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.
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
Leave a comment
Leave a comment