Parliament: Speeches on Bills

Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2013

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I speak today in favour of the second reading of the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2013. I would like to start doing that by thanking Brad Green from the Attorney-General’s office for briefing my office on this bill last week. We certainly have had some issues in relation to some venues and alcohol-related violence outside of those venues, including some that resulted in the death of young men in sad circumstances which Dignity for Disability would certainly hope could be avoided, as I think we would all hope for.

Alcohol-related injury and illness, whether through car accidents, other accidents, violence or ongoing abuse, are certainly a significant cause of disability and chronic illness in South Australian society. I am pleased that the government is acknowledging (through features in this bill) the significant harm that alcohol can and does cause to society, and that the disease and cost burden is far greater than the problems many illicit recreational drugs cause.

However, venues that serve alcohol are only one part of this picture. The vast majority of venues across the state serve alcohol in a responsible fashion and also manage unsociable behaviour in an equally responsible manner. This bill is really to deal with venues and patrons that operate outside the intended rules.

At this stage, I would like to ask a question of the government regarding the feature in this bill which now includes a definition of ‘intoxicated’ to enable prosecution where licensees provide alcohol in breach of section 108. I understand that we will insert the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory definition of intoxicated (by drugs or alcohol) as:

(a) The person’s speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is noticeably affected; and (b) It is reasonable in the circumstances to suspect that the affected speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is the result of the consumption of liquor or other substances.

I have concerns about this definition, as you may suspect, because of both personal experience in what I have had reported to my office, and also what has been noted in the media where people with disability are discriminated against when attempting to purchase alcoholic drinks in licensed venues. I know I have been asked many times if I am allowed to drink, for example. As if I need a permission note from my mum, despite being nearly 25 years of age!

I have no issue with the definition as such, but I would ask the government and the Australian Hotels Association to ensure that adequate training be given to (often young) staff about some disabilities which can lead to people presenting as being intoxicated, for example people with cerebral palsy and people recovering from a stroke. As people with disabilities get more access to the community—as they should have already—and are able to live fuller and richer lives that may include going to the pub (a long overdue activity for some) this issue needs to be addressed.

I also acknowledge the work of my parliamentary colleagues, the Hon. Ms Franks, the Hon. John Darley and the Hon. Robert Brokenshire for their amendments to this bill. I advise that I am still considering the sets of amendments and intend to give them each the consideration that they deserve. However, with regard to Mr Darley’s amendments, I certainly share his frustration that the Casino seems to be constantly exempt from the laws, regulations and rules that every other licensed venue in the state is held to, and that certainly does not seem fair, to say the least.

I also note the incredibly outdated features of the act that Ms Tammy Franks has identified, and Dignity for Disability is certainly open to these particular amendments. I only received the Hon. Mr Brokenshire’s amendments this afternoon, I understand, and I am still considering them. At this stage I am happy to proceed with the debate and consider those amendments.