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Speech: Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill


The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:33): I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019. I know that this bill gives the commissioner and the court the power to vary or revoke an exemption that has been granted previously, but not statutory exemptions conferred by the Liquor Licensing Act itself. It provides for fines and expiation fees for breaches of codes of conduct. It allows for a streamlined process for interstate licensed liquor retailers to obtain a licence in this state, modelled on existing provisions in the Northern Territory's act.

It also includes recommendations from the review that had been previously omitted. It clarifies the ability to impose annual fees for short-term licences and gives the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner the power to refuse a name change for licensed premises, for example, if the name is either misleading or offensive.

It requires a licensee to inform the commissioner of any changes to their contact details and it gives the commissioner and the Licensing Court the ability to exempt a licensee from a mandatory condition or rule that applies to a licence, except for conditions imposed under section 42. It also introduces fines and expiation fees for breaches of a direct sales licensee's obligations to indicate their licence number in any advertising and their obligation to require the prospective purchaser to notify the licensee of their date of birth.

It clarifies provisions regarding the display of the copies of liquor licences on licensed premises, particularly in this modern world, and enables records of liquor transactions to be kept out of the state, for example, on servers located interstate—again, reflective of this modern world.

I thank the government for the briefing that we received on 4 September this year. We understand that, while we have not received submissions directly on this bill, although I have received some correspondence from the AHA which I will shortly come to, the government has consulted and received feedback from the AHA, SAPOL, SA Wine Industry Association, Restaurant and Catering Association, and Retail Drinks Australia. At the time of the briefing, there was no Law Society advice, although we will certainly check that, but we ask the government if that is yet to come forward. We are also interested if Clubs SA, Independent Retailers Association or Food SA have any contribution to make.

I echo some of the sentiment of the previous speaker in terms of the opposition's concerns, particularly about the new fees that will impact some quite small licensees for the believed risk that is associated with, not how they operate, not how many people are endangered on their premises, but simply for the time frame in which they are open. I will come to that further, but for the moment today I would like to draw the attention of the council in this debate to the behaviour of SAPOL in regard to licensing enforcement of liquor licensing in this state.

In particular, there have been court proceedings with regard to the Kincraig Hotel. I note that these are public documents, although they have been raised with me by the AHA, and I thank them for providing me with the document which I will now draw detail from. In relation to this court case, in 2013 the Kincraig Hotel was the subject of action initiated through the Licensing Enforcement Branch's covert operation within the hotel.

That culminated with the camera recorder that was positioned on a table in the northern part of area 5, facing south in that particular bar, seeing male A returning to the undercover police officer's table and talking to another police officer. In that, a young male wearing a Santa hat, so it was just before Christmas, buys male A one can of Bundaberg rum. He was served by the on duty responsible person working behind the bar. The responsible person could clearly see the younger male pass the can on to male A. Male A is clearly intoxicated. The responsible person in this particular situation was then prosecuted for serving somebody who was intoxicated.

What is more interesting about this case is that, if one goes further forward in the evidence, the behaviour of the police—as I said, undercover, with a covert surveillance device, sitting in a bar, observing the pre-Christmas celebrations of some males—involves the police officers complaining that they could not see the cricket on the TV due to the antics of these blokes, and I quote from the affidavit.

'Get out of the way mate, can't see the TV,' says the police officer. Male B says, 'He's a legend, he's gone till dark, you're a legend, buddy' (referring to Male A) 'its 9 o'clock you've gone till its dark, haven't put you in a taxi yet, haven't put you in a taxi,' to which the police officer interrupts, '[Guys] I can't see the TV.'

Male A, the intoxicated person, approaches the police officer. The police officer says, 'Hey mate, having a good night mate, what time did you get here mate?' The intoxicated Male A says, '12 o'clock.' The police officer says, 'Oh no.' The intoxicated Male A says, 'Today drinking alcohol,' to which the police officer says, 'You've been here all day?' Male A replies, 'Yeh.'

Police officer states, 'What did you have, a Christmas show?' Male A says, 'Yes, where you from?' Police officer answers, 'Adelaide.' Male A says, 'Adelaide.' Police officer says, 'Yeh, just here for a weekend, have a look around.' Male A says, 'Very good.' Police officer says, 'Yeh, are you a local?' Intoxicated Male A says, 'Yes, yes, I drink a lot.' Police officer says, 'Have a good night. Don't spill any.' Intoxicated Male A says, 'Have a great time.' Police officer concludes with, 'You too...' Clearly, a very dangerous intoxicated person.

The camera is then positioned, the affidavit goes on, to further observe the behaviour of this group of drunk revellers enjoying Christmas festivities. In no way do I condone intoxication to this level in a pub, but one would have to be very unobservant to think that this is not typical Christmas behaviour. I question why a police officer has been stationed with his colleagues for several hours observing a few drunk blokes in a pub, in Santa hats, getting increasingly drunk.

However, here is where I really question the behaviour of the police. The camera recorder is then positioned on the table in the northern part of area 5, facing south. Male A, still sitting at the police officer's table, is not speaking, only using hand gestures, wiggling fingers. The police officer tries to communicate with Male A, although he is not speaking. Male C walks up to Male A. The police officer says, 'Get this bloke another drink?' His mate, Male C, says, 'Nah, [expletive] him, you buy him one.'

The police officer says, 'I'll give you money, you buy him one?' to which Male C says, 'Alright, rum or scotch?', asking intoxicated Male A, 'Rum?' The police officer hands Male C a $10 note. Male C walks to the bar and is served one butcher glass of liquor. Male C returns to the police officer's table and gives intoxicated Male A the glass of liquor. Male A, intoxicated, stands up for a brief moment and urinates in his own pants, then sits down, having had a sip of the liquor.

I ask you, what on earth is LEB doing handing out $10 notes to the friends of intoxicated pub patrons to entrap bar staff? I will have many more questions to raise on this topic in the next sitting week of parliament, but for the moment I ask the government to provide the number of covert operations LEB has undertaken in the last five years broken down to indicate which of those relate to liquor licensing.

I also ask the government to provide information on the times that LEB has used surveillance devices, and how many times these have been reported under the appropriate acts. I also ask the government to provide information—obviously via SAPOL—on how many times LEB has handed patrons $10 notes, $20 notes, $50 notes, to buy alcohol for intoxicated patrons in order to then prosecute bar staff in this state. With those particular comments, I seek leave to conclude my comments.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Second Reading

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 26 September 2019.)

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:31): I rise very briefly to continue my remarks made previously in this place and to continue my speech on the Liquor Licensing (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2019. I have raised already some questions on the practices of the Licensing Enforcement Branch on those premises which do enjoy a liquor licence. Additionally, I asked the government to provide some responses on a question relevant to clause 17, which section will enable the ability, where an annual fee is to be paid, for a change in the time frame with regard to the payment of that fee. If the government could provide some response as to why this change is necessary, that would be most appreciated, either at clause 1 or clause 17, depending on which way it would like to operate.

My further point of interest is at clause 14, which provides that the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner can refuse a name change for a licensed premises. The advice that we are told in the briefings to this bill that have been provided to the Attorney-General and her department indicates that currently there is no power to refuse a name change, and it is clear that there would be circumstances under which a name change should be refused; for example, if that proposed name was offensive.

In the other place it was raised as to whether examples could be provided. One example I will draw on that has been raised previously in this council would be that of the PiMP Pad, a gaming lounge for gamers to eat their nachos and drink their beer with other gamers, rather than in the privacy of their lounge rooms, isolated, but to share communally in premises that enjoyed a liquor licence.

The PiMP Pad was at one stage on Franklin Street and eventually, due to council protestations, was required to change its signage to become known as The Pad and to place its door down the back alley rather than on the frontage of Franklin Street. Not long after that it went out of business. It is now replaced by something called Crack Kitchen. I do not know if it has a liquor licence, but certainly the large signage on the front of Franklin Street is now 'Crack' in a quite large tiled black and white facia.

My question to the government is: could they please provide examples of where clause 14 has been found to be required by the commissioner to refuse naming or name changes of licensed premises? With those few words, I conclude my comments.

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