Legal nuances

Posted: June 17, 2009 in Uncategorized

I have learned two things in the past couple days about Australian law / bureaucracy that I find more amusing than anything.

1) On my way to the airport when I went to Brisbane, I forgot to leave my pocketknife in my desk, and had someone leaving work at the same time hold on to it and put it on my desk the next day. He looked at me like I was asking him to smuggle a half ton of coke, but took it and hid it in his bag. Talking to him yesterday, he apparently asked a friend in the police about carrying knives, and confirmed it is technically illegal to carry a pocketknife of any size or kind here. It’s considered a “concealed weapon”, even my little 2″ folder I bought at a gas station in CO. Coming from a state where pocketknives are about as common as belts, this is needless to say rather odd to me.

2) Now that my currently issued OR drivers license is more than 3 years old, I gave another try at obtaining an Australian drivers license. This was something like my 4th attempt, since I’d been denied by some subtle detail over and over by various disinterested government workers, but this time I had all my paperwork in order. I was set. Except when the lady behind the counter informed me that, as a non-resident, regardless of when my visa was issued, I have to have stayed in the country for at least 6 months consecutively before I can be eligible for a NSW drivers license.

Since I moved here, I have never been in the country for more than 3 months consecutively, let alone 6, and don’t imagine that will change anytime soon.

On the plus side, I can apparently drive both a car and a motorcycle on my OR license in this country for as long as I have a valid visa, so all this time I thought I was surreptitiously driving on a flimsy excuse, I was actually completely legal. So, while I would’ve liked to have a local drivers license for the novelty, I’m happy to keep my legal presence here quite basic.

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Comments
  1. tokori says:

    Since I moved here, I have never been in the country for more than 3 months consecutively, let alone 6, and don’t imagine that will change anytime soon.
    Austria has the same rule but i have to take this mechanical test in german as well. when i explained I dont stay here for 6months at a time, she suggested I just renew my US licenses.

    • Reuben says:

      That’s my plan at this point. Since I can keep driving on my US license, which doesn’t expire for another 4 years, why make it more complicated?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Since I moved here, I have never been in the country for more than 3 months consecutively, let alone 6, and don’t imagine that will change anytime soon.

    Austria has the same rule but i have to take this mechanical test in german as well. when i explained I dont stay here for 6months at a time, she suggested I just renew my US licenses.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s my plan at this point. Since I can keep driving on my US license, which doesn’t expire for another 4 years, why make it more complicated?

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