Q: How many Australians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One to change the bulb and fifteen to stand around and say “Good on yer, mate!”
Ok, we know this sounds a bit ridiculous – why would it be illegal to change a lightbulb – surely that’s a joke?! And, it is a bit of an internet urban legend, but sure enough; a bit of Googling and you will see some credible sources claiming that once upon a time, in Victoria, it was illegal to change a lightbulb yourself. Presumably this was a safety precaution to prevent electric shocks or unsafe electric wiring, for example in 2007 a man died while changing lightbulbs at his workplace, but a blanket ban on all non-electricians changing lightbulbs does feel overblown – pun intended.
At Energy Makeovers we do have a certified team of electricians, but is it illegal to change a light bulb in Victoria?
Yes, it was illegal to change a light bulb!
Under Victorian law changing a light bulb without a valid license to do so was against the law.
Absurd old-fashioned laws like South Australia’s law against disruption to a wedding are quite fun to poke holes at it looks like this urban legend claiming it’s illegal to replace a light bulb yourself, if you’re not a certified electrician is not legitimate.
A revision to the 1998 Electricity Safety Act, called G17 of the Orders in Council (1999) updated the laws regarding electrical work. And according to a spokeswoman from Energy Safe Victoria: “I can confirm that it is not illegal to change a light bulb in Victoria… While the Electricity Safety Act makes it illegal to do your own electrical work if you are not licensed, changing a light bulb and removing a plug from a socket were specifically exempted” (source).
Did you know touching wires that cause instant death used to attract a fine of $200. We’re still confused about how a policing authority would claim that $200 from the deceased party, but good luck to them.
Interested in more, outdated and, to be honest; funny, Australian laws? News.com.au have a fun list of urban legends/outdated laws here – fun list.