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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: I’m Fine

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MandyNolan-2016-DonatellaParisiniYou better do what you’re told. If not, someone will fine you. If you don’t pay the fine we double it. Then we double it again. Then we send the State Debt Recovery Office (must be a hoot working there) and then we take your driver licence. Even if it was a fine for not wearing a bicycle helmet.

How random and unrelated. It’s like threatening to take one of the kids. We are all civil hostages to the bureacratic terrorism used to extract undisclosed ‘taxes’ in the form of fines. If you are really really naughty, like non-compliant in paying your fine for non-compliance, then sometimes we’ll even send you to jail. That’s how we punish people in our over-regulated over-compliance-focused society. We employ punitive damages in the form of nasty little fines.

I currently have two outstanding letters of demand for road tolls in the form of ‘Demand Notice for Non-Payment of Toll’. It would appear that on the 30th of April at 12.33.50 I was travelling at Kuraby South and didn’t pay my $2.54 toll. This oversight now costs $25.61. I have one ten minutes later for a $1.64 toll that is now at $24.71. If I don’t pay them today, each one will incur a fine of $140 each, under section 99 of ‘the Act’. What fucking act? The ‘although you pay taxes for maintaining roads we also reserve the right to sell sections to private corporations who profiteer through what I call ‘The Road Toll Extortion Scheme’?

I find it hard to pay these fines. Not from lack of funds – because of principle. Sure there’s a nice picture of my car’s arse which is somehow meant to depict me stealing $1.64 worth of road time, but now I owe $50 for 10 minutes of pleasure in Loganlea East. (Which is ironic because that’s how much I made in Loganlea West actually giving pleasure.)

When it comes to infringement notices, the one I accidentally opened yesterday takes the cake. It wasn’t mine. I will keep the identity of the owner confidential. Sure, I probably shouldn’t be writing about it but I didn’t even know an infringement of this type existed.

On this very scary letter from the Department of Transport a certain young man was issued with a ‘3205’. Or for those not up to date with the thousands of non-compliant behaviours you can commit on public transport – the ‘offence’ was described in detail and, I should add, in caps-lock. Like an angry transport marshall dude screaming at you. The infringement reads: ‘PLACING FEET OTHER THAN ON THE FLOOR OR PART OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT VEHICLE DESIGNED FOR PLACING FEET WITHOUT REASONABLE EXCUSE’. What does that even mean? Why couldn’t they have said ‘FOR PUTTING YOUR SKANKY FEET ON THE SEAT YOU MISERABLE LOW-DOWN PUBLIC TRANSPORT-USING FUCKER’.

And, what, one wonders, would the good people at the Department of Transport consider to be a ‘reasonable excuse’? ‘My foot was on fire, sir’ or ‘There was hot lava on the floor and I had to lift my feet to avoid being burned alive’. People are dying at sea by the thousands and we’re fining people for putting feet in places other than the floor? What about a fine for people using brains for things other than rational thinking?

This infringement, which I imagine is slightly less serious than 3206: ‘DISPLAYING COCK IN PART OF THE TRANSPORT VEHICLE NOT ACTUALLY DESIGNED FOR DISPLAYING COCK WITHOUT REASONABLE EXCUSE’ but more serious than 3204, one I would be happy to see enforced more regularly: ‘SITTING UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE TO FELLOW PASSENGER AND ENGAGING IN BORING AND RELENTLESS CRAZY-ARSE CONVERSATION’.

The Transport Infringement Notice comes with a warning: ‘Do Not Ignore This Notice’. Clearly non-payment of the $228 fine will result in incarceration. Imagine having to confess that to your fellow inmates who are in the slammer for drug trafficking, rape and murder. And what about you, mate, what are you in for?

‘PLACING FEET OTHER THAN ON THE FLOOR OR PART OF PUBLIC TRANSPORT VEHICLE WITHOUT REASONABLE EXCUSE.’

Feet-on-the-seat boy gunna learn him to keep feet on the floor.


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