In the busier districts of Queensland, the streets come to life in the wee hours of the night. But that’s not necessarily a good thing according to some members of the state government, who cite late-night, alcohol-related violence as the cause for a new proposal to restrict bar and club services after midnight.
Australian Labor Party member and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is on a mission to see stricter limitations on the service of alcohol throughout the state. If she has her way, last call will be set at 2am, at which time bars and clubs will be banned from serving alcohol until the opening of the next business day.
Venues in designated entertainment zones would have one additional hour to serve alcohol, with last call set for 3am. However, they must agree to establish a 1am lockout, meaning that patrons can leave anytime they wish, but no new patrons will be permitted to enter the bar past 1am. Additionally, beverages with a higher alcohol content, such as hard liquor and shots, may not be served after midnight.
Currently, Queenslanders are subject to nothing more than a 3am lockout at bars and clubs. If the controversial liquor law receives the approval of parliament next week, the austere restrictions on alcohol service would go into effect in July 2016.
This isn’t the first time Premier Palaszczuk has sought to limit bar and club service in Queensland. Earlier this year, she proposed a 3am cessation of alcohol service in bars and clubs with a 1am lockout. That was followed by a lengthy community consultation process, after which the proposal was altered to a 1am lockout and 2am last call prior to next week’s parliament session.
Queensland’s Attorney General, Yvette D’ath, is also on board with the plan to enforce a stricter liquor law curfew on bar and club service. She told the press that, if the new law passes, clubbers throughout Queensland will still have plenty of opportunities to pull an all-nighter.
“You can have a coffee. You can have a water. You can have a soft drink. You can have a flutter on the pokies and the enjoyment of the nightlife that is there,” she said.
Needless to say, those words aren’t much of a comfort to business owners and nightlife enthusiasts who prefer a nip to a quench or a spin on the pokies.
Similar Laws in Sydney Raise Ire, Defiance
The proposal closely mirrors the contentious laws enforced in Sydney last year, where clubbers are locked out of nightlife venues within designated ‘CBD entertainment’ precincts after 1:30am, with last call at 3am.
When Sydney first invoked it’s last call liquor law, English actor and comedian Russel Brand spoke out against the insobriety curfew while preparing for his Australian tour, which included a 2-day stop at the Sydney Opera House and Qantas Credit Union Arena last October.
Brand vowed to defy the laws, pledging to keep “venues open beyond the time of any curfew.” He said, “We will be serving whatever drinks people want way into the night and we will consider it our duty as citizens of a free planet to stay up way past everybody’s bedtime till we are so tired we all start crying just to defy this preposterous law.”