16 June 2010

Do you know your Australian Road Rules - Goodna Police set the record straight at last!

How well do you know the Australian Road Rules?; or

How the lack of horse stables kept Paul Tully out of jail!

Take a close look at the accompanying picture which shows a single, continuous white centre line in Queen Street Goodna between Mercy Lane and Alice Street.

Can you legally cross this line to overtake another vehicle - No.

Can you legally cross this line to drive into private property such at The Coffee Club at 12 Queen St Goodna or Cr Paul Tully's office at 18 Queen St Goodna - Yes.

Are you surprised that you didn't know that the law had actually changed in Queensland in 1999.

Well, you are in good company.

Until 3 months ago, police were advising local businesses in Queen Street Goodna and other organisations such as the Redbank State School that it was illegal to undertake this manoeuvre.

They told Cr Tully that he was wrong and the Police were right - which is like waving 100 red rags to a raging bull, in the case of Cr Tully.

They were demanding that Cr Tully get rid of the single, continuous white line for fear of being booked for simply driving into or out of their properties.

The last real challenge Paul Tully had with the Goodna Police was in 1989 when the National Party State Government wanted to establish a radioactive waste dump at Smith Street Redbank.

After he walked on the site to protest against the proposal, he was arrested by over-zealous, under-worked police who charged him with being a "vagrant" under the Queensland Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act 1931 because he was allegedly found "without lawful excuse on an enclosed yard, garden or area".

His years of training for a Law Degree at the University of Queensland had refined Paul Tully's intimate knowledge of the most obscure provisions of Australian law.

He recalled that the 1931 Queensland Act was based on the English Vagrancy Act of 1824 and that in order to secure a conviction under that legislation  the police would have to prove there were horse stables on the land - which was going to be impossible as it was vacant bushland.

He conducted his own defence and asked the arresting police officer just 3 questions:

  •  How many times have you been to the land?
  •  Is it vacant land?
  •  Are there any horse stables on the land?

The police witness was gobsmacked with such an easy cross-examination but you could have poked a police truncheon in his mouth when the magistrate announced Tully was "Not Guilty" because he had proved there were no horse stables on the land and that he had had a lawful excuse to enter the property as an Ipswich City Councillor.

Imagine using a 165 year old English law to beat a Queensland police rap!

Now, back to the continuous, white lines in Queen Street Goodna and the rest of Queensland.

Paul Tully has obtained a letter from Snr Sgt Greg Shaw of the Goodna Police, whom he thanks profusely, for confirming that drivers may cross a single continuous centre line to enter or leave private property. A copy of the letter accompanies this article.

Paul Tully says he is lucky to strike 1 driver in 100 who is aware of this law.

Now, for your third Australian Road Rules test.

Can you cross a single, continuous white line which also has a broken dotted line (on either side) to enter or leave private property? - Yes, this situation is exactly the same as the single, continuous line situation, described above.

So next time the police are about to book you for crossing a single centre line into or from private property, tell them to call Cr Paul Tully first.

But remember, you cannot overtake another vehicle where there is a single continuous centre line. The law allows a single continuous centre line to be crossed only to enter or leave private property or another road.

Happy driving!

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