Australia Day is just around the corner, and millions of locals are preparing to party both here and overseas with the key calendar date set to be celebrated with formal and informal events across the world.
In the US, Australia Day is celebrated over two weeks, starting with the annual G’Day USA Australia Week festivities across cities. The UK is also known to go off, with London being one of the biggest expat hubs in the world, while Whistler in Canada is often referred to as ‘Whistralia’ thanks to its large population of Aussie workers.
Claudio Saita, Deputy CEO and Executive Director in Australia for Tokio Marine, underwriters for awardwinning World2Cover travel insurance, said that while the day is celebrated widely, the price of “Aussie” antics abroad can be far more than a few dodgy Facebook photos.
“Breaking the law of the country you’re in can invalidate your insurance, leaving a potentially serious financial shortfall should anything go wrong. For example, a night in intensive care in Canada can cost upwards of $5,0001 , and the popular destination of Bali costing over $8002 a night.
“When travelling overseas, our national day can feel far more important to nomadic Aussies than it would at home, where they may simply mark the day with a barbeque while listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100. This can see celebrations escalate but it’s important to remember that ‘shoey’ shots and other antics that may be tolerable at home can land you in major trouble and out of pocket.”
Whether you’re overseas or interstate this year, the team at World2Cover has provided tips on the best ways to stay out of trouble.
1. Barbeques – A traditional Aussie barbeque is a rite of passage for most on Australia Day, but if you’re in India you might want to stick to throwing shrimp on the barbie rather than a burger. In northern India, cow slaughter is illegal in all the states, and can even carry a prison sentence of 10 years in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, and Jharkhand, 3 or five years in prison and a fine of RS10,000 ($197) in Mumbai – even if in your own home or a five-star hotel.
2. Fireworks – In Finland and Norway, fireworks are only allowed to be set off on New Year’s Eve, and in the US the laws governing consumer fireworks vary widely from state to state. Ireland and Chile have the toughest laws of all, with all type 2 fireworks, aka ‘garden fireworks’, only to be seen in professional shows. In Ireland alone, you can be fined up to €10,000 ($14,200) if you are convicted of having illegal fireworks in your possession.
3. Wearing the Australian flag – If travelling interstate, it’s worth noting that wearing the Australian flag is not “against the law” in our country, however event organisers are within their rights to ban you from a venue if you refuse to follow their house rules. In 2015, both NSW and QLD provided 1 Queensway Carleton Hospital 2 Royal Bali Hospital 3 Indian Express 4 Times of India 5 The Journal crowd control during public celebrations, asking anyone wearing an Australian flag as a cape to remove it citing “Tasers, pepper spray, handcuffs, whatever it takes,” to remove the offending accessory. It could also cost you up to $220 in Queensland if you’re arrested for being drunk and disorderly.
4. Offending the locals – It’s no secret that lawyers can be expensive, with costs of up to Rm2,000 ($600) per court appearance in Kuala Lumpur. 7 The infamous budgie smuggler nine in Malaysia are a prime example of how being a general nuisance can land you in seriously hot water, with section 294(a) of the Malaysian Penal Code stating: “Whoever, to the annoyance of others: (a) does any obscene act in any public place; or (b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine or with both.”
5. Hit the beach – Visiting the beach is a true blue Aussie tradition, but be warned breaking beach-time rules can be bad for your wallet. For example, in Italy it is now illegal to save your spot on the sand, with the coastguards confiscating any beach chairs and loungers left overnight, and issuing fines of €200 ($284) in some parts of the country.