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Aussies Are About To Become Targets For New Swearing Fines

| Filed under: AustraliasticLegal MattersPolitik

Victoria Fines Swearers


Australia's second most populated state Victoria is about to have a new piece of legislation which police can use their own discretion to fine people for excessive use of swear words or offensive phrases, using the label of "obnoxious amounts." Offenders can be fined up to $240 bucks.

But who is really to say what the threshold for "obnoxious" is when it comes down to personal opinion and preference??

While we can understand how some people could get upset by swear-word usage, we don't think fining people for using words is the smartest thing. When it comes to swear words, words are words. They're used for emphasis, and we can't really understand the thought-process behind trying to quantify an unquantifiable, opinion-based scale for offensiveness.

We think that as long as it doesn't spill over into hate-speech (which we wouldn't really categorize as swearing), obnoxious is just obnoxious and people should ignore it and move on. Even so, people should have the inherent right to a freedom of speech, even when it comes to throwing around the ol' F-bomb.

So what are the guidelines and limits? What's excessive? Will cops have to count how many times someone says the word "shit" and when they hit the 7th time they get a citation? Who decides this?

Doesn't make a lot of sense to us.

Does it make sense to U??

[Image via WENN.]

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19 comments to “Aussies Are About To Become Targets For New Swearing Fines”

  1. yvo84 says – reply to this


    You're using a picture of Sydney, which is in the state of New South Wales. The capital city of Victoria is Melbourne. Which, along with all Australian cities, has seen a surge in violence and disrespect on the streets. We've had a new Premier elected to Victoria last year who promised to clean up the mess (a Premier is the equivalent of a US state Governor). This is part of that project. You need to look deeper into it. In New York about 15 years ago, the subway was a haven for crime. Once they cleaned up graffiti and other "basic" issues which were left unattended, the crime level decreased dramatically. Why? Because the human mind's your surroundings and environment dictate what is acceptable and appropriate behaviour in any given environment. If you're in a clean and respectfully kept environment, you're more likely to behave that way. Hence, this new law. It's experimental, but studies have shown it works. You target the basics, the ground level issues, before you go after the bigger issues.

  2. 2

    Firstly, yes that is a picture of Sydney, which as yvo84 points out, is in another state to melbourne where the law is being put in place. Secondly, it has been on trial for a while, and what they are trying to do is make it permanent. From there i agree with nothing else yvo84 says… the law is idiotic and stupid. as you have pointed out there has not been a definition of 'offensive language' or the amount of which there can be, which is just ridiculous. Some of the biggest issues with this means, it is unlikely swearing will be able to take place in places such as the footy and at comedy clubs and festivals. Yes these laws are ridiculous and i seriously hope they do not pass… but if they do at least Chris Lilly taught us one way to deal with it… "Puck You!"

  3. 3

    Apparently Australia has one of the highest crime rates in the world and this is why! We have so many stupid rules haha its ridiclous!

  4. 4

    Re: melbourneteen – o :P i just noticed the commentary on the pic of sydney.. its ok. i take that back :P

  5. yvo84 says – reply to this


    Actually RachCullen123, we have one of the lowest crime levels in the world, which is why our cities constantly make it in the most liveable in the world. It's just that.. we complain a lot when things aren't perfect. melbourneteen, to be honest, i don't agree with this law either. But i do understand why they're implementing it.

  6. 6

    there is nothing wrong with "swear words". fuck is a shorter way of saying making love. or having sex. fucking is a beautiful thing and the word does not mean anything offensive. i saw a documentary about a guy who sees "swear words" as expressive words. i now feel the same way. they are words to express things . sex,anger are some of the things. i get angry enough that they ban these words from tv and radio. now your not even alowed to say them in public. this is ridiculous. australia is incredibly stupid to even consider this. new zealand is so much better. they would never pass a law like this. Re: yvo84 – and i dont know why aussie has a low crime rate since its a dumping ground for criminals who wernt wanted in their own countries.

  7. yvo84 says – reply to this


    T.E.A.M.J.O.L.I.E, maybe because about half of the population are immigrants from last century?

  8. 8

    Wow, Nazi Australia doesn't really have the same ring to it!

  9. 9


  10. 10

    After being stranded on an island with thousands of drunken Aussies for a week I completely understand why this law is coming into force.

  11. 11

    Re: RachCullen123 – you should have done your reseach first before saying Australia has a high crime rate. coz in fact, it has one of the lowest! thats why 4 of its major cities are usually in the most liveable cities in the world.. you can open your garage the whole day yet no one will even steal something. and of course, i dont need to tell you the crime rates in US do I? lol

  12. 12

    other than loving Australians (and their accent lol), I know nothing else about this country. what are its speech rights, you know like we have freedom of speech, do they have that? I agree with Perez, swear words shouldn't be a problem until they become hate speech, then it could seriously contribute to crime. but I'm an educated person and I still use swear words as expression of hate, surprise, etc. I don't agree with the use of "fuck" for love— no girl thinks "let's fuck" is loving and respectful— but they're just that, forms of expression. you can't expect this law to work when you have every single policeperson making a subjective, personal decision on what they think should be fined. but it's OK, Australia, I still love you and keep giving us great actors! lol

  13. @v@ says – reply to this


    Sure it makes sense. It's another ruddy money grab, and if the cop doesn't like your attitude, a corrupt one can and will charge you with it as there's no proof. Just another over reaching unrealistic statute to line city coffers. You can't legislate speech or good manners, so this is big brother incarnate.

  14. @v@ says – reply to this


    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Humans swear as a direct stress or agitation releaser instead of acting out physically. I foresee people gagged from swearing possibly jumping straight to sticks and stones, when names could never hurt the police.

  15. 15

    JUst another way to control us. while i agree its a good idea as some idiots are intimidating with swearing and drunkeness, ie footy games and losers who hang around collingwood and st kilda, i think they need to set a guideline as to what is offensive and what isnt. I dont want to sit at a cafe having a chat to friends and get fined for saying oh fuck!

  16. 16

    Re: aussieBRITbitch – haha i'm actually AUstralian! i had heard we have a high crime rate because people get fined for silly things like swearing, not real crimes! I know it's totally safe here and I love it! I was just saying I think sometimes the police here take things too far…

  17. 17

    Actually, this law conflicts with Australia's constitution of free speech, and any judge would throw the fine out of court. So basically, if they get half the people who were fined to keep their mouth closed and just pay the fine… They will still be making a profit and they won't care. The only illegal way you can swear is by directing your swear words abusively towards someone… Then it can be interpreted as a threat - as you are speaking to someone in a threatening matter… But you would have a hard time proving it in court unless a police officer, or another credible source (eg, not the 'victim's' brother, sister, mother etc) were to hear it being said and to testify against you.

  18. 18

    First of all, as everyone has pointed out, you're a moron when it comes to pictures. This isn't the first, or even second, time you've done something like this. That's the same as posting an article saying "Texas has a new law…" and putting up a picture of Los Angeles. Idiot.
    They have a law like this in the UK, which allows police to arrest people for cursing in public. It's really only used as a way to control drunk people. If a police officer is being yelled and cursed at by a drunkard who shouldn't be out causing problems, they can arrest them and throw them in jail for the night for cursing. They don't arrest random people on the street for using foul language. I'd imagine this law in Australia will be for the same purpose - they're not going to be fining sober people having a conversation in public for dropping the F-bomb. They'll only fine drunk and/or obnoxious people who are causing issues.

  19. 19

    Re: Serena Loves Mario – okay first of all look at the caption on the picture. i bet you feel pretty dumb now. and secondly they allready have a law like that. this law allows them to stop a person in the street if they are using foul language. give them a warning then a fine and then arrest them if they still dont stop. when you swear at someone its counted as a threat or verbal assault . thats the law your talking about. this is different. and if you dont understand the caption on the picture. it says:damn, hope we arn't next. get it??