Everyone’s A Criminal
I don’t know what it is like in your part of the world, but here in Queensland bar tenders have a lot of responsibility when it comes to serving alcohol. Not just to make sure the glasses are clean and the beer is always flowing, but stuff like asking for ID from those that are lucky enough to look younger than they really are, or cutting a patron off when he/ she has had a skin full. These responsibilities are set in Queensland law and all have fines attached to them.
Serve alcohol to someone that is under age or has had too much already?
“CA-CHING” that will be (up to) $8,000 fine thanks very much.
A few months ago, the Queensland Government in their wisdom introduced several new Bills into parliament that were enacted into law, known locally as ‘Anti Rights Laws”. These are supposed to put the brakes on the activities of “Criminal Motorcycle Gangs” as the government calls them. They are much broader than that, and I wrote a tongue in cheek post about the laws here.
There are three parts to the laws:
The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013. (Also known as VLAD, as in the impaler),
The Criminal Law (Criminal Organisations Disruption) Amendment Act 2013, and
The Tattoo Parlours Act 2013.
This last one is interesting in that it not only legislates against tattoo parlours and their owners, operators and staff, but also contains amendments to the liquor act of 1992.
A bar tender friend of mine pointed out that this law affects him in a way that he may not be able to control. He said that if a patron has had a skin full, its pretty easy to spot and cut said patron off. Likewise, if a patron can not produce valid ID, they can be refuse service.
But, how do you know if you are in breach of part 173EB (above) if you can’t see the banned insignia?
If the insignia is in the form of a tattoo, and is on the side of the neck, it is easy to spot. If, however, it takes the form of a belt buckle and is in plain view but can not be seen from behind the bar, it could be deemed, by an over-zealous licensing inspector or police officer, that the bar tender “knowingly” served the banned patron.
“CA-CHING” that will be (up to) $11,000 fine thanks very much.
This law doesn’t just apply to pubs and clubs.
Consider this: You have a 1% tattoo on your neck. You take your kids to Regents Park to watch the local football derby between the Wombats and the Bandicoots, and are sitting on a stool in the club house.
Wait… you can’t do that because alcohol is sold on the premises and you have an insignia on display.
No problem, I’ll go to the bottle-o and buy my own to take with me and sit in the stands… Nope, can’t do that either because bottle shops sell alcohol.
Stuff it! I’ll just go to my mates 35th birthday party, it’s at his place and he hired caterers for the night because he is expecting 150 people… Nope, can’t do that either because the caterers have a permit to serve liquor for the night.
In any of the examples above if the patron is served and is found in breach of the law, the bar tender who is just trying to earn a living, will be fined and may have a conviction recorded against him or her.
This and other draconian laws are being so vigorously enforced that some sections of the community are losing respect for the police and the Queensland Government, even the Australian Human Rights Commissioner has slammed the anti rights laws.
Yep, the edict has come from on high… Don’t believe me?
How about the bloke that was booked for doing 1km/h over the posted speed limit, yes I know its illegal to speed, but its the way in which the driver was detected that’s the worry.
These have all happened in the past two weeks, and in all instances fines were issued. One has since been rescinded…
I wonder if it has anything to do with the new scorecard system brought in by the police commissioner recently?
1 penalty unit = $110 (at time of writing)