Liquor ‘Reform’ Takes SA Back to the 1960’s
South Australia’s reputation as a sophisticated metropolis has been dealt a blow by bureaucrats and enforcement agencies through heavy handed, simplistic responses to the perception of alcohol and violence.
The Bill before Parliament, intended to curtail the excessive behavior of a minority of the public in Hindley Street and other entertainment precincts, has inadvertently or deliberately trashed a right of all South Australians as to their access to alcohol.
This Bill imposes a STATEWIDE CURFEW between 4am and 7am – with the exception of the Casino (and the Parliamentary Members’ Bar).
The social consequences of the prohibitionist approach of 1915 that led to the 6 o’clock swill and all the negative ramifications are about to be repeated. Nothing has been learned.
“The Nanny State is sadly alive and well in South Australia,” said AHA|SA General Manager, Ian Horne.
“Industry solutions, interstate experience and international warnings have been ignored. Why?
“Is this about reform or police resources?”
The 6 o’clock swill is now the 4 am swill - and something has been lost along the way
The Liquor Licensing Bill introduced into the Legislative Council by Consumer Affairs Minister Gail Gago attempts to curtail or corral behavior issues in Hindley Street and other entertainment precincts but actually quashes some fundamental liquor reforms that had their genesis in the 1966 Royal Commission into Liquor Licensing, were championed in the Dunstan era and confirmed in the 1986 Secker/Young review.
That is, that in a mature and sophisticated market, alcohol should be available at any time with or ancillary to a meal while seated at a table and to lodgers. Apparently that right whether exercised or not is quashed despite no discussion of the issue or evidence that the policy contributes to anti-social outcomes.
The Source of Recommendations
The Bill is based on a review by the Office of Liquor & Gambling Commissioner (OLGC) announced on 3 December 2009 with a discussion paper released in July 2010, and public submissions received by 3 September 2010.
Seven months later the outcome of this ‘Review’ conducted by the OLGC into its own powers remains confidential to the Minister.
No public disclosure of submissions, no final report for scrutiny. The OLGC’s thought processes and analytical justification remain confidential to the Minister.
This Bill creates more problems than it could hope to solve. This Bill determines that unless you go to the Adelaide Casino, you cannot be trusted to consume alcohol anywhere in the State between 4am and 7am.
The AHA|SA asks the Minister to release the OLGC report and publish all submissions so as to guarantee confidence in the review process. Without such transparency, the review will be labeled as a ‘Claytons’ response.
Chief Executive Officer