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Ask LH: Can I Legally Use Airsoft Guns If I Modify Them To Look Like Toys?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve been trying to find info on Airsoft and realistic firearm laws in Australia. My question is, if I were to custom make an Airsoft gun that didn’t bear resemblance to an actual gun, what would happen? My intended design would make it look similar to a paintball marker and wouldn’t fool anybody into thinking it was real. Will I still get fined?


Is NSW's Decision To Ban Hands-Free Phones For P-Platers Clever Or Dumb?

From December 1, all provisional licence holders in NSW will be banned from using their phones in any way while driving. This includes accessing GPS applications while the phone is secured in a hands-free cradle. The state government is hoping this blanket ban will reduce fatalities among new drivers who are statistically eight times more likely to have a car accident than fully licenced drivers. Is this a win for road safety or will it just lead to even more problems?


Is It Legal For Police To Search Your Phone?

Consider the following scenarios: A police officer stops you on the street and asks you to empty your pockets. A police officer stops you in your car and asks to search you and the vehicle. Regardless of nearly all factors, one of the items recovered will inevitably be a mobile phone. But in what circumstances can police search your phone? Must they obtain a search warrant? And what will happen if you refuse to provide your passcode or fingerprint required to access your phone? Let’s find out.


Is It Legal To Not Report A Crime?

Let’s say you have information about a serious crime that, for whatever reason, you don’t wish to disclose to police. Perhaps you fear repercussions from the perpetrator, have close ties to one of the guilty parties or were told about the crime in confidence long after it had been committed. Is it legal to hold your tongue and pretend you saw/heard nothing?


Ask LH: Can Cops Fine Me For A Traffic Offence Without Any Proof?

Dear Lifehacker, I was recently disqualified from driving for six months and haven’t driven my car since. The other day, the police rocked up to my house out of the blue, handed me a fine for unlicensed driving and confiscated my plates for seven days. I stood in front of my plates and demanded they show me proof, but they just threatened to lock me up if I didn’t stand aside. Is this allowed?


The Mafia In Australia: What You Need To Know

The shooting murder in Melbourne this week of Joseph Acquaro, a lawyer with links to the Calabrian mafia in Australia, has brought the activities of a group that largely operates under the public radar back into the spotlight. But exactly what role does the mafia play in organised crime? And should Australian law enforcement agencies be reassessing their priorities?


Ask LH: Do Highway Police Need To Meet Ticket Quotas?

Dear Lifehacker, It was recently reported in the news that a highway patrolman was caught writing fake speeding tickets to meet his monthly quota. Is this practice widespread in the Australian police force? If so, what’s to stop people getting slugged with unfair fines on quiet months?


Five Things I Learned From Being A Pickpocket Victim

Yesterday afternoon, while boarding a train at Circular Quay station, a stranger plucked my wallet straight out of my back pocket. I never felt a thing. Within ten minutes, they had already used my credit card to make a fraudulent transaction. Here are five hard lessons that the experience taught me.


Texting While Driving Will Cost You Six Demerit Points In NSW This Christmas

To paraphrase those old road safety ads, if you text and drive, you’re a bloody idiot. Thankfully, the punishment for this crime is about to be doubled in NSW. During this year’s holiday period, anyone caught using their phone behind the wheel in NSW will receive six demerit points on their licence — up from the current penalty of three points. This means you will effectively lose half your full licence in one fell swoop. Hope that Facebook status update was worth it.


Ask LH: Are Police Allowed To Harass Me On My Property?

Dear Lifehacker, Last night, I was driving home at 3am on a provisional licence. As I entered my driveway the police pulled up and started grilling me about why I was driving outside of the P plate curfew. I have an exemption for work which I immediately showed to them. They subsequently couldn’t fine me for driving after hours, but then they noticed my back P plate had fallen down (it fell down as I went over the bump in my driveway). So they fined me for that instead. Was just wondering if what they did was allowed, coming onto my property and all that?


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