Why aren't fines based on % networth instead of a set amount based on infringement?

I was listening to a podcast the other day about how fines affect the common man, and are geared towards leeching money out of us normies. The rich don't really give a rat's a** about paying fines because it would probably be a drop in the bucket for them.

They then went on to suggest that maybe a %net worth fine would be more effective in a society such as ours, where income declaration and other aspects are pretty transparent and advanced.

What are some of your thoughts? Do you think our fine system in Australia is fair today? Do you think it can be improved?


  • +91 votes

    Yep the rich don't give a rats. But the opposite will be true. If you have nothing then you can offend to your hearts comtent and never be punished.

    So whats your point. Life cant and wont be fair.

    Stop worrying about those who get away and just do the best for yourself.

    Live life and make the best of what you have.

    Life is about creating from what you have, not being the richest especially when its been created by someone else.

    I feel a sorry for those born with everything as iots harder to make something of themselves than someone born with nothing, as they can truly say they created it all.

    • -31 votes

      It's not about those who get away I guess. I'm more concerned about legislation I think.

      Who is taken into account when it is decided that X amount of money should be fined for a particular infringement?

      If we take a look at single moms we would probably be inclined to lower that amount. But if we take a look at the mean we would probably be inclined to take the mean.

      But if a single mom living below her means gets slapped with a 'mean' fine… Do you think it's fair? or would a % networth fine be fairer here?

      • +26 votes

        We only have mum's in Australia, so Australian law probably won't apply to the single mom.

      • +59 votes

        Look Karl reincarnated.

        You have this idealist viewpoint that everyone who is rich got there unfairly, and everyone who is poor has been hard done by.

        While true for some its not for all.

        Some kids get money and save for a rainy day, others spend and enjoy it now. Then later someone comes along and says hey you have some money, therefore you are rich, now share it with your brothers/sisters. How is that fair?

        You are trying in a very simple way to make things "fair" when life is so much more complicated than that.

        You think our Tax system is easy? it has been built upon attempts to make things "fair" but then some creative beings come along and work out how to "game" the system.

        Take your fines. Hey if you are going to be fined $50K for speeding where as your employee would only be fined $40, it doesnt take long to encourage your employee to take the wrap for say $2K gift. You save $48K the employee makes $1960. (And maybe more if they are a good negotiator)

        Hell look here at Ozbargain and see how creative souls find out a flaw in any deal/offering and they drive a truck through it.

        Its all about who we are, "Creative Beings" we thrive on working out how to make things easier, faster, better etc We designed computers, phones, ploughs, cooking tools etc etc.

        How old are you? get a little life experience outside a few cloistered education institutions,

        • -25 votes

          'Some kids get money and save for a rainy day, others spend and enjoy it now. Then later someone comes along and says hey you have some money, therefore you are rich, now share it with your brothers/sisters. How is that fair?'

          You're thinking of it as some sort of punishment that everyone will pay for at some point in their life.

          I'm thinking of it in terms of a fair deterrent. It's not something that you pay for all the time like groceries. You don't infringe, you don't pay. It's that simple.

          The point that I'm trying to make is that it discourages everyone EQUALLY.

          'How old are you? get a little life experience outside a few cloistered education institutions'

          Also, there's literally no reason for you to resort to insults like these. It just shows how petty you are.

          • +7 votes


            'How old are you? get a little life experience outside a few cloistered education institutions"

            That wasn't intended as an insult. Your comments in this and in response to others are based on very simple concepts. My point was that life is very complex. Simple Rich and Poor hence easy to make equal isn't at all simple.

            I have 2 nephews, one gets very upset if they lose $5 where as the other just shrugs their shoulders and moves on. So financial penalties affect each person differently - how does that equate to be an equal deterrent? My point being that what you determine as being fair as it relates to the impact on you isnt the same for everyone. So designing such isnt that simple.

            As one gets more experience they see that

            So no insult intended ok, 😀

            • -18 votes

              @RockyRaccoon: So you're using young children as an example of how it will not work when the premise of your argument is basically how I can't see clearly because of my presumed age????

              I don't know anymore dude…

            • +2 votes

              @RockyRaccoon: "Your comments in this and in response to others are based on very simple concepts"
              Actually they are not. Fact is fines are regressive in nature and therefore have an a much greater impact on lower income earners. It creates an impossible problem for legislators. How is affordability determined, income or wealth? What scale would you use. And you are correct having fines according to income creates an incentive for those that break the law to shift the fine to someone who will pay less. The points system at least guarantees ( notwithstanding the ability to launch a legal challenge ) that all are treated equal.
              There might be some argument that some leniency should be shown for genuine hard ship, more than it currently is, or a warning system put in place for infringements that carry 2 or less penalty points. This already exists for some fines depending on driving record. The latter will hit state revenue hard so don't hold your breath.
              I guess at the end of the day, the problem is easily solved if we stay within the law. But given the % of drivers that get at least one infringement during their life time it's easier said than done.
              Oh and I'm no longer a " youngen" and long ago left a cloistered education institution.

          • +2 votes

            @Ghosteye: How is this a fair deterrent? While it's arguable a billionaire wont care about a $100 fine if i am more well off than bob down the street through my life choices tell me where is the fairness in that i do the same wrong as him and i pay $10,000?? If we choose to downplay our fine due to our wealth that is in some sense unfair,but equal treatment is in itself fair.

            What your suggesting is completely unfair in it discrimnates unfairly against all. What next. Gender based differences in pricing or religiois views etc?

            • -7 votes

              @SaberX: You actually just won my argument for me.

              'I am more well off than bob down the street through my life choices tell me where is the fairness in that i do the same wrong as him and i pay $10,000??'

              You are now less inclined to break the law now, because you pay MORE than Bob the builder.

              edit: Also, an additional point that I want to add is that bob might care about that $200 dollar fine, whereas you might not. But you will care about a 10,000 fine.

            • +12 votes

              @SaberX: Hence a demerit point system is also more fair. Everyone has fixed numbers before your lose your license.

          • +8 votes

            @Ghosteye: Think I can understand your point. Perhaps we’re equally weird.

            This is just saying that the spirit of law should be to discourage people from doing bad or misbehaving. The current fine system based on absolute dollar number loses effectiveness when people earn more. So whilst I’m trying my best to be law abiding for my own reason be it (lack of) wealth or moral ethics it would be better for the system to be set in such a way that it equally discouraged others from misbehaving too.

            I see this as more encouraging people to behave in a socially responsible way rather than to just to make sure people pay for it.

            • -3 votes

              @legendary-noob: Exactly. That is what I've been trying to say all along. FML

              • +4 votes

                @Ghosteye: You keep seeing things thru llimited eyes.

                What about someone earning 100K a year But the following things impact their "wealth"

                1. Paying down a HECS debt
                2. Having 3 Kids
                3. Living in an expensive city vs cheap rent rural town

                Having to pay 3X more than someone living on their own, on $34K a year but no dependents, no debt etc etc

                And are we basing this on net income (after tax) or gross income

                Then the argument someone who has 3 kids should pay more for certain fines like speeding, because we dont want them killing themselves and affecting the lives of the kids, whereas a single person has no impact.

                The point many here are making is that you are trying to design something simple and "fair" but it all depends on what you think is fair which isnt fair depending on circumstances. Just like the existing system isnt fair in all circumstances.

                Ideally thats what Judges do, they look at individual factors when determing sentences etc, (but then they also can get that wrong).


                  @RockyRaccoon: The point is here that it wouldn't really change much for the person that you're mentioning. For example if we take a % income instead of %networth here (because you gave me an income stat)

                  we would get him to pay a 0.2% fine if he for example, does 125 on a 100. Paying a total amount of $200.
                  My question would be: How is that any different to what he would be paying today? say he starts earning double his income, the fine would be $400. Do you think it should still be at $200? Do you think $200 would weigh the same as $400 before he speeds?

                  now, for someone who earns 50k a year that amount would be $100

                  and for someone who earns 1 mil a year it would be $2000

                  does it somewhat make more sense now? It's supposed to help out the lower end and the higher end.


                  @RockyRaccoon: Rocky,
                  you make good points. Those sort of things could be taken into account for a rough estimate of disposable income.
                  Certainly my friends with no kids on the same income as me would be less bothered by a $500 fine.

                  But I don't see why Ghosteye has had such a hostile reaction. Neg votes are not for "I disagree".
                  I'd like to see both your ideas combined to create a scaled fine system that is both fairer, and more effective at discouraging dangerous behaviour.

          1. Can i be your employee?
          2. I have all my points lets call it 5k per point and you go crazy 😂😂😂
    • +11 votes

      This is fairly simple to work around though - Set a minimum $ fine and then add a % based on income (can always finesse this as some rich people will try to argue they have no income due to tax reductions, but fairly easy to work around as well and is something that is done with Medicare threshold or HECS repayment levels).

      Means the poor can't offend to their hearts content, but also punishes the rich.

      Just waving the problem away and saying it's too hard when it's relatively quite simple seems disingenuous. Not sure about your other points, they seem irrelevant.

      • +1 vote

        I like the concept but I still think it is unfair. Having annual income over 200,000 or 1M doesn't mean that one is a psychopath (or someone who doesn't care about fines because they are not high enough). Someone can have an income of 1M, drive a BMW and be fined driving at 45km/h for the first time in 10 years on a road where the limit is 40km/h.
        I think that's pretty harsh to apply a ridiculous fine to this person.
        I do agree that some people don't care but I am not sure not caring about fines (and/or being a psychopath) is linked to the income. Maybe the fine could increase after the first or the second, or something like that… I'm sure there are people on this forum whose income is over 100,000/200,000/300,000/1M and they might be good drivers, and will certainly avoid fines, even if they are of "only" $100.

        Years ago, I met someone who didn't have this amount of money and had over $5,000 in fines, which is probably about what he would get if he tried to sell his car. Because he uses the car for work, for some reason he was frequently taken to Police and released (with the car). I don't know much about the laws and rules in Australia but it seems it is a bit hard to suspend someone's license if they "need" the license to work. I don't know where is this creature nowadays, but he was not paying his fines and had been driving all around for years. He'd be threatened but would always appeal and freed.


        I don't mind the concept of % income fines when applied to people who have a willfull disregard of law but I believe it should be applied at a judical level not police level.


          I agree, I would rather this be implemented on a judicial level, than a police level. Then again, I think I would rather have a judge decide my fine today than a police officer.

    • +5 votes

      I feel a sorry for those born with everything as [its] harder to make something of themselves than someone born with nothing, as they can truly say they created it all.

      No-one truly "created it all" single-handedly, shoulders of giants and all that. Some of the born-rich claim they did it anyway, for example: "a small loan of a million dollars".


        And a few more million dollar re-ups when things started to turn to the proverbial.


        A lot of people in this country become rich through using their connections to get fat government contracts. The "top end of town" promulgates the notion that they became rich solely through exceptional hard work. The truth is people get rich by scamming/exploiting/fleecing other people. Life is a zero sum game; people get rich at somebody else's expense.


      wouldn't it be eaiser to simply adjust the fine to
      fine = max(% or networth, fixed fine amount)

      this way the 'less rich' will still be fined a minimum amount and won't go on a crime rampage.


      Yes pop it on bill some people $100,000 plus of fine debt and are on the dole.


      So the low lives who already don't pay their fines can just go on a rampage hooning and running into people?
      Go OP

  • +4 votes

    Tend to agree- its the classic case of equality vs equity. But rich shouldn't be penalised for being successful (if success is measured by amount of money you have / earned).

    • +12 votes

      Surely the point is that current fines are not penalising people on 6 figure salaries.

      [The answer therefore, is surely to double them!]


        %networth fines hit everyone equally though. It doesn't measure how successful you are or how unsuccessful you are. It takes away equally from all.

        • +23 votes

          No, % fines would hit everyone unequally by definition. You're just saying that is more "fair", because people have access to inequal amounts of resources, so equal punishments have unequal impacts.

          I think the consistency of the law is far more important than the "equality" of the consequences. If you want to have more equal conseqences, then perhaps we need more creative (but still consistent) consequences than just financial punishment.

          E.g. imagine if a speeding fine meant you lost your license for 5 days instantly. Financial consequences wouldn't be too prohibitive for most people (taxi / public transport for a couple days wouldn't bankrupt most people) but I'm sure it would make them think twice more than a $132 fine.

          • +1 vote

            @pinchies: you have a fair point. I think so far out of everyone's yours is probably the best response so far.

            Perhaps going down the route of refining financial disincentives is not the way to go.

        • +10 votes

          It doesn’t hit people equally. It hits spenders less than it hit savers.

          Just coz someone doesn’t have holidays every year and drive the newest car and upgrades their phones every time apple has a new release doesn’t mean they should also pay more in fines.

          As my mum says, this country already rewards spenders and wasters of money enough.

          • +2 votes

            @cloudy: I can see a flaw in the argument with that point. Perhaps %Income? not sure


              @Ghosteye: Don't forget that the rich have many 'ways' to minimise their taxable income on their books and end up not paying a cent of tax.
              The fine based on % of income will only hit the average mid-range earner most at the end.

          • +20 votes


            As my mum says, this country already rewards spenders and wasters of money enough.

            Your mum is very right. This country already rewards spenders a lot more than savers. Any centrelink benefit is going to be assets tested. If you saved up money while working becase you didn't need the latest gadgets every year, then when you lose your job, you can't get Newstart allowance and have to live off the money you saved. May as well have bought those iPhones instead of Redmis and changed car every 3 years.

            Same with the pension. If you save money all your life to make retirement easier, you find that you have too much money and aren't eligible for the pension. Meanwhile the guy who enjoys life in the here and now and spares no thought for the future gets his pension. You are practically encouraged to waste it on booze and smokes and get your new $2000 iPhone every year.

            It's not just people who save money that are disadvantaged. It's people who have chosen a lifestyle that requires less spending. For example, being single without children, you will end up saving a lot more money than someone who had 5 kids. But you'll be punished for that when the extra few hundred K you have at retirement over the family man means you don't get your pension. If you had spent it as you earned it, it would have been free money you've missed out on. Or if you're someone who doesn't go on holidays because you feel it's a waste of money… in the end, you'll wish you did, because the money that they would have cost is effectively free money that you missed out on by being a good saver. Punishing someone wise with money gets my goat.

            The eligibility should be based on some combination of lifetime earnings and tax paid, not how much you still have left after 40 years of work. The way it is now, when two people who earn the same amount of money, the person who spent it all is rewarded for doing so while the person who saved wisely will miss out on the pension.

            • +4 votes

              @lostn: When applying for pension, my parents just scrapped in for a few dollars a week. Which was fine, but the centrelink officer even encouraged my parents to book a big overseas cruise holiday or to splash out on home renovations to reduce their savings in order to increase pension payments.

              It was then she made that statement, this country just rewards those who splash out.

            • -1 vote

              @lostn: Very good observation. This is why I support Universal Basic Income. UBI isn't means tested; every adult citizen qualifies. Make it the same rate as a full retirement pension; pay for it with increase wealth taxes (eg inheritances taxes) and increased income taxes and middle & upper class.

              Interest rates are very low worldwide; this discourages savings and encourages the opposite, borrowing to the max. Why save at 2% interest when you can get a mortgage on a $500,000 home which in an average year appreciates by 10%. I even reading comments by economists claiming that governements can borrow indefintely without having to pay back the principle since interest rates are almost nil.

              Thrift used to be a middle class virtue; now people boost themselves into the middle class by borrowing money instead of saving.

        • +4 votes

          Nope definitely not equal. Networth is the worse thing to use. This argument always comes up every few years and it is incredibly flawed.

          • Asset rich but cash poor. 80 year old widowed grandma struggling to live week by week on er small pension but her small house in now a prime area that she has lived in all her life and wants to die in is worth $2m. Should we force her to sell her house to pay her bigger fine?

          • Wealth is relative. People with more income on paper often have bigger mortgages so their disposable income can quite often be less less than a young adult renting. Add to this the housing collapse - thousands of Australians now have a mortgage bigger than what their house is worth so they can't even sell their assets to free up money. But on paper their original mortgage LVR says they are loaded so let's fine them double! That'll teach them for buying a family house when the market was high!

          • Zero consideration on dependents. A person with a larger net wealth might be supporting half a dozen dependents and again actually have very low disposable income - let's fine them triple!

          It all comes down disposable income, which unlike net wealth is a far more complex measure. And if you did all for sudden the people that have to pay bigger fines are necessarily the 'rich' but the young, or people who choose not to have kids - which I'm sure most people would agree is not fair at all

      • +3 votes

        Plenty of "broke" people on six figure salaries, look at average cost of house in Sydney, lots of people on six figure salaries still can't afford a house. Just because you earn a lot doesn't mean you have cash lying around. Not saying that it's not their fault, just saying every one's life choices determines lots of different factors,

        Also that's why they have the points system as well, not just fines, as every one no matter though they earn only has the same amount of points, no point having an expensive car you can't drive.

  • +1 vote

    I'll take a wild guess and posit that it would be hard to enforce a means-tested fine system without infringing on constitutional rights or other laws.

    But the real reason is because the rich influence and write the laws. That is why they are so hard to read and are so poorly maintained, (they all have something more important to do)

  • +2 votes

    A speeding Swedish driver is facing the world‘s biggest ever motoring fine of 650,000 euros - around £538,000 - after being clocked at 180mph while driving through Switzerland. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1302161/Swedish-dri...

    • +1 vote

      this requires an explanation. Sweden is the long and cold country to the north famous for slow Volvo's and boring Abba songs. Ikea despite being founded by a Swede made his money to to lax tax laws for foreigners in Switzerland by flooding the world with cheap furniture.

      The driver had plenty of opportunities to enjoy high speed in Germany. Switzerland has no demerit points and no intention to introduce them.
      Sweden is known for Socialism to the point where fashion houses are prohibited to photoshop their models and were the first country to introduce asset based fines.

      Switzerland has a fair fines system, they go in steps of 20 bucks, higher in towns where pedestrians are at risk. However recently they have introduced hooning laws as the country is just chocker block full of foreigners who hoon most and are responsible for most road deaths. Anything 30k over goes to a judge and they have the discretion to make judgements similar to the rules in their home country. He has the right to appeal and have another judge make a hearing in his home country but he is probably better off making a deal and keep the Swedish authorities out of it and retain his license. Switzerland is likely to ban him from driving there for a few years.
      I guess he will hire a driver now…

  • +15 votes

    I would hide all my assets in my partners name.
    240km/h in a school zone, here I come!

    • -10 votes

      Hahaha…..You will need to find a place to hide that soap if not someone will hide it for you if you're doing at that speed.

    • +2 votes

      You mean to say "To 40km/h in a school zone, here I come!"


      You better make sure your partner doesn't drive I guess, the moment he/she gets fined it's game over for you both lol


        If I was with someone who was actually that big a douchebag (I'll give this one the benefit of the doubt and assume it's 100% a joke) I'd leave them taking all of my new assets.

  • +12 votes

    Fines are not taxes on your income or wealth. Fines are penalties for breaking law or offending. These are levied to discourage a kind of behaviour. So, they are scaled up based on the severity of an offence.


      couldn't you just scale up the %'tax' based on how severe the offence was? I reckon 'tax' here is an incorrect label to put on anything that takes a % away from your wealth.

      Also, my argument is that fines hit people hard when they're already not too well off, and hit the ones who are doing well softly. Which doesn't seem like a good way to encourage good behaviour at all. In fact, I might go out on a limb and say that it might even encourage bad behaviour in the ultra-wealthy, because they have the knowledge they can just get away with it.


        Also, my argument is that fines hit people hard when they're already not too well off, and hit the ones who are doing well softly. Which doesn't seem like a good way to encourage good behaviour at all.

        Don't forget about points too.

        The trick is to not break the rules, don't care if your a single mother of 20 or Jay-Z.

        If fines were $20, the offence might be worth it.

        • -1 vote

          It is very much a matter of perspective.

          If you are a teenage thrill seeker with family wealth, time-poor parents left you short on guidance, and you are excited about your new gofast ride, the financial part of the penalty is unlikely to deter you.

          Maybe the loss of points would, but the fine, unlikely.

          - Bernard Tomic driving his M3
          - Bernard Tomic driving a Ferrari

    • +7 votes

      That's not in dispute, but OP is saying that they provide a disproportionate disincentive.

      Worked example, using $2 435 fine, the maximum speeding fine in NSW

      If your income is 80k (~62k after tax), the fine is about 4% of your annual income. Ouch, better hold off on upgrading the TV.

      If your income is 80M (~42M post tax), the fine is 0.005% of your annual income, which is proportionally LESS than a cup of coffee is to our 80k earner ($4 ~= 0.006%). I'll say that again: it costs less for our CEO to exceed the speed limit by 45km/h than it does for Joe Average to buy a coffee.

      Do you think the CEO is actually deterred from speeding by the fine?

      • +1 vote

        Yeah, they are deterred because the CEO also gets six demerit points, right?


          Well that might deter them from doing it a second time within 12 months ;)


            @abb: "There are licence suspension periods, similar to the minimum disqualification periods applied by a court, for exceeding the speed limit by more than 30 km/h (3 months), and by more than 45 km/h (6 months). If police catch you speeding by more than 45km/h over the limit you may have your licence immediately suspended and confiscated at the roadside for 6 months"

            and for completeness

            "If a disqualified driver is caught speeding by more than 45km/h over the speed limit, Police can impound or confiscate number plates from a vehicle for a period of 6 months."

            So after the first offence and you've lost your license, you should make sure you are only 44km/hr over the speed limit. This applies to everyone, rich or poor.


          Why not remove the fine part and just give demerits then…


        This is the key insight. If we say the purpose of a fine is a disinsentive, and the degree of disinsentive varies so significantly, then there is an issue with using fines in this context.

        Equally though, an income or savings based scale, would create its own issues for all the reasons mentioned by others (good versus poor savers etc.). Demerit points, loss of licence etc. are far more effective in this context and are used fairly consistently for more serious offences. The biggest offences have the biggest non financial disinsentives.

        So why have fines at all? Because they are a "simple enough" "good enough" immediate deterent for the majority of people. It's a shame thats the case, but ultimately it would be too much effort to create an always fair sliding scale, and the potential for people abusing this kind of system is higher than a simple one size fits all solution.


      A tax is a fine on responsible behaviour and financial success.


    What does that say about the state of the legal system? (I was going to say 'justice system' but who are we kidding..? ) Why should there be different punishments for different people who disobey the SAME rule? Would we follow that logic to other law breakers? If a rich person murders someone should he get way more jail time than a poor person who commits the same crime?

    'Do you think our fine system in Australia is fair today?'

    Not even close.

    'Do you think it can be improved?'


    • +6 votes

      'Why should be different punishments for different people who disobey the SAME rule?'

      I would say that it would be because the same rule affects people differently, and hence variation of the same punishment maybe?

      • +1 vote

        How so?

        If I go a few K's over the speed limit, how does that affect ANYONE else in any way whatsoever?

        • +1 vote

          Hmm, I would say that if the fine was only 20 dollars then I wouldn't really care. And neither would you probably.

          But that's the point of the argument right? you and I both broke the law, regardless or how meagre the punishment is/was. 20 dollars was not enough to disincentivise me from breaking it.

          • +1 vote

            @Ghosteye: Sure. But as NOBODY was hurt in ANY way why should you be punished at all? OK I agree we need to control the dangerous idiots out there who really speed and not just fleece the majority who might only do a few K's over now and then. I posted a link with some good ideas to actually make the roads safer to drive rather than merely concoct more draconian methods of forcing obedience that does nothing to reduce accidents or the death toll (or almost nothing).

            • +4 votes


              We believe that the answer lies in education and training

              Neither of those can fix ignorance, stupidity, risk taking behaviour, selfishness, personal skills like poor judgement and poor reaction though.

              Even if they pass the test, what stops them from continuing bad driving? Enforcers and consequences.

              It'll be like giving a serial killer a lecture that killing is illegal.

              Education help can help those who aren't intentionally being jerks, but doubt much for Serial offenders.

              • +2 votes

                @Ughhh: A great consequence is that serial offenders will lose their license and may face court, jail time even.

                Beyond a certain point, it's just milking the penalty system and creates loopholes or even underground activity.

                If we fined someone 10x more because they are 10x richer, this would incentivise the rich to attempt bribery at the very least.

                I mean, if I get a $1,000 fine today for speeding 40 over, I may be tempted to offer a bribe to minimise my financial loss.

                Imagine someone of means trying to get out of a $10,000 fine offering a $5,000 fine. To many, that's a really good target for a year's worth of savings.

                I wouldn't blame someone for doubling their savings just by looking the other way.


                @Ughhh: Really?

                So education and training don't alleviate ignorance and stupidity? I thought that was EXACTLY what those things did? Most idiots do those things because they are, as you say, ignorant of the consequences and dangers, so maybe a bit of proper education wouldn't go astray.:)


                  @EightImmortals: Some people commit crimes because they're fun or they satisfy some other basic need.

                  It's been proven in serial killers and the like that they have a different psych makeup than what 'normal' people have

      • +1 vote

        'Why should be different punishments for different people who disobey the SAME rule?'

        A punishment should act as a deterrent, not a way of raising revenue as it is now. Might act as a deterrent for people on low incomes but not people on high incomes.

        A fine based on the income would in most cases act as a deterrent.

        I strongly believe that Reima below would think twice before speeding again compared to if the fine was $500 something

        Reima Kuisla, a Finnish businessman, was recently caught going 65 miles per hour in a 50 zone in his home country—an offense that would typically come with a fine of a couple hundred dollars, at most, in the U.S. But after Finnish police pulled Kuisla over, they pinged a federal taxpayer database to determine his income, consulted their handbook, and arrived at the amount that he was required to pay: €54,000.


    • +3 votes

      Why should there be different punishments for different people who disobey the SAME rule?

      That is, in fact, OP's point… :)

      0.01% of your income doesn't hurt you.
      5% of my income is a painful loss.

      The same dollar value might give these very different results!


    Besides the fine, there is deduction in points which might lead to further enforcement. For example, the richest person can't drive a car if he lost his license due to accumulating offense points.

    • +2 votes

      They can hire a driver or pay for a taxi. It is less impactful. The point is to discourage the offence.

  • +3 votes

    I see where you're trying to get at, but I think its one of those things that makes sense as an idea, but not in real world terms.

    First off what is a persons percentage of net worth? Which government is going to put all their resources, time and money to work out what a persons net worth is. Sure maybe if someone works full time you'll be able to work out bits (people in the average to above average bracket) but the real rich people? Don't think so, if ATO can't figure out how to fine them for billions in tax dollars, I don't think a government will pay an employee to work it out for a parking ticket.

    Then you have fines overall, parking is usually council, roads are done I think by police (state), but there are other ones like tax evasion, electoral and everyone has to work together to put all this together.

    And a more bigger one to me and similar to what spal says, a fine is supposed to be based on the offense, honestly it sounds unfair to charge on anything but the severity of offense. I admit that discouragement is part of it, but I believe a person should be looked at based on their actions, not on whether they luckily won the lotto or if a family member died and they now have money. I think its just a personal thing, but it feels like 'oh you did something that would incur a $250 fine but you're rich so give the government $5000 instead' just feels kind of extortive.


      Yeah, that was what I was thinking of as well. An ideal society kind of idea, but not really something easily implemented. Or should be implemented even.

      'a person should be looked at based on their actions, not on whether they luckily won the lotto or if a family member died and they now have money.'

      Perhaps its how much weight you put on the discouragement argument I guess. Some people think fines are in place solely to discourage, others as a form of punishment.

      • +3 votes

        'a person should be looked at based on their actions, not on whether they luckily won the lotto or if a family member died and they now have money.'

        The very fact that this is how you view people of means is very telling.

        Some people made their wealth through hard work, sacrifice and taking risks.


          That's kind of what I elaborated on right? You view this as too harsh a punishment and I get that. But from a point of deterrence wouldn't this be more effective than say… a $20 dollar fine?

          • +1 vote

            @Ghosteye: What fine is $20? It's an unrealistic example. Many people on Centrelink wouldn't give two hoots about $20 (I mean… cigarettes cost more than that).

            I believe I'm a person of means. I care about a $100 fine.

            Most rich people don't get rich by winning the lotto. They get rich by understanding the value of money and I can do more with $100 than someone who smokes.

            • +1 vote

              @tshow: Overdue library books.

              Sorry, your book is late by a week. I know the book only cost us $20 to buy, but we'll be repossessing your beach house now Mr Buffet. And that yacht. Don't think we didn't know about that one.

              • +1 vote

                @lostn: I think Mr buffet would be more inclined to return a book now that his beach house and yacht are on the line. Instead of 20 dollars.

                Don't you think?

  • +3 votes

    You could, of course, go the other way … simply do away with fines all together.

    Penalties must therefore always be some loss of privilege ranging from (for example) the suspension of licence/vehicle registration either immediately or following an accumulation of points, through to the various forms of detention from community service through to full time sentences.

    This would not only provide, generally, the sort outcome you're talking about, but would also mean that governments could never be accused of revenue raising.

    Oops, I just mentioned governments giving up revenue. Never mind, it'll never happen.


      I don't really know about the stats, but I would want to believe that our government doesn't really earn that much from fines at all. not sure

      • +1 vote

        No the government doesn't really earn much from fines, only $855 million last year in Victoria alone, so add all the other states too.


          Yeah, just a lazy $885m in Victoria alone. Small change. Please send it to me if you can spare it. Even just 1% of that each year would do me nicely. Ta.


      Penalties must therefore always be some loss of privilege ranging from (for example) the suspension of licence/vehicle registration either immediately or following an accumulation of points, through to the various forms of detention from community service through to full time sentences.

      Don't we already have that? Penalty depending on offence and occurance?

      Accumulation of points takes time for the punishment/consequence to kick in, a fine is like an instant slap in the face.


        We do, but the point I'm making is, get serious with it.

        For example, double the demerit points for all offences. In effect, it means you get one chance every three years (or whatever the reset period is these days) and after that you're gone even for the lower end ones.

        I reckon slapping someone in the face with a warning that effectively says if you get done for any traffic offence again in the next 3 years then you'll be sitting out for 3 - 6 months is pretty instant! And if it's not, they'll pretty soon have 3 - 6 months to think about it.

        After a first suspension of 3 - 6 months, a second suspension is 6 - 12, and a third is a 5 - 10 year ban. The numbers used are just for illustration, but the point is you pretty quickly get to the point where you either obey the road rules or you won't be driving. The current situation seems to allow absolutely hideous drivers umpteen chances to get their act together, often racking up fines that never get paid anyway.


    This is the most ridiculous arguement ever. The simplest solution to reducing the effect a fine has on someones meagre wealth is not to incur an infringement.

    People have complete control over whether they break the law, and being too poor to be able to afford it is not a valid reason to lower the fine.

    • -1 vote

      The flip side to that is that people too rich don't have any care for the law.


        Serious crimes aren't swept away with a fine.

        A fine has to fit the crime. You can't charge a rich person millions of dollars for jaywalking. That would be ridiculous.

        • +2 votes

          In the banking world most crimes are mainly issued in terms of fines, rarely do we see jail time

  • -1 vote

    Cause the rich use family trusts & other generous tax minimisation strategies to lower their income.

    The PAYG Australians are the suckers keeping this country open.

    The recent election shows you people care more about what's in it for me than anything else, including fines based on income


      That’s right, rich people own no assets in their own name, it’s all in trusts. Their companies all make a paper loss so pay no tax and the ownership ends in an offshore tax haven.
      Their individual net worth is zero so any fine system based on that would mean the revenue raising fine burden would fall on the everyday PAYE employee.


    It wouldn't really work here that well given how much of a nanny state it is.

  • +3 votes

    Op must hate the rich.

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