Lock-out laws, bicycle helmet regulations and picnic permits are just some of the outrageous laws which suggest that Australia’s criminal legislation has gone a step too far.
While many of these laws have been implemented in the expectation that is will reduce violence or improve health and safety, in many cases the excessive laws are being accused of restricted freedom, ruining livelihood of small businesses and turning the nation into a nanny state.
Here are 10 examples.
Sydney’s lockout law – introduced in response to the increasing level of drunk violence in the King’s Cross district in particular – states that establishments can’t allow entry after 1.30am and can’t serve alcohol after 3am in parts of Sydney’s CBD and the King’s Cross district.
Implementation of the restrictive new rules have resulted in the closure of several iconic nightclubs across the city.
Those which have been able to survive in the declining industry and still remain in business have reported huge falls in revenue and profitability.
More recently, Queensland has announced it has secured support for its own restrictive lockout law which will introduce 2am ‘last drinks’ across much of the state by July this year and 1am lockouts in 2017, as well as restrictions on drinks like shots and doubles.
However, Victoria continues to resist and attempt for a Melbourne lockout after the failed trial of a 2am lockout policy in 2008.
A the time, reports saw that it actually led to in an increase in violence in the area, and could negatively impact the city’s vibrant night economy which is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Buying alcohol after 10pm
Alongside Sydney’s lockout laws, a state-wide ban on takeaway alcohol sales after 10pm was introduced. This has also received significant negative feedback.
Australia’s newest piece of criminal legislation is among the toughest in the world.
Riders in Sydney and the rest of New South Wales state will soon be subject to a package of new laws aimed at cutting deaths and the more than 1,000 serious injuries a year among cyclists.
The penalty for cycling without a helmet more than quadruples to $319, stiffer than many speeding fines for drivers, and riders jumping a red light will get a $425 fine.
Adult riders will have to carry identification, or face a $106 penalty from March 2017.
Plain packaging law
Cigarette plain packaging laws were introduced by the former Gillard Government in a bid to reduce smoking rates across the state.
However, some claim that the removal of branding has instead only led to an increase in consumption of cheaper or illegally imported cigarettes.
A raft of advertising regulations heavily restrict marketing which relates to children, unhealthy food, alcohol, financial products among other things.
This extends from TV adverts to billboards and even radio.
Some suburbs have begun requiring groups to register and pay for a permit to spend the afternoon in public parks – these permits are then checked by patrolling council officers.
For example, in Port Phillip, park visitors with parties larger than 20 people need an $82 permit which buys them only two hours. Each additional hours cost and extra $41.
Sydney’s Waverly council has even adopted an events policy that requires a permit any event on its Bondi, Bronte or Tamarama beaches publicised on social media, regardless of the number of guests, or face a $220 fine.
Website age gates
As part of the regulations around marketing to children, alcohol brands’ websites are required to have an age gate to check if the user is over 18.
Given there is no way to verify the user is actually over 18, the requirement is virtually pointless.
A ban on smoking in all indoor dining areas was introduced in South Australia in January 1999 and as of 6 December 2004, smoking was banned in all enclosed public places, workplaces and shared areas under amendments to the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997.
Queensland has recently passed further laws to restrict smokers from lighting up not only in enclosed public spaces but also in outdoor public places near childcare facilities, bus stops, taxi ranks, public pools, children’s sporting venues, skate parts and outdoor malls.
The new laws also ban the sale of tobacco products from pop-up retail outlets, such as at music festivals.
Footpath dining restrictions
Councils are steadily increasing restrictions on any café, restaurant or store which has an area outside on a public footpath with a footpath dining permit now required in order to use the area for customers to eat and drink.
The rules, thought to regulate outdoor dining to ensure the safety of diners and pedestrians, not only restricts where visitors can eat but also when.
It’s not just public places which carry restrictive rules, tenants who create too much smoke when barbecuing on unit balconies could soon face fines of up to $2200 under proposed changes to strata laws.