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Lockout Laws and Alcohol fuelled violence

On 18 February 2016, the Queensland Government passed legislation which purports to reduce alcohol fuelled violence by creating even harsher lock out laws. These laws were put into effect from 1 July 2016.

The previous legislation prohibited entry into licenced premises after 3:00am. This legislation was an attempt to curb alcohol fuelled violence.

The current regime provides the following amendments to the
lockout laws:

· All licensees of licensed premises across the state (except commercial special facility licences that are casinos and airports) will be required to cease selling liquor at 2.00am. This condition commenced on 1 July 2016.

· The sale of “rapid intoxication drinks” is not permitted between 12.00am and 5.00am - once again, this restriction does not apply to commercial special facility licences that are casinos or airports or premises that are
subject to an industrial canteen licence. The Bill defines rapid intoxication drinks as “drinks that are designed to be consumed rapidly or contain a high percentage of alcohol” e.g shots. This condition commenced on 1 July 2016.

However, licensees in a “3am Safe Night Precinct” approved by the Minister may sell liquor to patrons until 3.00am on application. They will be subject to a lock out condition between 1.00am and 3.00am, e.g. patrons cannot
be allowed to enter the premises between these hours. The lock out condition will commence on 1 February 2017.

Arguably, the genesis for these amendments was the tragic death of Cole Miller which occurred in January 2016. The first sitting date of parliament was 16 February 2016, with the legislation passed at 2:30am on 18 February 2016.
Is this another case of punitive populism?

Undoubtedly, there is a causal link between binge drinking and violence. However, the recent one punch death of Mark English, who was killed by his son, is evidence that alcohol fuelled violence is not limited to a time or place.
Violence occurs in schools, parks, streets, venues and homes.

The legislation is to be independently reviewed in July 2018. This review will provide persuasive evidence whether these amendments have achieved their purpose of reducing alcohol fuelled violence.

Written by Elliot Boddice.


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