Where Less Would Be A Whole Lot More

The Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Australia, The Honorable Pat Keane recently took a swipe at the federal legislature about the sheer volume of pages of the countries tax laws. His Honour said, in his refreshingly colorful way that opening the Tax Act was “like entering the door to a parallel universe.”

The same thing may be said of the strata laws in this country. I am preparing to give a paper in two weeks on compliance by owners corporations with the various state and federal laws applying to apartment blocks in New South Wales. I am writing it from the perspective of strata records inspectors who are the ones that go from strata managers office-to-office trying to make sense of what has been done and not done in the name of compliance with these laws.

The undergraduates that are helping me with the background research for the paper have so far identified more than 20 federal laws and 75 state laws that we have to consider for New South Wales alone. I have no doubt the count would be similar in other states and territories. The number of laws that make the final cut will be interesting as will the length and breadth of what we expect of our volunteers who run these organizations.

Judges and trained members of the legal profession have enough trouble making sense of these laws. I have sympathy for the managers and owners from whom we expect compliance. I suspect we have reached the point where all the laws now just guarantee non-compliance.

Its time for those of us who care about this universe and who seek to avoid entering parallel ones, to argue passionately that there is more to saving the people from themselves than yet another set of regulations.

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