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This question is about an act that occurred in 2019 but was only reported in the last week of March 2021 by, for example, 9 News and news.com.au.

Andrew Laming, an MP in the Australian state of Queensland, took a photo of Crystal White in a Brisbane workplace, bending over and stocking a bar fridge. Allegedly, this photo was of “her bottom” and showed her underwear exposed over the top of her shorts; the latter claim has not been disputed. There is no suggestion that her underwear was exposed any more than usual, or that the situation depicted in the photo was otherwise indecent in any way.

White lodged a formal complaint with Queensland Police, but the police found that there was no evidence that a criminal offence had been committed. Media reports do not mention any evidence at all, other than witness accounts; the photo was deleted shortly after it was taken.

Media reports, while covering various criticisms of this act, have not identified any specific laws that the act may have violated. Assuming the allegations are accurate, could this act have been an offence?

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    This will be very country-dependent. For example it is only two or three years that “upskirting” gets punished in the UK, so the same question in the UK 2017 and 2021 could have opposite answers. On the other hand “did he commit an offence or not” is not how I would measure an MP.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 2 at 13:23
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    @gnasher729 The term “upskirting” was also used in some of the media reports on this story, and I have been waiting for a chance to complain about it. Because, to me, that term means “recording what is under a person’s skirt where that person has a resaonable expectation of privacy”. But it seems that this situation was very different: White’s underwear – and everything else depicted in the photo – was apparently in plain view of everyone present (and there was no skirt involved). Apr 2 at 13:30
  • This question would be a lot easier to answer with the photo in question.
    – Studoku
    Apr 28 at 8:58
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No

The relevant part of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld), s227A, requires “circumstances where a reasonable adult would expect to be afforded privacy”. The circumstances when Ms White was photographed were not private and were not such that a reasonable person would expect privacy

The law does criminalise “upskirting” because even though the place may be public, the circumstances (being covered by clothing) are such that a reasonable person would expect privacy. The law does not criminalise photographing a person who has exposed themselves deliberately or accidentally. Perhaps it should, but it doesn’t.

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