Under the Crimes Act (Vic) https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s87.html it mentions that you cannot menace someone in order to obtain some benefit or to cause someone a loss.

In this situation is it blackmail to threaten someone who has been evading taxes (Commonwealth of Australia) that you will make a report to the ATO about a relative of an individual if the individual doesn't help you investigate a matter over which THEY have authority and are not exercising it.

1 Answer 1


Yes, that’s blackmail

Threatening to report an alleged crime is “menaces”. It’s only ok to use those in support of a demand if they are not “unwarranted” and there are “reasonable grounds” for the demand. Here, there are neither.

If a person is not performing a statutory duty then the appropriate response is to escalate the matter to their superiors or seek a court order. Not to “menace” them.

Of course, if the person has discretion over whether to investigate or not and they have properly exercise that discretion then there are no reasonable grounds for the demand. They have done all they are required to do.

  • Whether the discretion is properly (not) exercised would precisely be the point of contention. I don't think that reporting to their superiors (or, let alone, straight to the court) without trying to resolve it directly with the person first would be appropriate. That can be done either with or without saying "I'll go to the court if you don't do that". Are you essentially saying that indicating intention to go to the court should matter not be voluntary resolved is blackmail?
    – Greendrake
    May 20, 2022 at 1:56
  • @Greendrake no. That would be a “warranted” menace. Reporting unrelated tax evasion isn’t.
    – Dale M
    May 20, 2022 at 3:29
  • 1
    I would think the threat of reporting unrelated tax evasion would be illegal, but actually reporting it wouldn't. But what if I say "pay your tax or I'll report you"? So it's not unrelated.
    – gnasher729
    May 20, 2022 at 13:11

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