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New Aussie law says $#!%@ to swearing

Time once again for a look at legal news from Down Under.

Police in Victoria, Australia’s second largest state, will soon be able to fine people up to $240 Australian dollars for using “indecent, disorderly, offensive or threatening language.” (That’s about $257 U.S. dollars.) The law’s definition of public place is pretty broad and includes stadiums, roads and theaters.

As The Age in Melbourne reported: “To put it bluntly, we’re all f—ed.”

Government officials said violators would receive a ticket similar to a parking or speeding fine. This would “lower the police workload by allowing them to issue fines instead of tackling bad language using the court system,” according to The Age.

Swearing actually has been a crime in Victoria for 45 years. It carries a maximum jail sentence of two years and someone can be charged even if no one else is present to hear it. But the renewed enforcement effort is being criticized by the Australian punditry, with some arguing it will disproportionately affect minorities and juveniles and others saying the law is being used primarily for political gain.

We’ll let you know once the inevitable civil liberties lawsuit is filed against the new law. In the meantime, please enjoy the Australian Justin Bieber.