Like a lot of other places around the world, Australia has enacted laws relating to pagans and Witches - fortunately for us, in a victory for common sense, the various governments down here have repealed all these bits of legislation. This page details the laws once active.

The Australian Constitution

Section V chapter 116: "The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth."

No religion can be officially recognised and no religion can be outlawed. The federal government can, however, pass laws regarding individual religious bodies.

 

Victoria

Legislation: Section 13 of the Vagrancy Act, 1958 ('Fortune Telling and Pretending to Exercise Witchcraft, etc').

"Any person who pretends or professes to tell fortunes or uses any subtle craft means or device by palmistry or otherwise to defraud or impose on any other person or pretends to exercise or use any kind of witchcraft sorcery enchantment or conjuration or pretends from his skill or knowledge in any occult or crafty science to discover where or in what manner any goods or chattels stolen or lost may be found shall be guilty of an offence."

Status: Repealed in July 2005 with the "Vagrancy (Repeal) and Summary Offences (Amendment) Act, 2005".

 

New South Wales

Legislation: The Witchcraft Act of 1795.

Status: Repealed by the Imperial Acts Application Act, 1969.

 

Australian Capital Territory

Legislation: The Discrimination Act, 1991.

Status: There were a number of pieces of legislation in the ACT concerning the practice of witchcraft, but the advent of the Discrimination Act, 1991 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on the basis of their religion, making any anti-Wiccan legislation unlawful.

 

Queensland

Legislation: Section 432 ('Pretending to exercise witchcraft or fortune telling') of Chapter XL (titled "Obtaining Property by False Pretenses: Cheating") of the Criminal Code of Queensland.

"Any person who pretends to exercise or use any kind of witchcraft, sorcery, enchantment, or conjuration, or undertakes to tell fortunes, or pretends from his skill or knowledge in any occult science to discover where or in what manner anything supposed to have been stolen or lost may be found, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment for one year."

Status: Repealed November 10th, 2000.

Legislation: The Vagrants Gaming and Other Offences Act, 1931.

Status: Recently repealed. Replaced by The Summary Offences Act, 2005.

 

Tasmania

Legislation: Section 46(1) of The Constitution Act, 1934.

Status: Every citizen is guaranteed freedom of religion under this piece of legislation, making any anti-Wiccan legislation unlawful.

 

South Australia

Legislation: The Statutes Amendment and Repeal (Public Offences) Act, 1991

Status: This piece of legislation abolished all witchcraft laws previously enacted in S.A.

 

Western Australia

Relevant Acts contain no legislation governing religious practices.

 

Northern Territory

Relevant Acts (such as Northern Territory Criminal Code, 1983 and the Summary Offences Act, 1923) contain no legislation governing religious practices.

 

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