Sunday, June 27, 2004

Your tax-dollars, over-worked

Last week, both chambers of the Australian Parliament sat a couple of marathon sessions (including what was apparently only the fourth time the House of Representatives has ever sat on a Saturday according to the ABC) to clear the decks before…,um, no reason. You know, just keeping busy.

You might like to know some of the output of that fevered legislative jelly-wrestling… And so I present several of the lesser known Bills which made it onto the Statute books in the early hours late last week (and remember, ignorance of the law is no defence):

Workplace Relations (Non-Traditional Hospital Employees) Amendment Act 2004: outlaws the presence of circus clowns and fire-men during open-heart surgery. (Note: exceptions exist for those who only perform as clowns at hospital ‘annual religious observance ceremonies’, those legitimately ‘considering career transition’ and patients.)

Aviation Navigation (Animals) Amendment Act 2004: adds domestic pets such as cats, dogs, goldfish and turtles to the list in Division IX as ‘persons who are presumed to be ineligible for a licence to pilot a small aircraft.’ However, section 214 operates as normal, that is, such persons may become ‘so qualified’ following an ‘approved course of study lasting not less than four years’.

Australian Yellow Citrus Commision Establishment Act 2004: establishes a new body under the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio, the Australian Yellow Citrus Commission (AYCC). The AYCC will be tasked with the regulation of grapefruit production, dissemination and consumption (lemons being already regulated by the Australia and New Zealand Strong-Tasting Foods Authority). The Act further provides that where a grape-fruit has been certified as ‘excessively sour’, it may not be served at any breakfast (defined as the ‘first diurnal nutrition opportunity’) in Australia including all external territories.

The AYYC takes its place alongside the Australian Blood Orange Agency, the Bureau of Navel Orange Liaison and Development, Cumquats Australia and the National Marmalade Office.

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