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Cheers - AE

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Victoria and Victorian attitudes

Apparently we're not allowed to swear in Victoria anymore. In fact it turns out that offensive language has been an, er, offence, since the sixties even if there isn't anyone around to hear it, but Victoria's wonderful new improved Liberal with a silent 'Il' government have decided it's a good idea to give the police powers to impose fines of $240 for
... using language deemed to be indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening.
Deemed to be? Deemed? And who gets to decide that, because since it's an on-the-spot fine it sounds awfully like it'll be the cops. Currently that might not be a big deal since they're having a bit of a work to rule at the moment and are sufficiently annoyed with the government to flash their lights at drivers to warn them to slow down for speed traps, so I can imagine them choosing to turn a blind eye to someone's potty mouth, but that's not going to last beyond the time they get a pay deal sorted out or give up.

And what's the thinking behind this? Beyond the possibility that the Liberal In Name Only government of Victoria wants everyone in the state to sound like characters from a Jane Austen novel all the time. Believe it or not they think it'll give the police more time to for real police work.

Yes, they really said that.
The crackdown — which extends the Baillieu government's ever-growing law-and-order agenda — means police will be able to issue infringement notices for offensive behaviour and indecent language similar to parking and speeding fines.

Attorney-General Robert Clark said the idea was to lower the police workload by allowing them to issue fines instead of tackling bad language using the court system.

"It frees up police time for other law enforcement activities and enables them to more readily issue penalties against those offenders who deserve them," Mr Clark said.
While I can see a certain amount of sense in the idea of not getting cops to waste heaps of time on prosecuting a trivial swearing offence through the courts it's clearly not occurred to the AG or the government that with coarse language being so commonplace that even Prime Ministers have been known to swear live on air they could end up with police doing little but hand out swearing tickets all day long. Hardly freeing up police time for other law enforcement activities, is it? Look, Robert, if you really want the police out there doing high value police work the answer is not to encourage them to spend even more time go after the low hanging fruit of easy crimes offences committed by not-actual-criminals against non-existent victims, but instead to identify all the victimless crimes on the books

However, being a law abiding citizen I will be washing my mouth out from now on, which means a change to my usual blogging subjects. I will no longer blog on things that annoy me and induce me to apoplectic and sweary rage, so from this point on this will become a travel blog. I have two destinations to talk about today, one in Austria and one in the Orkneys, both of which I'd hope will meet with the approval of the Attorney General.

That okay, Rob?
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