EDITORIAL: Is the big stick stirring the hornets nest?

By: Chris Smith


A new law to deter rock throwers in New South Wales may be a lousy smoke screen. Severe laws already exist

A new law to deter rock throwers in New South Wales may be a lousy smoke screen.

Severe laws already exist which seemingly have no effect in stopping busses getting pelted with rocks and other projectiles.

Projectile throwers already face tough penalties, including:
  • Malicious damage, which carries up to five years in prison;
  • Malicious damage with intent to cause bodily injury, which carries a sentence of seven years in prison;
  • Affray which carries a sentence of 10 years in prison;
  • Malicious damage with intent to endanger life, which carries a penalty of up to 25 years prison.


Rock attacks on buses have dominated the media of late with some suburbs declared no-go-zones.

The NSW Government will legislate to make the mere act of throwing a rock at a vehicle a crime, regardless of whether you hit it or not.

The offence tabled to NSW Parliament will apply to any person who intentionally throws or drops an object on or toward a vehicle or vessel on a road, rail or waterway.

The new offence will be introduced to the State Parliament in coming weeks and will carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

We will now have five avenues in NSW to prosecute a rock thrower, which in theory is great for the perception of law and order but misses the mark because it still doesn’t address the cause.

Has anyone actually asked these people why they are throwing rocks at buses or other vehicles?

The government should be conducting a study to find the reasons and put in some preventative and educational programs.

The big stick obviously hasn’t worked and only stirred up the hornets' nest.

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