Taking on the system

In this week’s edition of our Dr Who series, The Doctor’s attempts to flout South Australia’s shop trading laws have finally caught up with her.


[The Doctor threw another dozen lamingtons at the pursuing Daleks and slammed the door of the Tardis.]

The Doctor: “Get us back to South Australia in the mid-70s, Paul. We need to see Aunty Mable again. She has created a monster now that the Dalek’s lamington addiction has taken their focus off galactic domination.

I also have to make my court appearance in 2020 regarding the Tardis and South Australia’s shopping hours.”

[The Tardis settled at Aunty Mable’s back door. A few hundred hens look up. The O’Neil children waved from the fence line as they fed the pigs milk and put the rooster masks on the hens. Aunty Mable bought out some boxes of sponge fingers, lamingtons, fruit cake and homemade butter.]

Aunty Mable: “With the UK going into the European Common Market, we have got even more milk than the country needs so the Government has put quotas on milk deliveries. So, I make my own butter now to help out the O’Neils.

The port and sherry and dried fruit markets have also been hit hard by the Common Market. One day the Queen may make the English see sense. In the meantime, if you can shift butter, eggs and dried fruit to another place and time, all the better.”

[The Tardis settles a few centimeters off the ground on a Sunday in 2026 suburban Adelaide. It moves around to each home and apartment where it has been booked online or sends out the delivery drones. Aunt Mable’s supplies are soon gone as is the spirit from Andromeda, the antigravity lotions from Uplift 259 and the electric hoverlift scooters. They also charge up the line of electric cars. A Government inspector appears with a summons.]

[Scene: The Courtroom.]

The Judge asks The Doctor how she pleads to the charges of contravening the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 by operating a department food shop of floor area in excess of 400 square meters on a Sunday and selling non-exempt goods.

The Doctor: “I plead ‘Not Guilty’. No evidence has been presented that at the time of the alleged offence, the floor space inside the Tardis from which the agreed non-exempt goods were available for sale was in excess of 400 square meters. (Section 4 subsection (I) (a)) I understand the Inspector had some difficulty with his tape measure inside the Tardis in view of its space-time continuum shaping capacities.

However, as the legislation only requires an allegation in the complaint about the floor space and not any evidence, I need to provide evidence to the contrary.

Some SA shopkeepers put covers over non-exempt goods or move shelves to meet the floor space limitations. This is not done in the Tardis.

As the offence arises purely from within the Tardis, Your Honour may wish to step inside the Tardis to see for herself.”

[The Tardis shrinks and settles on the Judge’s Bench.]

The Doctor: “I also wish to provide evidence of the irrelevancy of the concept of the Tardis being within the metropolitan area.

As Your Honour may be aware, the Tardis is not resident in any particular time or point of space and did not actually settle on the ground. Nothing in the Act points to “in” including airspace.

In addition, the current legislation is silent on prohibiting the delivery in non-allowed hours from outside the Adelaide Metropolitan area of goods otherwise considered non-exempt and purchased from stores outside the Adelaide Metropolitan area.

In South Australia there is no prohibition of on-line purchases of non-exempt goods such as clothing and electronics on Sundays from shops of literally any size. Until recently with this planet’s antiquated transport systems the question of same day delivery has been moot. That has now passed.

In addition, with the Tardis’ time and space shifting capabilities, sales of such non-exempt goods can take place at regulated times even if people enter and leave the Tardis at what would seem to them to be non-allowed times.

As Your Honour will be aware, the Governments of the day have also used their primitive time and space shifting capabilities to shift the boundaries of the Adelaide Metropolitan areas as the population has grown in what were rural Council areas. Governments have also changed their definitions of the Greater Adelaide Shopping District to include a part of Glenelg, which is not a part of the Adelaide City Council Area, but to exclude North Adelaide, which is part of the Adelaide City Council.

So, the definitions of exempt and non-exempt shopping precincts are very elastic.”

[The Judge asks if The Doctor would be finishing soon. The Doctor replied she had plenty more to say in her defence. The Judge decides to adjourn the case until the afternoon.]

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