RE: Nudity laws in Australia (Victoria)
Regarding nudity laws the State of Victoria, Australia.
I would like to apologise in advance for the length of this post, but this in an important question, and there's a lot of miss-information regarding nudity laws in Australia. I'm starting with my home State of Victoria, bit I hope to cover the legal situation the other States and Territories in future posts.
Just to clear up a couple of things.
1) It is not an offence to be naked in your backyard, or anywhere else in Victoria, unless you can be seen from a public place (see below). It does not matter if you can be seen by your neighbours from adjoining private property, unless they are defined as being a public place.
2) There is no legislation regarding views, fence heights, fixed screens or anything else in relation to nudity on ones private property. Whilst the specifics of fencing and other construction features may be specified by local council as a condition of a building permit, this simply relates to development applications and has nothing to do with being naked in ones backyard.
There are two key pieces of legislation related to nudity in Victoria. They are:-
i) Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 1983, and the
ii ) Summary Offences Act 1966
i) The Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 1983, defines the means by which a minister can prescribe, or revoke an area in which nudity is permitted, and a legal exemption for persons naked in these prescribed areas. Victoria's four legal clothing optional beaches fall under this legislation.
ii) Prosecutions regarding nudity fall under The Summary Offences Act 1966, Section 19, Obscene exposure. From the Act,
"A person must not wilfully and obscenely expose the genital area of his or her body in, or within the view of, a public place. Penalty: 2 years imprisonment"
The key to this legislation is the definition of a public place, which is defined in section 3 of the Summary Offences Act. From the Act, the definition of a public place is:-
(a) any public highway road street bridge footway footpath court alley
passage or thoroughfare notwithstanding that it may be formed on
(b) any park garden reserve or other place of public recreation or resort;
(c) any railway station platform or carriage;
(d) any wharf pier or jetty;
(e) any passenger ship or boat plying for hire;
(f) any public vehicle plying for hire;
(g) any church or chapel open to the public or any other building where
divine service is being publicly held;
(h) any Government school or the land or premises in connexion therewith;
(i) any public hall theatre or room while members of the public are in
attendance at, or are assembling for or departing from, a public
entertainment or meeting therein;
(j) any market;
(k) any auction room or mart or place while a sale by auction is there
(l) any licensed premises or authorised premises within the meaning of the
Liquor Control Reform Act 1998;
(m) any race-course cricket ground football ground or other such place
while members of the public are present or are permitted to have
access thereto whether with or without payment for admission;
(n) any place of public resort;
(o) any open place to which the public whether upon or without payment for
admittance have or are permitted to have access; or
(p) any public place within the meaning of the words "public place" whether by
virtue of this Act or otherwise;
As you can see from above, being nude, in view from your neighbours
private property, unless they fall within the definition of a public
place above, is not an offence. I hope this clears up any confusion.
If you have any or queries, or comments, don't hesitate to message me.
Nudity (Prescribed Areas) Act 1983, VIC
The Summary Offences Act 1966, VIC