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“It’s brutish”: AHA slams call to evict drunks from all licensed venues

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A proposed law change to require drunk people to be kicked out of all South Australia’s licensed venues – including those hosting events like weddings – has been described as “draconian” and “brutish” by the Australian Hotels Association.

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The recommendation is one of 129 suggested changes in the 332-page report of an independent liquor licensing review being considered by the Government.

Other proposals include consideration of a national minimum price for alcohol, alcohol advertising bans for public transport, a “name and shame” list of operators caught breaching licensing conditions, tougher penalties for licensees caught selling alcohol to a minor, and allowing pubs to open on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Currently, it is illegal to serve a drunk person alcohol, but the recommendation proposes going further to require all licensed venues – including those hosting wedding receptions, wine tastings and birthday parties – to throw out any intoxicated person.

Under the proposal, it would be an offence to “allow a person who is in a state of intoxication to be on the licensed premises”.

“We just think it’s draconian,” Australian Hotels Association SA general manager Ian Horne told InDaily.

“The licensee should absolutely not serve [a drunk person] any more alcohol, but to remove them? Throw them out into the street?

“It’s dangerous. It’s brutish.”

Horne said the proposal would open licensees up to extraordinary risk, and force people to be unnecessarily expelled from weddings, birthdays, corporate and sporting events, and wine tastings, as well as pubs and clubs.

“Everyone in the liquor industry would be opposed to that,” Horne said.

“If you have a [wedding] reception at any licensed venue … the caterer will be obliged to … remove intoxicated people.

“Which could include the bride … if not the father-in-law.

“The entire wedding party might have to be kicked out, depending on the circumstances.

“What do you do at the RSL on ANZAC Day?

“We just can’t see that there’s any justification for it.”

He said it wasn’t clear how “intoxicated” a person would have to be to get kicked out, but that under the recommendation, licensees would have no legal defence if someone is found to be drunk in their venue.

The review also recommends more high-visibility police patrolling streets and entering venues, a law to force anyone who “appears to be” under the age of 25 to produce photo identification, and giving police the power to breathalyse bartenders and licensees.

Former Supreme Court Judge Tim Anderson writes in the review that, “paradoxically, while a person who is controlling entry to licensed premises can be tested by police and must have a zero drug and alcohol level, a person responsible for actually managing and supervising the sale and supply of liquor is not subject to such scrutiny”.

“The most glaring example of a responsible person drinking on the job comes from the recent prosecution of the Penneshaw Hotel and the responsible person on duty, a Mr Richard Purvis,” Anderson writes.

“It was alleged that Mr Purvis continued to serve the customer liquor when he was clearly intoxicated and also was drinking alcohol himself whilst performing the duties of a responsible person.

“Mr Purvis and the licensee pleaded guilty to the allegation that a customer was continuously being served liquor to the extent that he subsequently crashed his car on leaving the hotel with a blood alcohol reading of 0.292.

“The customer died from injuries sustained in the crash.”

However, Horne said the AHA was also “totally against” breathalysing licensees and their employees, a proposal he described as adding “more red tape” and preventing cellar-door guides from tasting wine while hosting a wine tasting.

The review also recommends spreading small bar licences to North Adelaide and allowing restaurants to sell alcohol to patrons without necessarily selling them food.

In addition, it recommends:

The State Government is currently considering the review, which can be read here.

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