CHOICE membership

"Do not knock" front door sticker and so called "charities"


Which Act and Section makes exception for survey people, political marketeeers, politicians, etc?
A commonwealth law or a state law?

In my own home & yard I can refuse to “entertain” someone who wants to convert me to their religion or their politics.


Do not call’ and anti-junk mail laws exempt survey purveyors and political parties (the first of these exemptions makes sense; they otherwise do not have the ability to contact a statistically significant portion of the population that may have niche responses). That doesn’t mean you have to ‘entertain’ them, but does exempt them from many of the niceties of polite society. They can fill your letter box with pamphlets, ring you regardless of your being on the Do Not Call Register, and I suspect knock on your door at all hours of the day and/or night.

You have no easy protection from anyone who wants to be a nuisance. Short of obtaining a harassment restraining order or similar (which requires that you identify the offender), I am unaware of any law that provides you with protection from people knocking on your door at 3am. Having a sign on the door is unlikely to be helpful, and how do you expect the neighbours to feel when their son dies on your doorstep because you didn’t respond to their late night knocking? This is an extreme example; but in most of the world you don’t knock on someone’s door at 3am unless either you are, or you are in, trouble.

If someone is consistently knocking on your door at annoying times, whether that be 3am or 3pm, then you can seek a restraining order (assuming you can identify them). Other than that, to my knowledge you can’t stop anyone knocking.

I am happy to be corrected on this.


It is not quite so simple (who would have guessed?)

For unaddressed (and addressed) junk mail sent by Auspost click here

For advertising material not sent by Auspost state laws seem to apply:
Qld The Act requires that a person does not deliver any unsolicited advertising material to premises if, clearly seen on the mailbox, fence or other place for receiving mail, a sign that states; ‘No Advertising Material’, ‘No Junk Mail’, ‘Australia Post Mail Only’ or words to that effect. (Note, there are exceptions for newspapers.)

But in NSW & Vic Putting mail into these letterboxes is not against the law but it is against the distribution industry’s Code of Practice. Distributors should respect people’s wishes not to receive this material. For more information about the Code of Practice, phone the Distribution Standards Board freecall hotline on 1800 676 136 or email

The DNC has no bearing on door knocking but at least in Vic it is illegal to knock if a ‘no salesman’ sticker is posted, and even if it isn’t there are bracket times they are allowed.

As for prosecution, a totally different topic…


I am going to bet that there are exemptions to what you have stated. I know, for instance, that politicians can and do ignore ‘no unsolicited material’ signs on letter boxes - that’s in federal law (and thus overrides state laws), but I am too lazy to search for it.

Similarly, I am prepared to bet that Victoria’s door knock law has exemptions. Because surely you can’t mean you don’t want to hear from your local politician?


I was imagining a predator style red laser light that auto targets after dark door knockers. Doesn’t do anything but cause second thoughts :stuck_out_tongue:

Fair call though on those in trouble knocking after hours. Been on both sides of that coin. Guess it helps not to live in a 'burb where people have cause for wariness answering their door.


It is called Trespass (tort law) and to achieve that effect you only have to put a sign at your boundary that states “No Entry” or using similar phrasing with the same intent eg “Entry without explicit permission denied”. You can find other examples, however if you use this sort of sign you must give permission to meter readers etc so they can carry out those tasks an example would be to send a letter authorising the meter readers, to your utility companies.


This may well work for some country dwellers, but I would be extremely surprised to find that trespass law forbids an individual from knocking on your door. How will the debt collector collect the amount they are owned, if you can just barricade yourself in your personal castle, pretend not to be home, and refuse their mail? How will the political campaigner be able to sell you on their particular candidate if they cannot go door-to-door.

We have some liberty, but I suspect you are interpreting trespass law as it has never been read in the courts - which tend to encourage ‘commerce’.


That would be an odds-on.


I don’t have a doorbell.

If they knock I check the security cam of the front door and make a decision, often to ignore.

If they are persistent, I attend the door and tell them I am not interested.

Once, these steps fell through to the final phase, when I am unwell and in an emphatically and unapologetically phlegm-sharing mood … who cares if it seems contrived, its better than the alternative (there is a bat behind the door …)



… different kind … mum isn’t visiting at the moment, and I don’t keep her behind the door …


The Law does exist and has been interpreted to the degree I indicated. Most States use similar wording to the Qld & Federal Law in this regard.

and also from the Qld Law Handbook:

"Trespass is a civil wrong and some forms of trespass may also constitute a criminal offence. The most common form of trespass is entering or remaining on land without the permission of the owner. Trespass can also include burrowing under land or suspending an object over the land.

Suing for trespass

An occupier in actual possession of a property (or an owner who retakes possession) can sue for trespass.

It is not necessary to prove that the trespasser caused any damage to the land unless compensation for damage is claimed.

Prosecution of trespassers

Many premises display a notice stating that trespassers will be prosecuted. This notice is misleading. Prosecution involves a criminal charge. The notice really means that civil proceedings will be commenced against the trespasser or that information about an alleged or suspected trespass may be passed on to police.

Trespassing can be a crime in some circumstances. People who are in or on any premises without a lawful excuse may be guilty of an offence.

Authorised entry onto land

Police officers have wide powers to enter premises without being liable to prosecution for trespass. Some other officials (e.g. gas and electricity employees, post office officials, and health and agriculture inspectors) are also specifically authorised by various laws to enter premises for certain purposes without being liable for trespass.
Defences to an action of trespass

The defences to an action in trespass are:

the authority of law
abatement of some types of nuisance (e.g. a spreading fire)
permission to enter onto the land given by the person entitled to possession.

It is generally implied that a homeowner consents to any person entering using the usual point of entry to reach the front door, unless there is a sign indicating the lack of consent or a locked door or gate restricting access to the front door."

Sth Australia Law states:


A person on a premises who does not leave immediately when asked by an authorised person (generally the occupier of the premises), or who comes back within the following 24 hours, is guilty of an offence.

Maximum penalty: $2500 or 6 months imprisonment.

[Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 17A].

It is an offence to use offensive language or behave in an offensive manner while trespassing on premises.

Maximum penalty: $1 250

[Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 17A(2)].

It is also an offence for a trespasser to refuse to give his or her name and address when asked by an authorised person.

Maximum penalty: $1 250

[Summary Offences Act 1953 (SA) s 17A(2a)]."

Vic Law Handbook:

“You cannot enter someone else’s land without their permission; nor can you dump rubbish on land without the land owner’s consent, nor dig below another person’s land as land includes everything above and below the ground. These acts are trespassing. Trespass is a civil wrong and you can be sued for doing it.
Be careful when ejecting a trespasser from your land as they can sue you for assault if you use too much force.
By law, some officials (e.g. police, meter readers, post office officials, council officials, fire fighters) are allowed on your land without permission.”

ACT Law:

"What is the law of trespass?

To prove a trespass action in court you will have to be able to prove the following elements:

Exclusive possession – this usually means that you are living or staying on the land and are lawfully able to stop other people from entering. Owners, renters and boarders are generally considered to be in exclusive possession. If the area is a public place you may not have exclusive possession.

Land – includes all of the space above and below the physical ground, so an interference from things like tunnels or low-flying objects over your land can be a trespass. Do note, the law relating to minerals and artefacts found on or in your land is different to the law of trespass.

Direct interference – a trespass has to occur ‘directly’ which means it cannot be a result of something else happening.

Intentional or negligent – to be a trespass, the interference has to be either deliberate or careless.

Unreasonable interference – you have to be able to prove that the person’s interference was unreasonable or that it continues to interrupt your normal enjoyment. This is different to proving damage. Some interferences will not be unreasonable, such as a party with loud music that only occurs once.

Without consent – any person has a right to approach your front door and ask to speak to the occupier. This is called ‘implied consent’. However, you can withdraw this implied consent by telling somebody to leave your property or posting a sign such as ‘no entry’, no hawkers’ or ‘do not knock.’"


Darn those meddling kids!

So the sign really should say that trespassers will be persecuted?

Great! Now you have made me go and look at the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 (ACT). It appears from ss7-11 provide protection for people performing ‘community work’ - which lists seven categories including ‘a political purpose’. The Act deals with a lot more than trespass, which leads me to say ‘it’s complicated’. There is also this piece of information from - I suspect - the website to which you referred:

Under the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 (ACT), your claim for trespass can also fail if the person was negligent but has not made any claim on your land and made a reasonable offer to ‘make amends’ before a court. This can occur if the wrongful party apologises or offers to pay for any damage.

In short, good luck making that claim for damages caused by trespass against the local political machine. I suspect much of its defence would be that its interference was not ‘unreasonable’ - calling upon you to exercise your civic duty.


The Trespassers Will be Prosecuted is not saying they can’t enter, that sign is only saying if they do trespass then action may be instigated. To trespass requires a person or persons to ignore the requirement to leave when demanded or to ignore the removal of the implicit right of entry by as an example a sign that states “No Entry”.

This occurs when say leaves fall into your pool or a tree or limb of one falls into your property, or someone digs a channel under your land by failing to ensure they remained within their property line. An apology may be all that is required depending on the severity, or if the offered amount for payment of damages satisfies the Court.

From the HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA: PLENTY v. DILLON (1991) 171 CLR 635 F.C. 91/004 are three further excerpts:

“The general policy of the law is against government officials having rights of entry on private property without the permission of the occupier, and nothing concerned with the service of a summons gives any ground for creating a new exception to the general rule that entry on property without the express or implied consent of the occupier is a trespass.”

"A person who enters or remains on property after the withdrawal of the licence is a trespasser. In Davis v. Lisle (1936) 2 KB 434, police officers who had lawfully entered a garage for the purpose of making enquiries were held to have become trespassers by remaining in the garage after they were told by the proprietor to “get outside”. "

“True it is that the entry itself caused no damage to the appellant’s land. But the purpose of an action for trespass to land is not merely to compensate the plaintiff for damage to the land. That action also serves the purpose of vindicating the plaintiff’s right to the exclusive use and occupation of his or her land.
The appellant was entitled to resist their entry. If the occupier of property has a right not to be unlawfully invaded, then, as Mr Geoffrey Samuel has pointed out in another context, the “right must be supported by an effective sanction otherwise the term will be just meaningless rhetoric”
If the courts of common law do not uphold the rights of individuals by granting effective remedies, they invite anarchy, for nothing breeds social disorder as quickly as the sense of injustice which is apt to be generated by the unlawful invasion of a person’s rights, particularly when the invader is a government official. The appellant is entitled to have his right of property vindicated by a substantial award of damages.”

From the site comes this excerpt:
"Indeed, access to your property may be more open than you imagined, as Acting Sergeant Sharon Darcy of Victoria Police points out. “Anyone has the right to walk up to a front door and knock on the door.”

Revoking the implied licence to enter is a simple matter, according to property lawyer Darren Eliau of Evans Ellis Law. He says displaying a “Do not enter” sign, “such as those available from any $2 shop”, is sufficient to prohibit entry.

“There’s no actual convention at law that says there is a certain wording that you must say. It’s not governed by any statute. It’s just what’s reasonable.

“‘Do not enter’, ‘Do not trespass’, ‘No canvassers’, ‘No hawkers’ — those types of things,” Mr Eliau says.

If there is no sign, a verbal request to leave revokes a person’s right to enter your property. Again, there is no exact wording and a vernacular indication will suffice.

Someone who has been asked to leave a property should not assume that, just because they are not hurting anybody, a shouting match is acceptable. It is not.

Mr Eliau says the usual position in law, in which a party needs to show loss before they can sue, does not apply.

“Trespass is a bit different. It is what’s called actionable per se — actionable just because you did it. You don’t need to prove a loss or damage,” he says."

The Section 2 ss 7 - 11 of the ACT Act (which is defines what a Volunteer & Community Work are) which you also referred to states the volunteer is usually not individually to be sued for loss or damages but the Organisation that employed them is, read sub section 9 of part 2.2 of Chapter 2

“(1) A liability that would, apart from this part, attach to a volunteer, attaches instead to the community organisation for which the volunteer was carrying out the relevant community work.”

However if the Volunteer acted in certain ways then the Volunteer becomes liable not the organisation. It doesn’t absolve the act of trespass it just makes clear which of the person/s or organisation is the one to be held accountable.

ss10 just sets forth that the ACT Govt may take responsibility instead of the organisation when and only if that orgainsation is undertaking a “recognised government responsibility [which] means a responsibility prescribed by regulation as a recognised government responsibility.” This is not party political door knocking.

ss11 is setting forth that the ACT Govt may require that community organisations are to obtain insurance to cover for liabilities from damages caused.

And then in Chapter 10 section 141

“Defence to action for trespass to land
It is a defence to an action for trespass to land if the defendant
establishes that—
(a) the defendant does not claim any interest in the land; and
(b) the trespass was because of negligence or was not intentional;
© the defendant made a reasonable offer to make amends to the
plaintiff before the action was brought.”

The 3 and’s set the parameters in that all parts must be satisfied to grant a defence. Thus if the entry was intentional (for example ignoring the “No Entry” sign) the defence fails. If they have not made a offer of amends the defence fails.

If the person does not leave your land you can use reasonable force to remove them or just ring the police and they will remove them. Be careful how much force you use if you try to remove them as it can easily become an assault if you over exert. If they have entered in contravention of your explicit refusal of entry eg a sign, locked gate, you can ask the police to prosecute the offender.


It is different for states which rely on common law, but in states which rely on statute law the offence of trespass is well defined as a criminal offence.
para (1) in relation to “a dwelling or the yard for a dwelling”
(while para 2 deals with “a place used as a yard for, or a place used for, a business purpose” and para (3) covers an authorised industrial officer entering a workplace).

Various Acts empower authorised officers of the government to enter yard/dwelling for certain purposes (for example POLICE POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES ACT 2000 - SECT 19), and the Local Government Act empowers certain local government officers too. However some Acts require the government officer to get consent of the occupier (for example ELECTRICITY ACT 1994 - SECT 152B Entry with consent).


I agree and some of the excerpts posted further up in this thread do show that some instances of Trespass come under criminal law. In the cases of refusal to leave or “unlawful” entry, as I said you can request the police to prosecute the offender/s, though some matters still fall within Common (Tort) law eg a branch falling into your yard or leaves into a pool.


This is substantially my understanding too. The presumption is under default circumstances strangers have the right to enter your property for innocent purposes without explicit permission, however they must leave if you ask them to. By posting such a notice (here is an example) you withdraw that general right but you cannot exclude specified classes of persons who are exempted from your control. Police, meter readers etc still have the right to enter whether you withdraw permission, give them an exemption letter or not.


The police only have right of entry in specific cases, mostly to keep the peace, carry out a warrant, or stop a crime in action. You can refuse entry for the issuing of a summons, enquiries or that they just want to look in your yard or house, a sign or a locked entry to your yard that makes it clear no entry is allowed is sufficient to make those actions acts of trespass.

In some States meter readers do require your consent if a “No Entry” sign is in place, as the power to enter requires an Act to authorise it. In other situations eg a Council Worker the entry is only for very specific circumstances and anything outside those is an act of trespass.


Basis for right to entry (note: this is NOT legal advice but my understanding from being an person who could exercise such rights in a past job)

The conditions attached to a Certificate of Title usually provide the legal right for the crown (namely State Government who administers the title) to write laws which can affect the rights of the owner of the land. Such rights can include entering the land for a purpose, like the examples outlined above (meter reading, weed inspections, local government compliance with delegated matters, police powers etc) and also to place encumbrances (such as easements/servitude or caveats) on the land.

In Queensland, there are a few titles issued century or so ago (and in more remote rural areas of the state) which didn’t have such conditions on the titles, and the conditions have never been updated to include them. In such cases, the crown law’s of entry don’t apply and one exercising rights for entry needs to negotiate such entry with the landholder.

Where legislation specifically and explicitly allows for entry and the process of entry is followed under the Act (if it exists such as notifications), one can’t lawfully prevent a person accessing the land under a Act, to enter the land. In such cases, the do not enter signs are irrelevant and don’t apply as the persons entering have legal access to carry out the specific purpose (e.g. reading a water meter, carry out and survey of land etc) and are protected by the relevant Law.

Such provisions however don’t apply to anyone entering the land for purposed not legislated, such as a door to door seller as they are not invited and have no legislated purpose to enter.

They then fit into uninvited persons entering the property.

Laws also allow uninvited individuals (e.g. neighbours, friends or any Tom, Dick or Harry) to go to a house/front door using the most direct route. Such is not considered trespass. Trespass occurs when the land owner or occupier specifically requests that the uninvited person does not enter. This can be by signage such as the do not knock signs (on the front gate or on the front door) or verbally when answering the door. Once advised, if they don’t leave immediately then it could be considered trespass.

Do Not Knock Stickers

The Do Not Knock sticker applies to salespeople carrying out selling from door to door. This is called an ‘unsolicited consumer agreement’ under the Australian Consumer Law, and it includes when a seller/sales come to you or calls you uninvited (ie knocks on your door) and the total value is more than $100 (or cannot be determined when the agreement is made).

Unfortunately, visits from politicians, those seeking donations for a charity, or market researchers are not unsolicited consumer agreements for the purposes of that law because there is no selling involved. This means the Do Not Knock sticker does not apply to those visits.

In such cases, if they try to make unsolicited contact, it could be trespass.

The Queensland Government Website also has some good information on the rules that door to door sellers are to follow to meet the requirements of the Australian Consumer Law.


I suspect that we entered the realms of ‘pedants at 30 yards’ several posts ago, and are currently being disputatious largely around the level of whether there should be a comma or a semicolon in a sentence.

It appears that signs prohibiting peddlers work on peddlers. Signs prohibiting the police do not always work quite so well (depending on their possession of warrants and the like). In fact it would probably not be a great idea to place a sign seeking to prohibit police entry - red rags (or at least the movement of them) tend to attract the attention of bulls.

I would be interested if a ‘do not knock’ sign - and subsequent failure to attend the front door - would be considered adequately mitigating circumstances in the event that the person knocking was having a heart attack and their life could have been saved by your intervention. Of course, this is something of an ‘edge case’.