WTF? Australian police raise fines for swearing to $500 in New South Wales
Bad language is becoming an expensive habit
Saturday 08 February 2014
Even the former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, was known to drop the f word every now and again but now Australians face fines of up to $500 for swearing.
Police in New South Wales (NSW) have almost tripled on-the-spot fines for offensive language to the equivalent of £270 from around £80 ($150).
It is part of a crackdown on alcohol and drug-fuelled disorder, particularly in Sydney and other cities.
But there is no official list of words that can be punished and critics have said the law allows officers to be too subjective.
Scott Webber, from the NSW Police Association, told the Sydney Morning Herald fines were usually issued after an initial warning, particularly when f*** and c*** were used aggressively.
Using bad language in public spaces near a school, a main street or in a park where children may hear is also an aggravating factor.
Mr Webber said: “The increase in fines [will] act as a deterrent but on top of that we need to make sure people are aware of the increase ... that it is a lot better than taking them to court.“
The states of Victoria and Queensland also punish foul-mouthed citizens with fines but South Australia is the only other place where officers can issue penalties on the spot.
The introduction of fines for swearing in Melbourne in 2011 prompted a “F*** Walk” protest, where hundreds criticised police for clamping down on freedom of speech.
Critics have claimed the law unfairly targets young people, those from Aboriginal communities and ethnic minorities.
Other measures being introduced include minimum prison sentences of eight years for alcohol or drug-fuelled assaults, no alcohol zones and reduced serving hours.
Fines have also been increased for offensive behaviour and intoxicated and disorderly behaviour.
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...