Wednesday 18 November 2015
Hansard of the Legislative Council
LIQUOR LICENCING AMENDMENT BILL 2015 (No. 48)
Mr FINCH - We are lucky to have two, aren't we? He did give me some insight into a process that takes place, with a file and a record being kept. I am just wondering if we could get some more detail on how that will take place. I quote Terese Henning from The Examiner newspaper on 12 October:
A person could be banned from a very wide range of premises and a very wide area for up to six months entirely at the discretion of Tasmania Police, without ever having been charged with an offence.
Such orders are open to abuse and to discriminatory application.
Terese Henning stressed the barring orders were not subject to judicial oversight. It is a case of increasing police powers without increasing access to justice accordingly. In this case, a police officer has the power to convict and penalise without trial or judicial review. It is of concern to me, on the face of it. The Australian Lawyers Alliance state president, Henry Pill, said the amendment would give police huge powers to bar a person from a range of venues for any reason they liked. That is the only area of concern I have.
It is timely, and it is good it is being reviewed. It is good the process is taking place, evolving and changing as people's drinking habits change. I cannot make any comment about what happens in nightspots or venues late at night, or early in the morning, these days. I may have been able to make a comment many years ago. My habits have changed. It is good we do have processes that keep in check this evolving situation with use and abuse of alcohol.
We are talking about supermarkets and having the sale of alcohol closer to venues. Apropos what I am saying about me having moved on in age, time, and use of alcohol, whenever I am in New South Wales or Queensland I never find it confronting to see alcohol being sold in close proximity to supermarkets, or in supermarkets. It would be an interesting debate if we move to legislation which allows this to occur more frequently. When my boys all worked in a bottle shop, there was a lot of pressure from the owner to suggest if ever it was opened up, he wanted me to speak strongly in opposition to it. We have not had the debate or dealt with that specific situation. In my dotage, when I look around on my travels and see the sale of alcohol, it does not affect or worry me.
The member for Windermere mentioned there is evidence and reports about the fact it is probably not a good thing. I would like to embrace the information if we do move to a debate on whether we should allow it to occur. I would be interested to see the debate unfold, and what the evidence might be which might prompt a decision from me one way or the other. At the moment, I do not have a concern when I see people going about their shopping. It makes it convenient. It is easier, one stop. When people are responsible drinkers and users of alcohol, it is the way to go. You buy your groceries, you buy your alcohol supplies, away you go.
I am supportive of the bill but would be interested in the Committee stage to flesh out the mechanics of how a police officer will be able to point the finger, make the decision, and say 'You are not allowed to come back here for six months', or less, however that process will work.