When starting out a career as an Astrologer there are many things to consider, apart from just learning the craft itself. Although initially it is not a real concern it is important to know where you stand legally once you go beyond just reading charts for your friends and family in Australia. This is mainly to do with insurance issues however knowing your legal requirements is necessary not always just to know your within the law. It is also a useful tool to know the in’s and outs of the legality’s to protect yourself from slanderous, malicious or un informed attacks online or in public. Understanding the law and being confident in your knowledge of the facts will snuff out slander or opposition early if you know where you stand and give you a more professional reputation in the public eye.
Public liability insurance for astrologers in Australia
To carry out Astrology as a business or hobby in Australia it is a requirement to have public liability insurance for street stalls, markets or working from a room within another business, this is generally required by space providers to the value of 5-10 million in cover. If your practise is operating 100% independently and solely from a single and nominated space the cost of public liability insurance is substantially lower. This can also be integrated into your business insurance cover by many providers. The other hurdle is that many of the mainstream insurance providers either do not insure Astrologers or have excessively high premiums so you will need to shop around. There are some groups that will offer public liability as part of a membership plan this is providing you can provide compliance of certification by an accredited teacher etc.
Below link to frequently asked question on public liability insurance in Australia
Law regarding Astrologers in Australia
Within the states of QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, WA and the ACT there are no offences within their act’s pertaining to Astrology. However, there are in SA and NT and I will outline these below as they do not necessarily prohibit Astrologers but those who defraud others on the pretence of being one.
Northern Territory consolidated act
Any person who: pretends to tell fortunes, or uses any subtle craft, means, or device, palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose upon a person;
Shall be guilty of an offence penalty; 1,000 dollars, or imprisonment for 6 months, or both.
South Australia offences act
Part 8 – Fraud, unlawful possession ect
Acting as a spiritualist, medium etc with intent to defraud A person who, with intent to defraud, purports to act as a spiritualist or medium, or to exercise powers of telepathy or clairvoyance or other similar powers, is guilty of an offence.
Maximum penalty: $10 000 or imprisonment for 2 years
Evidence by Astrologers cannot be given in court ruled by Murray CJ in 1921 in the case Smith v O’Sullivan
The last case where a perceived astrologer was convicted in court was in Victoria in 1986 and the above law and fact he called himself an astrologer are irrelevant. As he was clearly not practicing astrology at all and was tried for fraud and not for practicing astrology at all.
Definitions of Astrology
Astrology is the study of the movements of the planets, sun, moon, and stars in the belief that these movements can have an influence on people’s lives. (Collins Dictionary)
An Astrologer is a person who uses astrology to try to tell you things about your character and your future. (Collins Dictionary)
Looking at the definitions of being an astrologer and studying astrology it would seem that if one has belief in what they do and are of good intentions, there is no real threat to the practicing astrologer within Australia. I wold only ere on the side of caution in NT and SA that not to undertake the craft before mastery. In fact, the offences act may be an actual thing to embrace if they were to be more defined and Australia wide. As they are more geared to removing charlatans and novices from practicing in the public domain which is a positive step forward for professional astrology.
It should be noted that I have no legal training and you should seek professional legal advice on individual matters. This is a general guide built from personal experiences and source documents cited below. To keep up to date with legal matters in regard to Astrology worldwide contact or become a member of AFAN you can find a link below.
Reference information regarding astrologers in Australia
Find Law Australia http://www.findlaw.com.au/articles/5163/is-fortune-telling-a-criminal-offence-.aspx
NT Consolidated acts http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/soa189/s57.html
SA Summary offences act https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/SUMMARY%20OFFENCES%20ACT%201953/2005.06.30/1953.55.AUTH.PDF
Collins Dictionary https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/engli
Astrology blog written by William Lamont Bellingen astrologer Australia on the legalitys of astrology in Australia.