Organising a Party

Parties are fun, right?  It won’t be as much fun if you have the police knocking on the door, or if your neighbours tell you off over the fence the next day.

Your party – who do you tell?

You should tell your close neighbours when you are going to have a party and at what time you expect it to finish; this can stop complaints.  If you plan to have music outside, tell your neighbours, and also tell them what time you will turn the outside music off.

If it is an underage party, you should tell the police so they are aware and can respond to ‘gatecrashers’.  Don’t worry – registering a party will not automatically invite the police to your home. Police will not attend the party unless there is a request from the person throwing the party, a concerned parent or a neighbour; or it is in the public interest in order to maintain community order and safety.

Your party - the guest list.

You may want to consider who you want at your party.  Inviting your friends? Great!  Inviting friends of friends of friends? Not so much.

  • You might consider having some form of security to prevent “gatecrashers”.
  • Make sure you only send invitations via private avenues where members of the public cannot access your details. For example, if you invite your friends through a Facebook event, make sure it’s set to private.
  • You could keep a guest list and make sure only invited guests are allowed in.
  • Make sure you have adequate adult supervision at the venue.

Music – how loud can it be?

You must be respectful of your neighbours’ right to enjoy their peace and quiet. If you play music (inside or outside of your house) it must be at a level that does not interfere with any of your neighbours.

For example, if your neighbours can clearly hear it inside their house or if you can’t have a regular conversation over the music, it is too loud.  If you play music inside, keep all windows and doors closed.  If you have speakers outside of the house, make sure they are not facing directly towards your neighbours, and make sure you turn the outside music off at the time you told your neighbours you would.

Depending on the volume, intensity and duration of the music and the time it is played you could be fined for excessive noise levels.

If you plan on throwing a party with music, consider the followings tips:

  • close all windows and doors if playing music inside;
  • don’t place speakers outside of the house;
  • don’t let the party run too late; and
  • let the neighbours know you are having a party in advance and let them know what time you expect the party to finish.

Alcohol – can you drink it?

Not if you are under 18. If you are under 18 and you drink alcohol you could be charged with underage drinking.

Supplying alcohol to anyone under 18 is illegal. If a parent or other adult buys alcohol for anyone under 18 they can also be charged.

Whatever your age you should never leave your drink unattended. Drink spiking (with drugs or alcohol) is illegal, but does take place. Where possible you should watch your drink being made and never accept an opened drink from anyone you don’t know or trust.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

In the NT, you can register your party with the police by downloading a Safe Party Registration Form, or by picking up a copy of the form from your local police station (you need to submit the form at least seven days before the party).  Registering your party means that the police will keep an eye on what happens, but will only intervene if they see trouble, or if you request them to do so.  The NT Police also have some information on their website, as well as a Party Safe brochure which can help you throw a party where everyone stays safe and has fun too.

ACT

ACT Policing have a great brochure called Party Smart, which has lots of useful information about how to keep your party safe.  You can inform ACT Policing Operations and register your details by calling 13 1444.

Make sure you keep the volume down – in the ACT the fine for excessive noise is significant.

Western Australia

You can register your party with the WA Police – you can register from 28 days in advance, right up to the day of the party.  You can also download useful information in a Hosting A Party For Teenagers brochure from the WA Police website, which although aimed at parents, has some handy information about things you should think about when you are planning your party.

It is important to know that it is now a criminal offence to organise a gathering that becomes out of control. You (if you’re over 18yrs old), or your parents (if you’re under 18yrs old and they give you permission to organise the party) can be charged and be liable to a hefty fine and/or 12 months imprisonment.

It is a defence to the charge if you can prove that you took reasonable steps to ensure that the gathering did not become an out-of-control gathering. As a result, it is important that you consider doing things listed above if you’re going to have a party and call the Police for help if you need it, to make sure you don’t get into trouble if the party gets out of hand.

Music – how loud can it be?

In WA, it is an offence to create “unreasonable noise”. What is considered to be “unreasonable noise” is defined by law in a number of ways. However, generally noise is considered to be unreasonable if:

a) noise that unreasonably interferes with the health, welfare, or ability of your neighbours to enjoy their property. Factors such as the nature, duration, volume and frequency of the noise will be consider in determining this; or

b) any noise which occurs at times where there are noise restrictions.

In WA, there are restrictions on noise in residential areas where essentially the later it gets, the quieter you must be. The level of noise allowed is determined by a formula which measures the volume.

So, if you’re using a sound system at your party, you will have to turn the volume down the later it gets, or the volume of your music may exceed the volume of noise that is allowed at that time of night.

Generally speaking, to make sure you comply with the noise level restrictions, you should be turning down your stereo as follows:

Monday to Saturday Turn down the volume between 7pm and 10pm and turn off from 10pm until 7am

Sundays and Public Holidays Turn down the volume between 7pm and 10pm and turn off from 10pm until 9am.

Complaints concerning excessive noise can be reported to your local council or the police. This can result in you being prosecuted in Court and you may be punished in a variety of ways including hefty fines, having your equipment seized and orders preventing you from having parties and making noise in the future.

Alcohol – can I drink it?

It is not illegal for a person under 18 to drink alcohol in a private home. It is, however, illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to consume alcohol:

  • at a licensed premises such as a pub or restaurant; or
  • in a public place.

Also, if you are under 18, it is illegal to obtain alcohol from a licensed premises.  It is also illegal to supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol from a liquor store or pub for anyone under the age of 18.

NSW

New South Wales Police run a MyNite website where you can register your party, and read some ideas about keeping your house and your guests safe.  They also have some information about what could go wrong, and what to do if things do go wrong.  You can register your party using the online form, or you can download a copy and post, fax or hand in your form at the Police Station closest to your venue.  Make sure you submit your form at least three days in advance.

In NSW you could receive an on the spot fine for excessive noise levels.

Victoria

Victoria Police run a PartySafe Program.  You can register your party online, or download a copy of the form and take the completed copy to the Police Station nearest the party venue.  You can also download a copy of the PartySafe Program brochure which can give you (and your parents) some information about how to make sure your party runs smoothly.

South Australia

You can download a party registration form from the SA Police website, fill it out and return it to the police station closest to the party venue. The SA Police also have a Party Safe booklet available online which contains information on what to do before and during your party to make sure everyone has fun and remains safe.

Tasmania

Tasmania Police have a Party Safe Program.  You can download a copy of the Party Safe Registration Form from their website and email it back.  Make sure you register your party at least seven days before the big day.

Make sure you keep the volume down – in Tasmania the fine for excessive noise is quite significant.

Queensland

If you are throwing a party, you can notify the police by filling out the Queensland Police Party Safe Registration form.  If you register with at least two weeks notice, they can provide you with Party Safe wristbands and an information pack.  Check the Party Safe page for more details.

In Queensland, it is an offence to create “excessive noise”, but that is a definition left to the police.  Factors such as time, location and volume will be taken into consideration, but complaints about excessive noise can result in the police or local council seizing equipment and giving hefty fines.

It is not illegal for a person under 18 to drink alcohol in a private home. It is, however, illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to consume alcohol at a licensed premises such as a pub or restaurant, or in a public place.

If you are under 18, it is illegal to obtain alcohol from a licensed premises, and it is also illegal to supply alcohol to, or to obtain alcohol from a liquor store or pub for anyone under the age of 18.