Click on a topic area below to find relevant (I hope) links to resources and web pages that are much more useful to you than my dodgy little website
- Free legal service providers and lawyer referral services.
- Laws on online abuse and cybercrime.
- Information for landlords and tenants.
- Consumer complaints against retailers and service providers.
- Got a speeding ticket? You might be able to get off with a warning…
- Stuff you should read if you are thinking of buying or selling a home.
- Your rights at work, such as they are.
- (Limited) right to privacy and to your personal information.
- How to complain about those damn kids playing rock and / or roll music late at night.
- Links that might be useful if you are ever in the sad situation of having a family law dispute.
- How to legally hold a protest.
- Kids Korner (for big kids too, like me. Let’s be friends!).
An absolutely MASSIVE thank you to the fine people in the AusLaw Reddit subreddit for their help with so many of these resources.
Free legal advice and lawyer referral services
If the cost of seeing a lawyer prevents you from seeking legal advice when you know that you should, please know that there are many free legal services in each State and Territory, and other services that can help put you in touch with the right lawyer for your legal issues. These services are all fantastic, staffed by people who truly care about others and who have a better knowledge of the law than I could ever hope to have. The links to some of these services are below and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Lawyer referral services – putting you in touch with the right lawyer for your situation
- New South Wales: New South Wales Law Society “Find a Lawyer” service.
- Queensland: Queensland Law Society “Find a Solicitor” service.
- Victoria: Law Institute of Victoria “Find your Solicitor” service.
- Western Australia: Law Society of Western Australia “Find a Lawyer” service.
- South Australia: Law Society of South Australia “See a Lawyer” service.
- Tasmania: Law Society of Tasmania “Search for a Firm” service.
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Law Society “Current NT Practitioners” service.
- Australian Capital Territory: Law Society of the Australian Capital Territory “Find a Firm / Find a Solicitor” service.
Community Legal Centres
If you cannot afford a lawyer, consider contacting your local Community Legal Centre. CLCs can provide you with free, or heavily discounted, legal advice.
- National: Community Legal Centres Australia.
- New South Wales: New South Wales Community Legal Centres.
- Queensland: Community Legal Centres Queensland.
- Victoria: Victoria Community Legal Centres.
- Western Australia: Community Legal Western Australia.
- South Australia: Community Legal Centres South Australia.
- Tasmania: Community Legal Centres Tasmania.
- Australian Capital Territory: Australian Capital Territory Law Society ‘Getting Help’ resources.
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Law Society resources.
Legal Aid or Free Legal Services
There are also legal aid or other free or discounted legal services available to those in deep financial difficulty.
- New South Wales: Legal Aid New South Wales.
- Queensland: Queensland Legal Aid.
- Victoria: Victoria Legal Aid.
- Western Australia: Legal Aid Western Australia.
- South Australia: Legal Services Commission of South Australia.
- Tasmania: Legal Aid Tasmania.
- Australian Capital Territory: Legal Aid ACT.
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission.
How to report online harassment, bullying, and crimes
Nobody deserves to be harassed, bullied, abused, threatened, intimidated or made to feel like crap. Yet to me it seems that so much of the internet, and in particular social media platforms, are designed for exactly those purposes. If you are the victim of any online abuse, you do not have to accept it, or try to ignore it, or blame yourself for it happening. You can report it to the authorities, anonymously if you prefer, and fight back against the horrible people that seek to hurt others for their own personal pleasure.
- Where to report identity theft, email hacking, phishing attacks, and malware and ransomware: Australian Cyber Security Centre.
- Reporting online abuse in all of its forms: eSafety Commissioner reporting tool.
- Reporting online abuse against children and young people: eSafety Commissioner cyberbullying reporting tool.
What to do if you are having a dispute with your landlord or tenant
Tenancy law is State and Territory based, so there are different government bodies in each State and Territory that protect the rights of both tenants and landlords. If you are having, or if there is the potential for you to have, a dispute or disagreement with your landlord or tenant, or you simply want to learn more about your rights and responsibilities, the following websites have useful, practical, and straightforward information and resources:
- New South Wales: Fair Trading New South Wales Rental Advice and Tenants.org.au.
- Queensland: Tenants Queensland and Queensland Residential Tenancy Authority.
- Victoria: Tenants Victoria and Consumer Affairs Victoria Rental Advice.
- Western Australia: Tenancy WA and Murdoch University School of Law advice service.
- South Australia: Consumer and Business Services rental advice.
- Tasmania: Tenants’ Union of Tasmania.
- Australian Capital Territory: Tenants Advice Service ACT.
- Northern Territory: Consumer Affairs Northern Territory residential tenancies resources.
What to do if you have a consumer complaint against a business or service provider
For complaints about the service you received from a service provider such as an electrician or mechanic, or about the quality or nature of goods you purchase from a store, the following links can guide you through how and when you can lodge a complaint, and what you should expect if your claim is upheld:
- Federal: ACCC consumer complaint service.
- New South Wales: Fair Trading New South Wales.
- Queensland: Fair Trading Queensland.
- Victoria: Consumer Affairs Victoria.
- Western Australia: Consumer Protection Department.
- South Australia: Consumer and Business Services.
- Tasmania: Consumer Services Tasmania.
- Australian Capital Territory: Australian Consumer Laws.
- Northern Territory: Consumer Affairs Northern Territory.
- Everywhere: ComplaintLine.
If you have a complaint against a service provider that provides key or critical services to you, such as the internet, financial services, postage or superannuation, you may also consider raising your concerns to the industry ombudsman (sorry, it is still not ombuds-person), who is basically the mean parent who can punish the naughty service provider. Links to the major ombudspeople are:
- Federal Government Departments (including student loans, immigration, and federal police): Commonwealth Ombudsman.
- Telecommunications: Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
- Finance and financial services: Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
- Private Health Insurance: Private Health Insurance Ombudsman.
- The Mighty Post Office: Postal Industry Ombudsman.
- Superannuation: Superannuation Complaints Tribunal.
Because issues with energy and water supply are so critical, and so common, I have listed the ombudspeople for these industries separately:
- New South Wales: Energy and Water Ombudsman.
- Queensland: Energy and Water Ombudsman.
- Victoria: Energy and Water Ombudsman.
- Western Australia: Energy and Water Ombudsman.
- South Australia: Energy and Water Ombudsman.
- Tasmania: Energy Ombudsman.
- Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory: Commonwealth Ombudsman.
How to ask for a warning rather than a fine when – I mean IF – you get a speeding ticket
Look, it happens. You were doing 51 in a 50 zone, the speed camera on the side of the road snapped you, it is all so unfair, you have a perfect driving record, and you were racing home to save your precious spouse (oh alright, your precious PS4) from a raging fire. You MIGHT be able to get out of paying that ticket, and avoid losing any demerit points, if you put in a formal request for leniency and a warning.
However, each State and Territory has a different process for requesting leniency from a speeding fine, and some (New South Wales) are easier to satisfy than others (Queensland). Still, if you have a perfect driving record other than for that speeding fine you just received, and you have had your license for a long time, you should check the following links to see if you can get out of it with just a warning:
- My post: How to get out of a speeding fine.
- New South Wales: Revenue NSW Request a Review application
- Queensland: Sorry, you’re poo emoji out of luck. Queensland does not grant warnings for speeding fines. There are other options, though, like blaming your sibling. Information on the Queensland Police website.
- Victoria: Fines Victoria Request a Review application.
- Western Australia: Western Australia Police contact information.
- South Australia: South Australian Police Request a Review application.
- Tasmania: Tasmania Police contact information.
- Australian Capital Territory: ACT Police Withdrawal of Infringement request
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Police “How to Dispute a Fine”.
Buying and selling a home (that you own or want to own!)
You should always engage a solicitor or a licensed conveyancer in connection with the purchase or sale of any real property, such as houses or apartments.
- New South Wales: Fair Trading New South Wales Buying and Selling Property information.
- Queensland: Queensland Law Society Buying or Selling Residential Property information.
- Victoria: Consumer Affairs Buying and Selling Property information.
- Western Australia: Western Australian Government Buying and Selling a Home information.
- South Australia: South Australian Government Buying and Selling Property information.
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Government Advice When Buying or Selling Property information.
- Australian Capital Territory: PDF guide to buying and selling property in the Australian Capital Territory.
- Northern Territory: Northern Territory Government Buying and Selling a Home information.
How the law impacts upon your employment
A lot of employment related issues will be regulated by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009. Fair Work Australia can sometimes provide you with advice or at least steer you in the right direction.
- Fair Work Ombudsman – this statutory body enforces compliance with the Fair Work Act, related legislation, awards and registered agreements. It provides free information about Australia’s workplace relations system and can help take action against employers: http://www.fairwork.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx
- Fair Work Commission – where you and your employer could finish up if things get seriously bad: http://www.fwc.gov.au/
Your (limited) legal rights to privacy
Your personal information is not just yours any more. We have all accepted that we will give up much of our personal information in return for the convenience that so much of the internet provides to us.
However, you still have a right to privacy to some extent, particularly when it comes to correcting errors in government records. You can learn more about the (very limited) extent of your right to protect your personal information on the websites below:
- The OAIC – The best (and only) place to learn more about your right to privacy (such as it is) and to report breaches is the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (who, I will just add, is a very impressive woman). The OAIC is the independent national regulator for privacy and freedom of information: http://www.oaic.gov.au/
Noise complaints, environmental issues and other neighbourhood issues
You usually need to contact your local council in relation to noise complaints, environmental issues, and other neighbourhood issues, before you go and call the police and send your youngest child out to deal with the neighbourhood rabble rousers. Google your local council’s website and add the term ‘noise complaint’ as well – for example, if you search for ‘City of Sydney Council noise complaint’, you will be running the same search that I run at 9pm every Friday night when the pensioners across the road get a bit rowdy after a couple of ports and sniffing up a few lines of what I assume is their heart medication but what I suspect is something a bit more… stimulating.
More information on how much noise you, or your neighbours, can make and at what times you can make it is available on these websites:
- New South Wales: Contacts for Noise Pollution Issues from the New South Wales EPA.
- Queensland: How to Complain About Noisy Neighbours.
- Victoria: Contacts for Noise Pollution Issues from the Victoria EPA.
- Western Australia: Western Australia Police Force Noise Information Page.
- South Australia: Noise Nuisance Information from the South Australia EPA.
- Tasmania: Noise Information from the Tasmania EPA
- Australian Capital Territory: “Noisy Neighbours” PDF brochure – it is worth a look simply for the awesome cover picture.
- Northern Territory: Noise!! Information from the Northern Territory EPA.
I am very sorry to anyone that needs information on the legal issues that arise when there is family separation or domestic abuse. I hope the links below give you the information you need to help you through an incredibly difficult situation.
- Simple explanations of complicated family law legal terms and concepts: Law Term Finder.
- The Attorney-General’s Department: Information on family law in Australia.
- Information for all families, whether together or apart, about family relationship issues: Family Relationships website.
- Information on the Family Courts: From the Courts’ website.
- Information on property splitting for de facto couples that have separated: From the Attorney-General’s website.
- Family violence law help, assistance, and resources: Family Violence Law website – it has a number of options to allow the viewer to quickly leave their page and information on how to delete browser history, to ensure safer browsing.
How to legally hold a protest
Are you planning a protest against 5G? If so, please click here before doing anything else with your life.
Too cool to wear a mask and want to shout about it on the streets of Melbourne? If you click on this link, you will find all the information you need about your “rights” as a sovereign citizen.
For everyone else, the links below provide information on how to hold a legal protest, including the information you need to provide to the police and the rules on what you can (march peacefully on the streets) and cannot (assault police officers) do:
- Everywhere: The FYA website has great information on the legal right to protest in each state and territory. Check it out here.
- New South Wales: This is a bit complicated. There is a right to protest in New South Wales, based on the common law right to peaceful assembly. However, any protest needs to be authorised by the police or else it is an unlawful assembly and all sorts of bad things can happen to those that participate in an unlawful assembly. Hamilton Janke Lawyers have a perfect summary on their website, so rather than plagiarising it, I encourage you to visit their site.
- Queensland: Public gatherings are legal but you need to notify the police in advance. The form is available on the Event Safe page from the Queensland Police Service.
- Victoria: No permission is required to hold a protest but to minimise issues for everyone involved, and everyone not, it is recommended that you let the police know. Full details are available here.
- Western Australia: The Environmental Defenders’ Office of Western Australia has a great, if gaudily coloured, fact sheet setting out all you need to know to hold a legal protest out west. Read it here.
- South Australia: South Australia does not not allow protests, but it certainly makes it difficult to find out much information on how to legally hold one. Thanks to an arduous Google journey, where I actually had to visit the second page of search results, I found some information on holding a protest in South Australia, which is available here.
- Tasmania: What a surprise. The state that has had large protests against logging old growth forests has very strict, bordering on insultingly harsh, anti-protest laws. You can still hold a protest in Tasmania, though, if you follow the information on the Tasmanian Police website.
- Australian Capital Territory: Generally, there is a legal right to protest on most public land in the Australian Capital Territory. However, as you might expect, holding a protest on or around Parliament House has a whole bunch of additional requirements. Learn more here.
- Northern Territory: Bless the fine people at the Environmental Defenders’ Office. Here they are again, with information on how to legally hold a protest in the Northern Territory.
Legal information for children and young adults
The National Children and Youth Legal Center operates a legal information page at www.lawstuff.org.au, targeted at U25s and U18s. In addition to state-by-state info pages, they also operate a service called Lawmail in which young people can send an email seeking legal advice to the NCYLC and lawyers will provide it. It is a useful (and free) confidential way for kids and young adults to get legitimate legal advice.