Australian Gov website about corporal punishment.
Currently there is no law against 'reasonable' force.
OK people, as long as the marks of the punishment are gone within 24 hours your good to go!! WTF!!!!! CRAP law!!!!Corporal punishment that results in bruising, marking or other injury lasting longer than a 24-hour period may be deemed to be "unreasonable" and thus classified as physical abuse. As an example, theNew South Wales Crimes Act 1900(NSW) establishes that corporal punishment is unreasonable if the force is applied to any part of the head or neck of a child or to any other part of the body of a child in such a way as to be likely to cause harm to a child that lasts for more than a short period. Corporal punishment that is unreasonable in the circumstances may lead to intervention by police and/or child protection authorities."
State Legislation and or common law relating to corporal punishment by parents Legislative Act or Criminal Code ACT The ACT has no legislation concerning the use of corporal punishment by parents. The Child Welfare Ordinance 1957 allowed a person with the lawful care of a child to administer physical punishment, however the Act was repealed by the Children's Services Ordinance 1986. At present the defence of "reasonable chastisement" remains in common law. ACT Child Services Ordinance, 1986.
NSW The Crimes Amendment Act 2001(NSW) introduced an amendment specifying that physical punishment by a parent should not harm a child more than briefly and specifies the parts of a child's body that can be subject to force. This amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) did not entirely remove parental capacity for corporal punishment nor explicitly ban the use of physical force towards children, but it did introduce strict guidelines on what is acceptable. Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) s61AA:
NT On the basis of the Criminal Code Act (NT), it is lawful for parents and teachers (unless parents expressly withhold their consent) to apply force to a child for the purposes of discipline and correction. Criminal Code Act (NT) s27: <www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nt/consol_act/cca115> QLD The Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) states that:it is lawful for a parent or a person in the place of a parent ... to use, by way of correction, discipline, management or control, towards a child or pupil, under the person's care, such force that is reasonable under the circumstances.It therefore remains lawful for a parent to physically punish/correct their child.
Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) s280: <www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/C/CriminCode.pdf> SA There is no legislation that explicitly provides for the use of corporal punishment by parents in South Australia. However, there is a section in the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) that provides for contact between persons that would generally be regarded as accepted within the community. There also exists a common law defence of "reasonable chastisement". Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s20(2): <www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/sa/consol_act/clca1935262/>
and common law defence
TAS Physical punishment by a parent towards a child remains lawful under the Tasmanian Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas). The Act reads:It is lawful for a parent or a person in the place of a parent to use, by way of correction, any force towards a child in his or her care that is reasonable in the circumstances.
Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tas) s50: <www.thelaw.tas.gov.au/index.w3p> VIC There is no legislation concerning corporal punishment by parents in Victoria, however, there is a common law defence for parental use of corporal punishment. Victorian common law allows parents to administer corporal punishment to children in their charge provided the punishment is neither unreasonable nor excessive. Common law defence WA Under the Criminal Code 1913 (WA) it remains lawful for parents to physically discipline their children. Section 257 of the code states that:it is lawful for a parent or a person in the place of a parent.... to use, by way of correction, toward a child or pupil under his care, such force as is reasonable under the circumstances.
Criminal Code Act 1913 (WA) s257: <www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/wa/consol_act/ccaca1913252>
There used to be an exemption under NZ law about reasonable force for children, but was repealed in 2007 due to the fact that it was used in court successfully, for quite shocking cases.
The problem with 'reasonable force' is that it is very hard to define, and can be a slippery slope.