The UK’s new laws to outlaw topless-shopping on public transport, pavements, buses and trams are already making headlines.
Now the Government is looking to tackle the issue with an even more draconian law.
The new laws, which will come into force from July 1, will also make it a criminal offence to take a photo of anyone topless on public land.
The proposed new legislation comes just days after a photo posted on social media showed a woman in a bikini on the streets of the capital city of Melbourne.
The photo sparked outrage on social networking sites, with many users accusing the woman of being a prostitute and encouraging others to do the same.
But police said they were not investigating the woman’s actions and had not been contacted by the media.
The Victorian Government has not yet commented on the proposed law, which has been criticised by some of the country’s leading experts on gender equality.
Opposition Leader Simon Birmingham said it would not be the first time the Government has legislated to crack down on toplessness.
“This is not a new law, it is a whole new level of discrimination that is happening,” he said.
“It is a new and appalling level of behaviour, which goes to show that it is not just a matter of freedom of expression, it’s a matter about discrimination.”
Mr Birmingham said the new laws would force businesses to stop offering topless service and would force some women to change their clothing.
“If you are an independent business and you want to advertise topless in your shop, then you have to stop doing it, and we are going to put a stop to that, and you can’t advertise to any other business that you think you might be able to do it,” he told reporters.
“And I think this is a really important issue that is going to be a big part of our election campaign.”
He said he believed it would be “a great issue for our young people” and would help reduce crime.
“I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed, it needs to go through the legal system and I think it will happen,” he added.
“The law will be there for the people to look up and see what is acceptable in terms of acceptable behaviour and then we will deal with it.”
Victoria’s new ban on toshamersVictoria’s laws banning the wearing of toshamas or topless clothing on public property include:Any person who knowingly or intentionally takes or causes to be taken topless, in or on a public way, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of $2,500 or imprisonment for a term of up to five years.
An offence is deemed to be an offence for which a penalty is not provided unless the offence involves a public place or a public occasion.
The Government is also proposing to criminalise public nudity in public.
“Public nudity is unlawful where it is reasonably believed to be offensive to any person,” the Government’s statement said.
The statement added that the new law would apply to those who take or cause to be done topless photographs or videos.
“In order to be guilty of this offence, it must have been committed in public and must have taken place in a public or public place,” the statement said, adding that anyone who is found guilty of public nudity would be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or imprisonment.
The bill has been described as a “tough nut to crack” by the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, which warned that it would lead to “significant problems” for businesses.
The commission said the proposed new laws could make it easier for young people to break the law.
“We have seen many young people with little or no experience with topless behaviour and those that do get into trouble with the law often go on to repeat the offence and make it into a bigger offence,” said the commission’s CEO and acting director, Sarah Williams.
“A young person is not likely to be arrested for topless photography or video but instead will be required to demonstrate that the act they have done was in a “public place”.”
We are very concerned about this legislation which will make it very difficult for young Australians to gain a legitimate business license and access to a valid social media platform,” she added.
Topics:law-crime-and-justice,women,courts-and‑trials,community-and‐society,public-sector,crime,britain,melbourne-3000,vic,france,australiaFirst posted March 01, 2019 18:00:23Contact Julie TaylorMore stories from Victoria