Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:40): I rise to support the comments of the shadow minister for consumer and business affairs on this very important issue. I am a former publican in the outback. I have held quite a few liquor licences—me, my company and my business partners—four, in fact, and four of them simultaneously. It does not make me an expert on this issue because it is a long way from Hindley Street (I acknowledge that), but it gives me some insight into the issues and I spent some years running licensed venues. One of them, in fact, was a 24-hour liquor licence—24 hours a day, seven days a week, non-stop for 365 days a year, serving alcohol. Certainly, on Good Friday and Christmas Day, and other times throughout the 24-hour cycle, there were different guidelines and rules about what you could do and how you could serve your alcohol, but it was pretty well non-stop.

The other important thing I would like to say, as did the member for Goyder, is that the Liberal Party opposition agrees with almost everything in this bill and it would be a great shame if the area that we disagree with the government on was turned into something bigger than it actually is. We really do understand how incredibly important it is to deal with this issue. We really do understand the issues about alcohol abuse and the health issues that result from alcohol abuse (alcohol-fuelled violence), and many other very important issues that affect our state are not to be overlooked and we do take them very seriously.

As the member for Goyder said, we agree with the minister and the government on the vast majority of issues in this bill, but we do not agree with the 3am lockout or, as some people call it, the 3am lock-in. I can also say quite openly that I have no desire to be drinking anywhere at 3am—I cannot see why that is necessary—but there are plenty of people, plenty of adults, we know, who are legally entitled to do so and who have a different opinion, and they go about taking up their right very regularly.

In relation to this issue of the 3am venue, I would like to put on the record clearly that it has received favourable feedback in Whyalla and a couple of other places where it has been used, but I think the distinction is that a regional centre such as Whyalla and the CBD of Adelaide (which is really where it would be in effect) are very different places. The number of premises and the number of patrons are extremely different and they require totally different management, and the number of risks on the streets late at night in Adelaide compared to other parts of our state are very different as well.

I am especially concerned about the likelihood, if this comes into effect, that on a Friday or Saturday (or any other night of the week, potentially) at 3am on Hindley Street, or other CBD locations, there would genuinely be mayhem. I do not mean mayhem in a global catastrophe sense but mayhem in terms of managing the precinct and venue responsibly when people flow onto the street because they do not want to be locked in or locked out, depending on your perspective. I have heard a lot of people use both terms, including the police. That would be a very serious issue.

We are only talking about this because there are lots of people. If there were not lots of people in these late-night venues at 3am, we would not even be talking about this issue. So, by definition, there are a lot of people who will be caught up in this. Some will choose to stay and some will choose to go, but the reality is that anybody who leaves a venue after 3am will not be able to re-enter another one.

I think that has significant risks, particularly for more vulnerable people, and particularly women. That is in no way trying to say that women are less responsible for themselves than anybody else, but they are, by definition, less physically capable of looking after themselves on the streets, although perhaps more mentally capable. Women would be put at risk, and they have said this.

Young men perhaps could be at risk as well when they are alone on the street late at night and cannot enter a venue for either another drink, something to eat, protection or whatever it might be. They might be at risk of violence from other men. If someone is locked out of a venue, perhaps inadvertently, and separated from their friends, a man or a woman, they will certainly be at greater risk on the streets than if they were with their friends on the street.

We all know that people have mobile phones and can call their friends, but that may not work because the friend is perhaps intoxicated and not quite as alert as they should be (and we are only even discussing these things because that is exactly what is happening at the time; if that was not the state of play this issue would not be being discussed), or they might be in a night club and cannot hear the phone ringing. So, the friend might be outside, inadvertently locked out, and the rest of the group of friends are inside, not knowing that their friend or colleague is outside, and would not even be aware of it.


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