Page 201 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Mr Corbell, and probably to a larger extent Mr Gentleman, went through some of the more recent initiatives that the government is proposing. I think they need to revise their ideal outcomes in relation to the Liquor Act and liquor licensing laws. As I said earlier, it is very much anti-business and it does not really address what is probably the most significant problem—why people go out and get absolutely legless—and therein lies some of the problem. That needs to be addressed.
I think the minister was forced, kicking and screaming, to accept something that the police have been saying for a number of years—that is, they need on-the-spot fines. At our roundtable there was unanimous support from all the relevant participants—Aerial Taxis, people from CAFS, AFPA, the Taxi Association, the chamber of commerce, City Heart, King O’Malley’s, the AHA, and several individuals—for on-the-spot fines as being a very sensible way of defusing a lot of the problems. And that on-the-spot fines proposal went to a much greater extent than what Mr Corbell is proposing.
The opposition has put forward this motion in a serious attempt to come up with a holistic solution to the problems in our nightspots. It genuinely wants the whole Assembly to look at this problem. It has always been a problem; it will never go away completely but we certainly can defuse it to a great extent and make our nightspots a much more pleasant place for people to visit, regardless of the hour of the day. The opposition is very keen to see everyone work together on this matter. As I indicated to Mr Corbell yesterday, I am very happy to work with him further in relation to on-the-spot fines.
Our bill has been before the Assembly since 29 August. That bill contains exactly what the police, in every police station I visited last year, wanted in there: on-the-spot fines. In a couple of instances some new offences have been proposed. The bill provides for on-the-spot fines of either $200 or $100 for disorderly or offensive behaviour in or near a public place or, indeed, a school. It broadens the definition a bit but I think that is important.
Offensive language in or near a public place or a school is also included. One of the most offensive things that can occur when normal people are walking down the street is to have some loud, abusive drunk swearing and carrying on in an incredibly loud and aggressive way. That is when the police would be able to use that particular offence. By any objective or even subjective test, for any normal person that is quite offensive. The language aspect certainly is offensive, but it probably relates more to the way the language is being used. That is a fresh offence. It was an old offence in the Summary Offences Act; it is something that all the police I spoke to, from superintendents down to very junior constables, wanted to see introduced.
With respect to defacing premises, I am pleased to see that the minister has included something in that regard. Misbehaving in public meetings is also something the police were keen to see. With respect to fighting in a public place, the minister seems to think that is something the courts could judge. The courts sit over there—
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker: Mr Stefaniak is going into some detail on the issues around his crimes amendment bill, and also my