Obeying the law
It’s important to remember that when you’re living in Australia you need to be aware of, and follow local laws and rules.
Being granted a student visa includes signing a document called the Australian Values Statement; the student agrees to respect the values and to obey the laws of Australia during their stay. Failure to comply with Australian laws (including state and territory laws) can result in a fine or the cancellation of the visa and possible deportation. And conviction of a serious crime it can result in imprisonment. There is a comprehensive outline of Australian law and the legal system at https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides
Australia is a safe and secure study destination with a very low crime rate. However, as with anywhere in the world, it is important to always be alert and aware of your surroundings and to avoid dangerous areas and activities, particularly at night.
The activities surrounding a public place can vary through the course of the day. It may be busy at certain times and isolated at others. It may be different during the day than it is at night. These differences can have a very different impact on the way you feel when you are in them. Being in a place when it is busy is very different from when the place is isolated. There is often no reason to be afraid, but – be alert, be aware, and be careful.
Public transport in Australia is comparatively safe. However you should still exercise the same caution as you would at home.
- Keep your belongings close to you and know where they are at all times.
- Keep valuables, like your wallet, in a safe place.
- If you’re travelling at night, travel with friends if possible and sit close to the driver.
- Where possible, stay in well-lit, busy areas when walking between train or bus stations and your home.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, including where your fellow passengers are sitting.
- If someone is making you uncomfortable or goes so far as to threaten you, tell the driver, use the emergency button or lever to stop the vehicle or call for help.
- Always be alert at train stations, tram and bus stops.
- Never hang around train stations or bus stations at night. If you must use public transport at night, check the timetable and try to arrive right before the train or bus to minimise the amount of time you spend waiting.
- Train carriages nearest the drivers are left open and lit.
In most cases, taxis are a safe way of getting home at night. However, as with all forms of public transport, passengers need to be alert.
Australia’s emergency phone number is 000 (zero zero zero), which is a free call from every phone in Australia, including mobile phones. (Please note that many newer digital phones require the user to dial 112, the international standard emergency number. Consult your mobile phone carrier if you are not sure how to access the 000 emergency phone number.)
You should call 000 if you are in a life-threatening situation and need the help of the police, fire brigade or ambulance service. This includes if you are witnessing a crime in progress. However, do not call 000 if it is not an emergency, for example if you have a cold and need to see a doctor, if you are lost and need directions, or if you are locked out of your house.
When you call 000, if you cannot speak English well, you must first tell the operator what kind of help you need (police, fire or ambulance) and then say your language. You will be connected to the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) directly, so do not hang up. The TIS National interpreter will then help the police, fire or ambulance service to obtain your address and other details.
While you are waiting for help to arrive, try to stay calm and don’t do anything that will put yourself or others in danger. Generally, help will arrive very quickly and it is best to leave these situations to the people who are trained to deal with them.