Crimespeak: Victoria Government’s swear jar
Tuesday May 31st 2011, 9:03 pm

Victoria’s Premier Ted Baillieu has apparently solved all the other problems in the state, as he now has time and money to waste on criminalising speech.

Beware the swear word or cop a fine

By Jean Edwards

The Victorian Government plans to introduce laws this week that will give police permanent power to issue on-the-spot fines to people who swear.

Under the proposed legislation, people could be fined close to $240 for language that is considered indecent or offensive.

Attorney-General Robert Clark says the changes mean police will not have to use the courts to deal with people who use bad language.

“We’re going to be confirming the power of police to issue on-the-spot infringement notices for these sorts of offences, which will free up police resources,” he said.

“It will also enable them to more effectively act against the sort of loud-mouthed, obnoxious behaviour that can make going out to public places unpleasant for other members of the public.”

Lovely! Government by fiat- no trials needed to determine nor appeal ‘indecency’ or ‘offensiveness’ of the speech. The arbiter will be the Victoria Police. Perhaps the police operating manual will be upgraded to include what words are indecent and/or offensive. We can have no moral relativism- speech will be indecent/offensive or it won’t.

However, classification at kerbside may be a bit problematic for the officers. For example, exhorting Ted Baillieu to ‘ram a jam jar up his poop chute’ may indeed be indecent, offensive or both, while not using any the more or less standard list of indecent/offensive terms such as shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits. Fart, turd and twat have certainly been decriminalised in recent times as one can normally hear all three on commercial television in Australia. Consequently, asserting that ‘Ted Baillieu is a turd farting twat,’ could not be prima facie deemed to be either indecent or offensive.

There appears to be no mention of whether it will be indecency or offensiveness expressed in English which will be criminalised or whether one will have sufficiently violated the law by uttering epithets in, for example, Hebrew, eg. ‘טד Baillieu מבאס הפין של סוס בגלל שהוא אוהב את הטעם.‘ As such, there may be some discrimination issues afoot, as well as the expense of hiring on-demand translators for all of the 300 languages spoken in Melbourne.

Oh- and I haven’t even touched on the civil disobedience factor

…and I can’t wait for Tim Minchin’s next appearance in Melbourne.

Consequently, I’m not quite as sure of the reduction in the load on the courts and police as Attorney General Robert Clark appears to be.

I predict great humiliation for Baillieu and Clark. Let the games begin.


4 Comments so far
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What a sad day it would be when one of my favourite ‘offensive’ and yet perfectly crafted indecent epithets such as “unflushable turd” may no longer be available in the Victorian vernacular to be hurled, scrawled and snarled at the fuckwits who deserve it!

Comment by Suki 05.31.11 @ 10:20 pm

Yeah, what a bunch of cocky, cunty shit! I hope a whole swathe of cops will be on the sidelines at each AFL game in Victoria, ready to issue on-the-spot fines to the players each time they scream “fuck” when they experience a bad turn of play…

Comment by D 06.02.11 @ 8:38 am

Loss of civil liberties,Police can use these laws any way they want,to harrass, to raise revenue, to deprive me of my right to use the english language as documented in the Macquarie Dictionary.
Are the pigs going to carry a fuckin’ big dictionary to look up words,most can’t even spell at grade 3 level…duhhh…Ted you are a cock suckin’ arse licking, ignorant, stupid, piece of dog excrement!!!!(is that offensive?),not to most on the bad end of this law.
I find the words, ‘polititian’ particularily offensive will they all be fined.I also find their political flyers offensive,again can I have them fined for offending me???
Ted is a word that offends me also!,lets all take Ted to the High Court and challenge this law,he will lose!!!!

Comment by fucker 06.03.11 @ 8:32 pm

The sublime Jason Brown ukes & Sings: ‘Things you cun’t say in Victoria.

Comment by weez 06.05.11 @ 10:03 pm

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