australian culture and customs

find out how australians do things, how we see the world and the world sees us

rules, rules, rules…

australias rules word cloudAustralia is a country full of rules and regulations.  Many people call Western Australia, for example (my home), the ‘nanny state’ because you have no legal choice to decide what you want to do – it’s like having a nanny treating you like a little kid and stopping you from doing anything fun!  One of the most common complaints is having to wear a bicycle helmet if you want to ride a bicycle. Interestingly, whenever I have had students from ‘lawless’ or chaotic countries, they have had a great appreciation of the laws and rules because they feel safer and like the organization. Now, of course, not all Australians like all the rules or agree with them.  This is just a guide so you can choose how you wish to live around others understanding how people may respond in Australia. By the way, the good thing (or perhaps bad thing?) is that the rules apply to everyone.

Here are some of the rules…

  • bicycle helmets – wear them when riding a bicycle (the law in most states and territories)
  • motorbike helmets – you must wear them unless you have a good medical reason
  • no smoking – almost all public places – inside and outside
  • no public drinking – drink at the pub, at home, nightclub, etc., but not driving a car or walking down the street
  • no alcohol at a café unless you’re eating – in SOME states
  • do not drive after drinking (much) alcohol or you may lose your license! You can only have about one standard drink per hour to be legal.  Click here for more information
  • no trespassing – don’t walk on other people’s land/lawn or where it says, ‘no trespassing’.
  • turn down your music! – Australians are very sensitive to loud noise.  Some people I’ve met from other countries are used to hearing everyone else’s music played loudly, their children screaming and shouting and making noise all day and night.  Some have told me they don’t like it when it’s too quiet.  Well, Australians are a bit more sensitive and we will use the law to get what we want (or stop what we don’t like).  I really think we should relax a bit more sometimes, but I must say, I don’t want to listen to your (horrible) music all night either!
  • don’t use electric power tools before 7am or after 9 or 10pm
  • don’t tell me what to do (the most recent favourite)!
  • can’t you quieten down those kids?!
  • put your seatbelt on! – use your car seatbelts or get a BIG fine.  Everyone, including children and babies must be strapped in
  • don’t smoke in the car
  • you can’t build that next to my house! You must get building approval before building a house, shed, veranda, etc.
  • don’t advertise on the street
  • use the pedestrian crossing (don’t jay walk)
  • stop for the person (above) walking across the pedestrian crossing
  • slow down at schools (40km/hr)
  • don’t push in/ wait your turn in the line when shopping or waiting for service
  • keep to the left
  • don’t burn your rubbish, put it in the bin
  • blah, blah, blah!

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This entry was posted on March 7, 2013 by in culture, etiquette and customs, law and tagged , , , , , , .
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