There are no doubt similar examples of bureaucracy gone mad in Australia.
Australians may feel hard done by sometimes over our multiple levels of government and the amount of unnecessary bureaucracy we are subjected to, but European Union regulations, political correctness and equality issues have created some laughable situations in Britain.
Here are some examples, drawn mainly from The Daily Telegraph.
Cheese made in Stilton can no longer be marketed as Stilton cheese. The European Commission has granted Stilton cheese Protected Designation of Origin status. The PDO states that only cheese produced in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire may be called ''Stilton''. This excludes Stilton, which is in Cambridgeshire.
Immigration judges have ruled that Valentine Harverye, a Zimbabwean drug dealer living in Britain who scarred a woman for life, cannot be deported at the end of his 5½-year jail sentence because he could face ill-treatment if deported to Zimbabwe and therefore deportation would be in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On January 1, 2007, Romania joined the EU, which means that Romanians, including career criminals, no longer need a visa to enter Britain. In July, police and immigration officials deported Romanian travellers who had turned one of London's plushest districts into a ramshackle camp. But those who were booted out with resettlement grants have pledged to come back because street begging pays far more than working in Romania. The farcical situation effectively means the Home Office paid for them to enjoy a short holiday and the UK is powerless to prevent them returning due to EU freedom-of-movement laws.
Before Birmingham council introduced a new wheelie-bin policy, it sent out a questionnaire to the city's residents asking them to define themselves by one of four different sexual orientations, 21 different racial groups and eight religions. They were not, however, asked whether they actually wanted wheelie bins.
Abigail Gent, from Shropshire, was thrilled to get a cubby house for her third birthday. But when her parents erected the small structure in the paddock outside their home, they received a letter from the local council ordering them to take it down, or apply for planning permission at a cost of £169 ($290). This, the letter said, would almost certainly be refused since the paddock was agricultural land and could not be built on.
When applying for a library card, residents of Islington, north London, were asked to fill in a form. It did not ask them about their taste in books, or what they hoped to get from the library. It inquired whether they suffered from cancer, AIDS or diabetes; did they consider themselves to be gypsies or travellers; and were they gay and/or transgender?
The 2011 UK census broke new ground in official intrusion by asking people who was present in their home on the night of March 27 what kind of central heating they had, whether they were in a civil partnership, and ''how well can you speak English?'' Presumably, those without sufficient English to understand the question were not required to answer it.
Teenagers at Barnsley College, South Yorkshire, were told to fill in a form, with their name on it, asking whether they were bisexual, gay, lesbian, heterosexual, transsexual or ''prefer not to say''. A college spokesman said the question was part of its ''general equality duty''. This duty evidently overrode their duty to respect pupils' privacy.
Following a review by catering officials, the menu at the Flintshire council offices in Mold, North Wales, had to be rewritten after officials decided that a popular pudding was potentially offensive. Spotted Dick has now been renamed Spotted Richard or Sultana Sponge.
In the consultation process over plans for a new road, taxpayers in Greater Manchester were given a form asking them 10 questions. Three dealt with the road. The others were personal questions including, ''Is your gender identity the same as the gender you were assigned with at birth?''
Taxi driver Deepak Amar, of Woodthorpe, Nottinghamshire, has lived in the UK for 33 years. He holds a private hire licence from Nottingham city council and has no criminal record. But when he applied for a similar licence from a nearby council, he was ordered to provide a criminal background check from India, to prove that he had been law abiding in the 1960s and 1970s.
Kirklees council in West Yorkshire produced a 44-page manual called ''Equality Essentials'', for staff training courses. It banned staff from using sexist terms such as fireman, policeman or chairman. It even banned the term ''political correctness'', saying that it could be damaging and had links to use by the Ku Klux Klan.
The BBC's latest equality report expressed alarm that there had been a drop in the number of disabled staff, from 4.6 per cent to 3.5 per cent in the past five years - while just 3.1 per cent of senior managers are disabled. The corporation now has a 22-point plan to make sure that more of their staff are disabled as soon as possible.
Council forms in Brighton, long known for its progressive attitudes towards gender and sexuality, now include a new title - Mx, alongside Mr, Mrs, Miss and Ms. The new term, which is short for ''Mixter'', is intended as a gender-neutral term for those who do not identify as either male or female.
There are no doubt similar examples of bureaucracy gone mad in Australia. Perhaps those who are concerned about the US National Security Agency snooping into their private lives should focus their attention closer to home.
Clive Williams is an adjunct professor at Macquarie University's Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism.