A stain on most licensed venues, Queensland is clamping down on public urination, fighting back with the Offenses Act and talk of pee-repellent paint.
The issue of people relieving themselves in public has long been associated with the night-time drinking culture. And surprisingly enough, several States do not actually have a law against it.
However, Section 7 of Queensland’s Summary Offences Act prevents it in places ‘not designated a toilet’, with offenders potentially prosecuted. Under the law, “evidence that liquid was seen to be discharged from the vicinity of a person’s pelvic area is enough evidence that the person was urinating”.
Queensland Hotels Association (QHA) CEO Justin O’Connor cites that the issue has spiked in the past five years in the high density entertainment precincts, and the fact that only hotel licences were required to provide toilet facilities goes to the heart of the problem.
“Our basic common sense approach is if businesses are putting liquid into a person, they should have a capacity to take liquid out of a person,” said O’Connor.
Discussion of the topic has brought about Gold Coast Council’s contemplation of a product used in Germany: a paint that is applied to city walls that repels urine and theoretically splashes it back on the provider.
This does, of course, nothing to alleviate the problem of a lack of toilets, and there have been a number of instances of people charged and even sustaining convictions for the ‘crime’ even though they have attempted to be discreet.
New South Wales and Victoria don’t have a law prohibiting relieving – when justifiable. Several sources quote an archaic but potentially handy law that says urination on the kerb-side rear tyre of a vehicle is permitted in the absence of a urinal. It does not specify if this applies to one gender or both.
In South Australia it is detailed as an offence to urinate or defecate in any public place not specifically made for that purpose. Maximum penalty is $250, but with no conviction.
In Western Australia a person can be charged with “disorderly conduct” for urinating publicly. Examples of such convictions have attracted fines over $500.
Answering the call of nature in a public place is taken a lot more seriously in some countries, particularly the USA, where it is illegal in every State. Prosecutors may also allege defendants constitute a public nuisance or are guilty of disorderly conduct.
Harsher still, some US counties can charge defendants with indecent exposure or public lewdness, which may require the perpetrator if found guilty to register as a sex offender.