June 03, 2003


Speeding fines issued by Victorian police have increased by 330% since the Bracks government was elected in 1999. So far this year 76,673 more speed camera fines have been issued than for the same period in 2002.

This is a shakedown. People are being fined for being as little as 3 km/h (less than 2 mph) over the posted limit. And the Melbourne Age takes the government’s side, leading with:

The Bracks Government's crackdown on speeding motorists has resulted in a significant boost in revenue ... rural drivers are the main offenders ...

Disgusting. The article should begin something like this:

The Bracks Government’s doglike perversion has resulted in a significant decline in household budgets ... transport ministers are the main offenders ... smash speeding cameras ... roving gangs ... “liberty or death!” ... head on a stick ...

And then into the second paragraph.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 3, 2003 05:33 AM

May I recommend, er I mean condemn, this UK Speed Camera group Motorists Against Detection (M.A.D.)


Posted by: Wookie at June 3, 2003 at 06:25 AM

Apparently, the first photo-radar cameras in Switzerland ended up getting routinely shot up.

Sadly, that's no longer an option for you guys.

Posted by: Andrew at June 3, 2003 at 07:30 AM

One thing not made clear is what portion of the increase in ticket issuance is attributable to new camera installations. I'd bet my favorite finger the answer is: most or all of it.

It's a bit hard to see how installing these machines to bust drivers for exceeding the posted limit by 3 kph -- or 10 kph -- contributes to public safety.

Posted by: Harry at June 3, 2003 at 07:35 AM

The answer is simple....don't break the speed limit and preserve those valuable funds for that dwindling family budget.

Posted by: Niall at June 3, 2003 at 07:55 AM

Here in the States, a comment like "boost in revenue" means but one thing, speed trap. The issuance of speeding tickets isn't supposed to boost revenue, but rather, to reduce speeding. WTF people!

If they needed to boost revenue, why could they not instead reduce expenditures, like say, oh I don't know...

... not spend goddamn thousands on cameras, photo radar, and all the other nanny-state gizmos perhaps?

Just askin'

Your pal,


Posted by: bob at June 3, 2003 at 09:18 AM

And why is the family budget dwindling Niall ?

Want doesn't agree with huamn rights, its a doctrine bound up with the absolutist notions of government much favoured by france, Germany and Sweden. One is amenable to a compromise , however, on this and only this matter: Australians are free to carry guns and rifles, to defend themselves.As Andrew points out, shooting up radar cameras is nothing less than an act of defence - meeting the strict tests in the criminal application of common law - there is no possibilty of flight from the assailant (Vic.Govt. and its offensive weapons clubbing motorists).

Posted by: d at June 3, 2003 at 09:19 AM

One of the justifications thrown up in favor of photo enforcement is efficiency -- more tickets for less cost to the police. U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia recently expressed a contrary view when he wrote of one ingredient necessary for any democracy to endure; he called it "calculated inefficiency." A government is expected to produce results, but "not without overcoming bothersome obstacles that have intentionally been placed in its path."

When the sheriff has to see you speeding, then get out of his car to hand you a ticket, that's a calculated inefficiency. It keeps speeds reasonable, and reasonably flexible. It keeps the law enforcers out among us, too, and that way they keep their sense of proportion.

Right here.

Posted by: Dylan at June 3, 2003 at 09:29 AM

In NSW Premier Bob Carr has agreed to use all revenue from a particular set of cameras to fund government programs. There is no doubt that speed cameras are purely for revenue collection.

In Victoria our Premier is far less honest and still bleats the "saftey! saftey!" line. Stinging motorists for being as little as 2kmh over any given limit (when the speedos which MEET Australian design rules are unable to measure this amount) is a good demonstration of cynical pick-pocketing by a government unable to responsibly manage its over-committed budget.

Niall, fuck off..

Posted by: Jake D at June 3, 2003 at 10:42 AM

i would not mind much if the driving tax meant that the police had extra funds so that when you really needed them they were available, competent and efficient, eg burglary, drug dealers
but my experience over the last few years in 4 matters shows them to be uncaring and incompetent

Posted by: arnie at June 3, 2003 at 10:43 AM

Sit down brace your self I was let off for speeding a couple of weeks ago in Victoria!!! . The reduction of the residential speeds from 60 to 50 was one of the most gutless moves ever considering the majority car/pedestrian accident are the fault of the pedestrians. In a few years someone will want to reduce to 40.

Posted by: Gary at June 3, 2003 at 10:49 AM

The worst element of the Victorian driver tax system is that entrapment has become the primary method of enforcement. At least in NSW they have these huge signs that read "look moron, here comes a camera, speed, smile and pay if you want to!" on the major highways. Plenty of warning and any fool who speeds deserves what he gets.

But here in Victoria there is no such signage. There are permanent unmanned cameras on roads where speed has been artificially reduced and mobile cameras manned by civilians. Often these mobile cameras are set up at the bottom of hills or innocuous spots where "soccer moms" are driving 53kms in a 50 zone.

Unless you live here you have absolutely no idea of the fear and loathing that Victorians drive under on a daily basis. Having spent most of the early part of this year in the USA it was noticeable on my return how dangerous the driving has become because people continue to stop/start, look out for hidden cameras and look down at their speedo.

The worst spot is the corner of Dandenong Road and Orrong Road on the border between Armadale and North Caulfield. The wise government has installed a permanent, unsigned, unmanned dual speed and red light camera. I drive this road every single day. The speed limit is 70kms. However as you take the bend where Wattletree Road meets Dandenong Road it becomes a sea of wall to wall brake lights as people slow to around 55 or 60 to make sure they don't get nabbed. However what is worse is that as you approach the intersection people completely stop on a green light fearful that they might get nabbed if the light changes on them. Dangerous braking may not result in lives lost but does result in heaps of tailend accidents resulting in damage and injury.

As I say, unless you live here and drive the local suburban roads daily you really have no idea how bad the situation is. It sounds funny and glib comments like "drive within the limit" are easy to type but hard to do in practice when they change limits on a whim to crawling speeds and set traps simply to raise revenue.

As Peggy Noonan wrote and Ronald Reagan said : the ten most dangerous words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you".

Posted by: Driver at June 3, 2003 at 11:07 AM

Gary wrote:

"The reduction of the residential speeds from 60 to 50 was one of the most gutless moves ever considering the majority car/pedestrian accident are the fault of the pedestrians."

I have no idea whether your assertion that most car/pedestrian accidents are the fault of pedestrians - you don't provide a source.

And hey, it seems a little unlikely.

But let's assume that it's true.

It doesn't matter.

If a reduction in speed limit reduces injury and death - which is what its proponents say it does - then it saves money because less people need hospitalisation, health care, government support, etc etc.

If you think that your convenience is more important than saving people's lives, then make that argument.

If you think that lives aren't saved by going at 50 instead of 60, make that argument.

Shit or get off the pot.

Posted by: Bon Scott at June 3, 2003 at 11:51 AM

Hey Joey -- who'd want to get rid of you? Every village needs an idiot.

Posted by: Harry at June 3, 2003 at 11:52 AM

Harry, good line , just insert prison before village - after all, as the communards say these days they live in commun(es)ities and local villages .
Inspired point Dylan , elegantly stated to boot.
One can co

And, following Driver, yes, to drive along Victoria's highways and byways these days one first, on seating behind the rudder, fights down a swamping paranoia sensation. Is their latitude in this to raise damages against Vic.govt. - one will even descend to using one of those quacks, a psychologist, to establish the said condition which, following the charlatans, must be rated as a disease.So, let us see - totalitarian methods, intimidation, and infliction of pain and suffering by the Vic. govt.

Ladies and gentlemen,dare one suggest, before us is the germ of joint action against the Vic.government and on quite a few counts?

Niall, you may ductiley accept a larcenous government sending Victoria to the wall of economic depression once again, but there are others who, having not voted for that renewed experiment - rendering many into stones in order to extract blood, find the latest measures the last straw.

It is time to call upon the G.G. of Victoria to do his constitutional duty and sack the communards.

P.S.Bon Scott, most near hits of pedestrians one has witnessed - a very large number of incidents, and one hit which,unhappily,one also witnessed, each and every incident was due to the pedestrian.
Indeed, along St.Kilda road, some pedestrians seem to make it their trice daily pleasure to play chicken - once on the way to the office, lunching time, home-time.One way to enjoy a daily thrill, to suppose.

Bring back Alan Stockdale, the gentleman has retired too soon.Please, Alan, before, ye gads, its too late.

Posted by: d at June 3, 2003 at 01:11 PM

Being a stupid nanny state, Victoria last year banned smoking while playing the pokies. This led to a 15-25 per cent drop in pokies turnover. Now this could have been a good result had the government dropped spending by the same amount. But hey, we're talking the political descendents of the Albania of the South, here. If you're a Victorian government you never, never, stop spending. Well not until you're thrown out on your arse like that fat ole moll in her polka-dotted dress was in 1992. So, until they've run the state into desperate penuary, it looks as if we have to crawl around in third gear.

Posted by: slatts at June 3, 2003 at 02:19 PM

The local Council built a pedestrian crossing at my kids school it hasn't stoped people from jay walking.So when some one gets hit (adding to the cost of Medicare) they'll just lower the speed limit again instead confronting the people that led to the situation.

Posted by: Gary at June 3, 2003 at 02:45 PM

Brax will reduce the speed limit to 10 if it means more money. They have to pay to stave off bankruptcy somehow.

Posted by: Adam at June 3, 2003 at 05:04 PM

It is interesting to see the conflicting arguments that this brings out. I think the base argument is "does transport (read private transport)do more harm than good?" Of course the answer is overwhelmingly yes so the next question is "what price are we willing to pay (in terms of injuries) for this right?"

We all know deep down that lowering the speed limit will tend to reduce the braking time and impact forces if and when a car is involved in a smash. This will reduce (but not eliminate)the chance of fatal injury.

However I think that the path the victorian government is on to is to actually confront people with this question by imposing stricter and stricter limits on the speed. At what point is it going to stop? No doubt there will be a report which will show that accidents are reduced by 50% if you reduce the limit to 20 kmph? People will no doubt overwhelming throw this out (and the government too if it imposed it).

On the other hand people there are getting the first taste of a police state surveilance. The continual checking of your speed, the fear of getting a ticket, the frustration when you dont know who is watching you and when - this represents another cost you cannot measure in lives but by something else - freedom. How much is that worth? But oh remember it is for the common good..... yeah right....

Posted by: Robert at June 3, 2003 at 05:05 PM

Private transport does more good than harm.It opens up the economy on the count of logistics . It is not a difficult experiment to ponder the implications if things were to the contrary, on this count.Then, there is also the considerable freedom which owning a car provides.

The problem is dangerous driving, deliberate dangerous driving, as opposed to speed.Reasonable drivers tend to drive according to road and traffic conditions, marked by for example, driving below the speed limit up to 10 kms/hr inview of conditions. So speed isn't simply a matter of pressing the pedal to the metal.

There was an interesting paper circulated on the internet - shall try to track it down , to the effect speed differences between drivers is problematic - illuminated by slow drivers occupying fast and over-taking lanes. The application extends beyond multi-lane highyways.The claim in the paper is, the phenomenon in question is a major casual factor
in crashes.

Then there is road design and urban street layout.

But what does Vic government do, whacks up traffic fines and lowers speed limits not just the 50k zones, but also the tolerance levels from 10% to a maximum of 3kms on top.

Dropping speed limits doesn't alter the reasons for crashes. It is all about putting money into a treasury which is being bankrupted by bunglers once again.

The Bracks governmet are a pack of incompetent, moralising , money grabbing communisto farts.Unfortunately, once it is time to clean up another fiscal and economic mess, they will nonethless retire one what is increasingly, in view of such nastiness, overly generous benefits.

A good reform would be, to start with, to render ministers open to criminal charges under: common law and corporations law for malfeasance ,of the last a great deal happens to be legislation introduced by federal labour governments - a nice irony.The measure might not cure the urge to bring about a police state but surely make a good chastener viz the financial reponsibilities of not just cabinet but each and every member of cabinet, on the pertinent counts. It is time to hang 'em high before they screw Victorians one more time.

Posted by: d at June 3, 2003 at 06:51 PM

Here across the great big sea the current Liberal (read conservative) provincial government abolished photo-radar. It was one of the few popular things they have done.

Strangely, the socialist rump in the Legislature has not demanded its reinstatement on either safety or fiscal grounds. There are only the two left ladies left in the Legislature and they both know the road to electoral oblivion has a camera every couple of miles.

Posted by: Jay at June 3, 2003 at 07:16 PM

While Genghis Khan and his hordes of warriors, are putting the frighteners on AB(olshie)C(communard) land, the doughty gentleman might send some cavalry to trample over the dribblers in Spring St.

Posted by: d at June 4, 2003 at 02:02 PM

Drivers who don't trust their speedos and want to preserve their good driving records, drive well under the posted limit, are tailgated, cut-off, and abused. They also, suffer eye strain and stress from constant and repetitious study of speedo, speed signs, rear view mirror and other motorists. They may not get photographed but they will not be safer.

Posted by: Robd at June 4, 2003 at 06:39 PM

Let me put it this way: I live in Victoria, I don't drive and I ride a mountain bike.

It's a cheap mountain bike, with 6 gears. And yet I can still go over 50 if I get a good enough downhill run.

I like to give the photo cameras the finger as I'm going past them as my bicycle lacks any sort of ID plate. I wonder how long it'll be before Bracks has the bright idea of registering bicycles just to mess with me.

Posted by: Korgmeister at June 5, 2003 at 12:45 AM

Driver in car no speed, driver in car no get fine.

Amazing, but true.

Sorry if logic make head of driver hurt. You go sleep now, dream of driving in Nascar. Brrrrm, brrrrm!

Posted by: Adrian Luca at June 5, 2003 at 12:51 AM

If you were the demonic speed freak you make yourself out to be, you'd buy a motorcycle & make like Korgmeister, except doing 180 in a school zone. Only works when approaching camera from front.
You'd also be doing the police a favour - they've been trotting out the same photo of a guy doing this for at least a decade & claiming it was taken "recently" in several different states.
Jay - where is this mythical land? Is it hard to get a visa?

Posted by: Sean at June 5, 2003 at 10:32 AM

Luca, your line bears more than passing semblance to the dick and dora moralising hectoring twaddle spouted by the Spring St.dribblers, daily, 365 days of the year.It has some bearing that some of those dribblers began their post schoolie lives as dumbed down teachers, unionists and the odd cleric whose captive audience and admirers suffer, no doubt, the same affliction. Reatds speaking to retards worsens the condition.

Posted by: d at June 5, 2003 at 10:33 AM

Luca's "reatded" syntax seems to have been deliberate, though.

Posted by: Sean at June 5, 2003 at 03:56 PM

That's because Luca is an idiot.

You see, Luca, when I get a ticket from a "speed camera", I have no way of knowing if I was speeding or not. There is nothing to prevent the government from posting a 60 sign and setting the camera for 50. And there have been several instances here in the States where exactly that has been done.

At least with human cops, they can't ticket EVERY motorist that passes the location. This reduces the rate of theft...

Posted by: SDN at June 7, 2003 at 08:41 PM


Since many American states have local and county deputies who gain their positions purely by virtue of being "Sheriff Lobo's" nephew, I wouldn't be surprised to read that speed cameras are occasionally "fixed" over there.

But I doubt you have much to contribute in a discussion on Victoria or New South Wales' entirely state-based, centralized speed cameras.

Say cheese, pay your fines and fuck off.

Posted by: Adrian Luca at June 9, 2003 at 12:15 AM