Is it just me, or are you starting to wonder if maybe Mark Webber was on the right track (pardon the pun) last year, when he said Victoria has become a “Nana state”?
Now please don’t get me wrong. I am not here to diss on Victoria police, who after all have no choice but to enforce the laws parliament makes.
What I am on my soap box about is the latest legislative initiative from the state government, announced this week as part of its platform to address law and order issues.
You may remember the Ted Baillieu led Liberal government won the 2010 election in no small part based on its promises about law and order. Promises like a “$400 million policy to ”revolutionise policing”.
This week the Attorney General Robert Clark announced proposed legislation the government claims is part of its plans to combat these problems in Victoria.
Was it the fulfillment of a pledge to increase police numbers? Or was it an announcement about when police will be starting their manning of our train stations.
No it was not. Instead came the announcement of a proposal to enshrine in legislation a pilot program operating since 2008.
The law will give police the power to issue on the spot fines to people who swear in public.
That’s right – do a K Rudd and drop the S bomb in public, and you could be force to pay a fine of $240.00
When I first heard the story while watching a TV news bulletin, I wondered if maybe I had drunk more of the bottle of wine we had with dinner than I realised.
But as Chris loudly exclaimed “You have GOT TO BE JOKING” at the same time I watched the story, it dawned on me that I had not in fact imagined the story.
But wait. It seems Victoria is not the first place to introduce a law like this. Police in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK now have the power to fine people $123(Aus) whose public swearing is judged to be causing offence or intimidation.
I don’t know about you, but there are times when I really enjoy a good swear word.
There are times when something happens which seems so heinous and offensive, only a loudly uttered WTF soothes the angry beast within. I even found some research to back me up here.
I don’t have to think very hard to come up with examples of politicians, sports stars, and celebrities who have been known to swear in public. And comedians often devote a large portion of their routines to profanities.
The only people who I don’t hear swear on occasions would be people of my parents generation. They are octogenarians.
As a parent and someone who tries to be a decent citizen, I recognise there are times when swearing is totally inappropriate. And I try not to swear in front of the children.
But do we really need to go down this path and legislate to give police the powers to issue on the spot fines for public profanity? Surely the police have better things to be doing with their time?
And do we really want individual officers to have the power, presently held by magistrates, of determining in the heat of the moment what constitutes offensive language?
Apparently I’m not the only person who finds this proposal, quite frankly, fxxxin ridiculous. On the 25th June you can join the “Fuckwalk” from Flinders Street to Bourke Street Mall.
Enough from my soap box. After all it is TGIF, and time to contemplate the weekend’s activities and tonight’s champagne.
Cheers to that,