13 Australian Laws You Won’t Believe Exist

Australia may have one of the most advanced legal systems in the world, but these 13 strange, specific, and dated existing laws may say otherwise.


Leaving a window open in an unattended vehicle is illegal


Have you ever parked your car, left the window down and ran inside to grab something? Well… hate to break it to you, you’re a criminal.

According to section 213 of the NSW Road Rules 2014, if you are over 3 metres from your car, you must secure the window immediately, and lock the doors. While the law may have been introduced to reduce the theft of vehicles, it would certainly be a surprise to get a fine for leaving your window down today.


Hanging around a house that is used by thieves is illegal


Ever hung around a house that is used by a thief? Me neither, but the Victorian Government seems to think it is enough of a problem to include it in their Vagrancy Act 1966.

Under section 6 of the Act you could be imprisoned for one year if you are “the occupier of a house or place that is frequented by reputed thieves”. Note to self, don’t let a thief hang out around your house.


Singing an obscene song in public is illegal


Walking down the streets of Melbourne, headphones in and Spotify on, Akon drops the f bomb, and you repeat after him.

Well pack your bags and get ready for 2 months in prison. According to section 17 of the Victorian Summary Offences Act 1966, if you sing an obscene song or ballad in a public place, or in front of anyone else, you could be liable for two months in prison, or 10 penalty units. Another reason to not sing out loud.


Having a dog that barks too much is illegal


Your new puppy wont stop barking. Make sure you send him to puppy school before you get a fine under the Dog Act 1976.

We don’t know what’s more surprising: that Western Australia has an act just for dogs, or that section 38 states that if your dog’s barking exceeds a prescribed noise level you could be fined $5,000.


Married women are allowed to buy property


Good news, The South Australian Law of Property Act 1936 declares that women are in fact allowed to buy property. Thanks South Australia.

The Act was first written in 1936 at a time when women had few rights, and so Section 92 of the act felt the need to make special mention of the fact that “a married woman shall be capable of acquiring, holding and disposing of any property”.


Selling a fridge with a compartment of a capacity of 42.5 litres or more is illegal


Always wanted to get rid of that spare fridge you have in the garage? Better make sure that it can’t hold more than 42.5 litres first.

Under section 58B of the South Australian Summary Offences Act 1953, it is illegal to “sell or hire, or offer or expose for sale or hire, a refrigerator… having in it a compartment of a capacity of 42.5 litres or more”. If caught, you could be fined $750.


It is illegal to sell 50kg of potatoes in Western Australia


Bad news for the underground potato dealer of Western Australia. You could face a fine of $2 000.

Section 22 of the Marketing of Potatoes Act 1946 states that a person is not allowed to sell or deliver more than 50kg of potatoes, without the consent of the Potato Marketing Corporation of Western Australia.


It is illegal to have a “no questions asked” policy when advertising the return of a stolen property


Someone breaks into your inner city loft and steals your computer. You advertise for its return across the streets of Hobart with a “no questions will be asked policy”. Go directly to jail, do not pass “go”, do not collect $200.

Under the current section 41 of the Tasmanian Police Offences Act 1935, it is illegal to “publicly advertise a reward for the return of any property which has been stolen or lost, and in such advertisement use any words indicating or purporting that no questions will be asked”.


Challenge someone to a duel


We all have a hater, whose life we would love to see crumble. But… perhaps challenging them to a duel in Western Australia is not the way to do that.

Under section 72 of the Western Australia Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913, you will be fined $6,000, or be imprisoned for 2 years, if you so much as challenge someone to a duel.


If there is a goat on your house, you can kill it


Ever woken up one morning and found a goat in your backyard? Well, it may help to know, that if it ever happens you can “destroy” the goat (though who would want to harm a poor goat?!).

Under section 7 of the NSW Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, “Any owner, occupier, or person in charge of inclosed land may destroy any goat found trespassing thereon”. The act was written in 1901, presumably at a time where goat invasions were a regular occurrence.


Splashing mud on bus passengers


When driving, do not splash mud on bus passengers.

Under regulation 291-3 of the Road Rules 2014, a person could be fined 20 penalty units if they do not take care by slowing down or stopping for “any person in or on a bus”, “any person entering or leaving a bus”, or “any person waiting at any bus stop”.

Good news though, it appears you can splash all other pedestrians with mud.

Now check out the weirdest tax laws from around the world!