In the last 20 years a number of Australian jurisdictions have introduced general fraud offences which constitute a decisive break with traditional approaches to defining fraud. Instead of offences based on obtaining of property by deception, or obtaining of pecuniary/financial advantage by deception, they are based around concepts of general dishonesty and gain or loss of any type – pecuniary or otherwise. This paper provides an overview of such offences now in existence in the Western Australian, Queensland, Commonwealth and Australian Capital Territory jurisdictions, and also comments on the Northern Territory offence which uses deception, but not dishonesty, as a basis for liability.
The paper argues that all these offences are impermissibly broad and vague and rely on allegations of mental states of mind to criminalise actions otherwise lawful.
Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure
Date of this Version
Alex Steel, "General Fraud Offences in Australia" (August 2007). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series. Working Paper 55.