8 widespread myths about Australian legislation

We have all been at a piece or household gathering when somebody has supplied a seemingly authoritative assertion about the way in which the legislation operates.

With out some information of the sector of legislation, listeners could merely nod their heads sagely and tut-tut in regards to the perceived inadequacies and injustices which have been revealed.

However there are various misconceptions in regards to the legislation. Listed here are eight widespread falsehoods.

1. If individuals chortle at my joke then it isn’t sexual harassment

This isn’t right. Sexual harassment is outlined as any unwelcome sexual habits that makes an individual really feel offended or humiliated, the place the response is cheap underneath the circumstances.

A survey by the Australian Human Rights Fee discovered over the previous 5 years, one in three employees skilled sexual harassment of their office. The survey discovered reporting of office sexual harassment stays alarmingly low, at solely 18%.

Girls (41%) have been much more doubtless than males (26%) to expertise harassment. Greater than three-quarters of harassers have been males.

In November, the federal parliament handed the Respect@Work invoice which creates a optimistic obligation on all employers to implement measures to stop sexual harassment.

2. I haven’t got to offer my title and handle to the police, as I’ve a proper to silence

The proper to stay silent when questioned by the police is a basic safety supplied by the widespread legislation. Nevertheless, this proper isn’t absolute, and doesn’t imply you do not have to offer them sure private info.

Laws in each Australian jurisdiction provides police the proper to ask for particulars that may help their inquiries. For instance, in South Australia, you have to present your full title, date of start and handle if a police officer has affordable trigger to suspect you’ve gotten dedicated or are about to commit an offense, or for those who could possibly help within the investigation of an offensive.

It is an offense to refuse to offer police your private particulars, or for those who present false or deceptive info. The police also can ask you to determine the drivers of the motor autos by which you might be touring. However they can not demand that you just reply any additional questions, and should offer you a warning that something you would possibly say could later be utilized in proof.

The place there was a violent arrest, or the individual arrested is unable to understand or perceive their rights, the warning have to be repeated as soon as the individual arrested has been settled down or sobered up.

Police officers standing next to a car.
Your ‘proper to silence’ does not lengthen to giving cops your title and handle.
Luke Coch/AAP

3. My boyfriend moved in with me a yr in the past and left final week, so now I’ve to offer him half of my property

For an individual in a de facto relationship to achieve success in any property settlement, they have to fulfill the Household Courtroom that:

  • the connection has lasted a minimum of two years

  • or the events have had a toddler collectively

  • or the connection was registered underneath a state or territory relationship registration scheme

  • or one social gathering has made substantial monetary or non-financial contributions to the opposite social gathering and that critical injustice would have resulted if an order had not been made.

Additionally, there is no presumption of a 50:50 cut up in Australian household legislation. In figuring out a simply and equitable division of property, the courtroom will think about the events’ respective property, the contributions every social gathering has made to the connection, and every social gathering’s future wants.

4. I am not liable for issues others write on my Fb

Whereas it could be onerous to imagine, you should still be chargeable for issues others submit in your social posts, even when you do not know about them.

In 2021 the Excessive Courtroom dominated that media firms might be chargeable for defamatory feedback made by readers on their Fb posts. The ruling extends past Fb and certain applies to any social media platform together with Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn extra: Excessive Courtroom guidelines media are chargeable for Fb feedback on their tales. This is what which means to your favourite Fb pages

It additionally extends past media firms and covers companies and personal people, together with these working on-line neighborhood teams and boards, equivalent to directors of Fb teams.

However watch this house – state and territory attorneys-general have simply given in-principle settlement to amend defamation legal guidelines to guard “web intermediaries” equivalent to social media directors. The main points are but to emerge however will not be more likely to defend egregious feedback that ought to have been observed and eliminated by an individual posting on their very own social media platforms.

Hand holding a phone with Facebook open
Underneath present case legislation, you are liable for what others write in your social media posts.

5. I can go away my youngsters within the automotive for a couple of minutes as long as I go away a window open

This isn’t true. Whereas each jurisdiction in Australia has barely totally different legal guidelines, it is typically an offense to go away a toddler unattended in a automotive no matter whether or not they undergo any misery or harm.

Any police consideration, and prices that will circulate from that, will rely upon the circumstances of the alleged neglect, together with the ambient temperature, the extent of kid misery (if any), and the proximity of the motive force together with the time taken for them to , for instance, pay for fuel.

Opening a automotive window doesn’t negate legal prices.

6. I can urinate in public if it is on my again tire

If this was as soon as the legislation with horses and drays, it’s now not the legislation at present. Any such shows in public (particularly in a constructed up space) can quantity to “offensive habits” and will be prosecuted.

Nevertheless, it is completely contextual. For instance, marathon runners who obtain pressing calls from Mom Nature can be unlikely to be prosecuted.

7. Saying you would like Charles would cark it so William will be king is treason

The offense of treason nonetheless exists, however one should do greater than declare disparaging (and even treacherous) ideas in regards to the reigning monarch to excite the authorities into prosecuting.

The Commonwealth Felony Code part 80.1 units out what quantities to treasonous habits. You actually should be critical about appearing in your declarations earlier than the treason threshold is reached.

8. Australian consulates abroad are Australian territories

This can be a widespread false impression. Article 31 of the Vienna Conference on Consular Relations gives some safety to consular premises from exterior intrusion.

This features a rule that the police of the host state cannot enter consular premises with out the consulate nation’s permission, until it is an emergency. However this does not flip the consulate into Australian territory.

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