence. The crime has existed since 1946, but it’s unclear why it first came about, but was likely to do with protecting the states commercial activities. All we know is, if you’re hankering for a French fry feast for you and your friends, cross the border into South Australia first.

2. Writing “no questions asked” on a lost and found poster or ad

In Tasmania or South Australia, it is illegal to suggest that you will not ask any questions about the return of stolen property in an ad or notice asking for its return. This is because it is seen by the state as impinging on their ability to decide whether or not to prosecute for a crime. South Australia and Tasmanian law asserts that it is not up to you whether or not to investigate a crime, and reserves the right to “ask questions”, that cannot be waived by the victim of the crime. In fact, no matter what you might have heard in American police shows, no state in Australia offers the victim the decision to “press charges” or not, it is at the states discretion if they decide to pursue the matter.

3. Disrupting a wedding or funeral

Weddings are also a great time to consider putting your legal affairs in order and making sure civil documents like your will are up to date with an experienced lawyer.

While initially sounding a little unusual, the law against disrupting weddings or funerals does make sense given that we also have the right to peaceful protest. If you disrupt any official wedding or funeral, whether secular or religious, you run the risk of a $10,000 fine, meaning that these occasions are protected by law from ugly occurrences – so make sure you tell your drunk uncle that at the next wedding you attend!

Oh – and watch out what makes it onto your Facebook page on April 1 in Queensland, publicising a fake birth, death, marriage or new job in the state is also illegal.

4. Walking on the wrong side of the pavement

Well, okay, we’ll give you this one. It is not in fact illegal to get in everyone’s way by walking on the wrong side of the pavement, it’s just annoying. When it comes to walking on the road where there is no pavement, however, the law does still stand. You must walk on the road against the flow of the traffic or face a $50 fine. This was implemented as a safety measure, as it means that you are less likely to be hit.

While these laws are pretty funny, managing your own legal affairs is no laughing matter. With lawyers specialising in all areas of both civil and criminal law, Le Brun & Associates have you covered for any legal issues that might arise, including wills, employment laws, disputes and criminal charges. Contact us for more information, and a free 30 minute consultation on your legal needs.