Parliament: Speeches on Bills

Liquor Licensing (Small Venue Licence) Amendment Bill

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I will speak briefly this evening on behalf of Dignity for Disability in support of the Liquor Licensing (Small Venue Licence) Amendment Bill. When I say ‘briefly’, I should say that I mean briefly, unlike some of the ridiculous circus that has been going on in the public realm over this debate in the past few weeks. In fact, I believe a media commentator (in fact, the Hon. Ms Franks mentioned him), Mr Matthew Abraham, speculated recently that this issue is taking up too much of our leaders’ time.

Of course, I am always one for healthy debates and discussion and amendment to legislation and, certainly, I think that this issue should matter to all of us, because it clearly matters to a lot of people in our community. However, I will go as far as to say that on this matter we do seem to be going round in circles to some extent. People are not recognising the evolution of culture, venues and entertainment and, especially, of ‘hipsterness’ in this town.

If you are not sure what a hipster is or, indeed, what a hipster bar is, you should certainly get yourself down to one of them, particularly the ones that the Hon. Ms Franks has already done me the service of mentioning, but I will certainly talk about one in particular, later, because they are an often overlooked and undervalued race in our society, the old hipsters—or young hipsters, as it would be, fittingly.

As members have no doubt noticed, while I am not necessarily the most typical young person you would have come across, as I put it to my staff member just a few minutes ago when we were working on the speech, I am hip to the extent of knowing where it is at: I do not always know what it is, though. But, I am young, and chances are, hopefully, I will be alive further into this century than most of you here in this chamber will be.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: No offence. In my future years I would like to live in a city where people stop making jokes about the lights turning out at 9pm. I would like it to be a pulsating (I am sick of using the word ‘vibrant’) place. We need to imagine South Australia as the pulsating state. ‘The Pulsate State’—I like it! I would like it to be a pulsating place where people can enjoy a diverse range of arts and culture, live music, festivals and general good times. So, I want young people to be able to do their ‘thang’. I would also like international backpackers and world travellers to land here and take advantage of our city centre and all it has to offer. I would like people to add Adelaide to their itinerary rather than bypassing it on a flight between Sydney and Perth, and that ain’t going to happen when you are carrying on like this.

There has been endless harping on about Queensland’s similar small venue licence, but I think we could also look further abroad. I think we need to look at places like Spain and Portugal, and I have attempted to research this via the library but it turns out that the provision of information in English is somewhat limited—I guess, for understandable reasons. Unfortunately, when it comes to European languages, French has always been my thing as well as a bit of Spanish but when it comes to Portuguese I let myself down more than I would like. C’est la vie.

In Spain, many people drink and eat at tapas bars. They eat and consume drinks, including alcohol, while standing. Just because they are not sitting down to a five-course meal does not mean they are not eating and consuming alcohol responsibly. It is just often the way they do food in Spain. We have moved past a steak and three veg dinner or a ‘schnitty’ at the pub being the only food options available in modern multicultural Adelaide. It is 2013, people. Let’s get with the program. Debating whether a sit down meal is available is not really relevant to this day and age nor to the type of venue that we are talking about in this legislation.

I believe the city of Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, has the highest density of small bars in the world in the Bairro Alto region. Most are small bars you would not know existed in daylight but that open up onto streets in the evening and, in some cases, the early hours of the morning. Sure, it is not perfect and at times there is antisocial behaviour, as there can be in any size bar, but for the most part residents and bars exist in harmony.

It might be providing entertainment in a different way to what we are used to doing, but I believe that is the way we should be heading. Quite frankly, it is far preferable to the huge venues that need dozens of muscled security and metal detectors to ensure the safety of its patrons with that safety still not guaranteed as we have so tragically seen in recent months.

Udaberri, which has already been mentioned for good reason, in newly regenerated Leigh Street is a good example of what this type of new category licence could apply to. At Udaberri they provide tapas and pintxos and one can consume enough food to account for an ample meal. Whilst I have not been there myself as yet, my staff assure me that the food, drinks, music, service and atmosphere at this venue are fabulous. It is young people doing good things in a new way in a place that was previously a pretty quiet part of town, and I think we should encourage more of this.

The debate about numbers is perhaps a relevant one but I do not think that reducing the number to 80 in terms of capacity under this legislation is necessary. There are significant expenses in providing a bar for up to 120 people. Security, for example, is a considerable cost burden and I believe reducing the numbers to 80 on this licence would make some bars not financially viable. For instance, 120 could be enough to tip over the threshold in terms of needing extra security but 80 patrons would not necessarily provide the opportunity to recoup those costs. A bar like Udaberri, to my understanding, has never had fights or bikie brawls, nor any police callouts. It is really not small bars that are responsible for antisocial behaviours, shootouts and drunken riots. These small venues are not the ones whose operations we need to review. I commend the bill to the council.