Liquor Licensing (Supply to Minors) Amendment Bill


Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:12): I rise to support the member for Morialta on this bill that he has put forward. I think it is a very responsible approach. I am pleased to hear that the government agrees with the intent of the bill. I understand that the member for Morialta is appreciative of the decision to recommend it to a standing committee, but he will speak more on that himself.

I would like to add, of course, that I hope that the government does not take nearly as long to refer this bill to the standing committee as it has to fulfil its commitment to me and to this house that it would undertake a full, open and frank inquiry of country health by the Social Development Committee. I still wait for that, more than two years after that commitment was given.

With regard to this bill, the issue that I wanted to touch on, because it has been discussed very fully, is that of the ability for parents and families to provide alcohol in a responsible fashion and how that links into the access to the appropriate liquor licence for a function. It happens all over the state that families or schools or associated organisations want to put on functions for some celebration or other. It might be end of year at school, it might be an 18th birthday, it might be a 21st birthday—something like that—and, very typically, the organisers want to give alcohol away.

As we would all know, liquor licensing is attached to the supply of alcohol. It is not actually linked to the sale of alcohol, and that is completely appropriate. Whether you want to sell alcohol or whether you want to give it away, you need a liquor licence for some specific function.

I think particularly of rodeos, where rodeos in the north of the state—and there are five of them in the electorate of Stuart—have had an absolutely dreadful time dealing with the liquor licensing commission with regard to getting their licences, but more directly related to this bill is families and I use an example of an 18th or a 21st birthday party. They want to invite friends of their son or daughter, typically, to come and have a function at home or in a town hall, as happens very regularly in the part of the state that I live; a town hall or perhaps the footy clubrooms.

They go about their business responsibly and they invite people along—typically other parents are invited as well—and they put in an application to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner for a licence to supply alcohol to their guests. That application has to be in no less than 21 days before the event for the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner to have enough time to consider it. That is fair and reasonable, but regardless of how far in advance of the event the application is put in, almost always the family trying to organise the event will not get confirmation of the licence back until one or two or three days before the event is due to take place.

Even if they put their application in two months or three months or six months in advance of the event, they are still made to wait until just a couple of days, typically, before the event is to be held before they get their licence back, before they can fully confirm to all of their guests, their family, their son or daughter who is having an 18th or a 21st birthday party, that it is actually on.

These are good people trying to do the right thing, trying to get a licence, comply with the law, understand that they will not be supplying alcohol to anybody under 18 and that they will provide reasonable supervision and, as I said, particularly in the country it is very normal for the parents of the birthday person (for lack of a better word) and the friends' parents to be there because it is a strong community event. There are often grandparents, aunts and uncles there, all sorts, but they do not know that they have actually got the licence until the very last minute. That is something that has to change. It is something that absolutely must change.

The same is true for very large organisations trying to organise their events, like rodeos or races or field days; they all have to wait until the last possible minute, regardless of how early they get their application in. The rule that says you have to get an application in no less than 21 days before the event, by definition, proves that the application can be processed in 21 days, so if you give two or three months' notice, why do you still have to wait until the very last moment?

This is an issue that affects events all throughout country South Australia and, I am sure, from time to time in the city as well. It is very closely linked to the member for Morialta's bill because it is about the responsible service of alcohol at events like this to young people who are not your own children; who are guests at this event.


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