Australia News

New offensive conduct laws introduced in Victoria after Eastern Freeway tragedy

New laws criminalising grossly offensive conduct have been introduced into Victoria’s parliament today in direct response to the 2020 Eastern Freeway tragedy.

Four police officers died after a truck ploughed into them while they were detaining driver Richard Pusey for speeding offences.

After the crash, Pusey filmed the dying officers while making vulgar commentary and later posted the video on Facebook.

He was ultimately sentenced to 10 months’ jail after pleading guilty to outraging public decency, drug possession, reckless conduct endangering serious injury and speeding.

Only three months of his sentence was related to his actions in filming the dying officers.

Victoria’s Attorney General Jaclyn Symes said the new laws target grossly offensive behaviour with jail time of up to five years.

“What we had in the Eastern Freeway tragedy was conduct that Victorians we’re appalled by, and what we found was there wasn’t really an offence that fit that behaviour,” she said.

“What it exposed, that behaviour, was that there was a gap in statute laws and I want to fix it.

“It’s not designed to target low-level offensive behaviour. In Victoria we have very high thresholds for offensive language, offensive behaviour.”