10 really silly Australian laws: fact or fiction?

10 really silly Australian laws: fact or fiction?

According to the Internet, Australia is responsible for some of the world’s silliest laws. But which ones are true and which are just furphys? Also, a few bizarre British so-called ‘laws’.

Australia has some undeniably bizarre urban myths and legends, but there are some (supposed) laws which have sparked debate amongst the Aussie Times team about whether they are real or not.  

We took a look at some of the more obscure and just plain silly Aussie ‘laws’, as documented on various websites, and wondered if they were for real or just urban myths. For instance, are you really forbidden from changing a light bulb in Victoria and are there restrictions on wearing pink hot pants? We welcome suggestions of where Melbourne beach-goers might be able to purchase ‘neck to knee’ swim suites.

So, here are 10 of the more bemusing and amusing Aussie ‘laws’, according to the great bastion of all things honest and true, the Interweb. Do you think they are for real?

Perhaps you know or thing or two about Australian law and are able to either verify or refute them for us and our readers? If so, please leave your comments below because quite frankly, we just cant be bothered to look up the statute books.

10 really stupid Australian ‘laws’

1) In Australia, bars are required to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons


We have a feeling that all watering holes in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and every other Australian population centre this side of the Black Stump is in contravention of this ‘law’. And by the way; believe it or not, foreigners – it is indeed illegal to be ‘drunk’ in Australian pubs. The licencee could be hit with a hefty fine if they don’t stop serving you if you are ‘intoxicated’ and must eject you from the premises.

2) In Victoria, it is illegal to change a light bulb unless you are a qualified electrician


There are a number of claims that if you live in Victoria, and you are not an electrician, you’d be living on the edge and would be considered a total rebel if you are bold enough to replace your bedside lamp’s bulb. Apparently only licensed electricians may change a light bulb.  If you do go ahead and change that light bulb you will face a stiff AU$10 fine per bulb… apparently.

3) No pink hot pants on a Sunday


Keep an eye out for the (fashion) police if you plan on wearing pink hot pants after midday on a Sunday in Victoria. Apparently it is okay Monday through Saturday. This law is a service to man-kind! It is one of those things that should be illegal everywhere – all the time.

4) Cover up at Brighton beach


Again Victoria. Loosen up, guys! According to some sources you must wear a neck to knee swimsuit in order to swim at Melbourne’s Brighton beach. We assume these are readily available at beachfront clothing retailers.

Random factoid: In 1907, Australian swimmer Annette Kellerman (pictured above) visited the United States as an “underwater ballerina”, a version of synchronized swimming involving diving into glass tanks. She was arrested for indecent exposure because her swimsuit showed arms, legs and the neck. Phwoar!

5) Children may not purchase cigarettes, but they may smoke them


Just when you thought Australia had the world’s toughest anti-smoking legislation… but there’s always a loophole, hey.

6) You may never leave your car keys in an unattended vehicle


Sure, you would be stupid to do that if you don’t want your car stolen. But why is it illegal?

7) It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face


Apparently it’s because said fashion items are the evening wear of a cat burglar.

8) It is illegal to walk on the right hand side of a footpath


So, like, what about if you are walking backwards?

9) Taxi cabs are required to carry a bale of hay in the boot


We could not find out exactly why – presumably for the horse on the roofracks? – but in a country where kids may smoke, we’d imagine this contravenes a fire safety rule… and there’s sure to be one.

10) Legislators are proposing a new law that will not allow anyone to come closer than 100 meters from a dead whale’s carcass


100 meters is close enough, people. It’s a whale, not Nemo – you’ll see quite enough from over there.

Britain has a string of quirky frightening ‘laws’ too, according to the Interweb, 3 of these are:

1) In Britain, you are not allowed to let your pet mate with any pet form the royal house


Better sit Fido down and have a talk with him about eyeing off Candy, the Queen’s Corgi.

2) In Britain, it is illegal to be drunk in the pub


Ohh, that’s where we got it from. Looks like they exported that one to the colonies, hey?

3) Placing a postage stamp bearing the image of the monarch’s head upside down on your envelope is considered an act of treason


Sorry. So sorry, Ma’am.