Page 2200 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

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child or young person or has been authorised by the parent or guardian to supply the liquor and the supply is responsible.

I note the comments of the scrutiny committee which suggested that the assessment of what is responsible could be difficult and unclear. Whilst it may seem it is not black or white, I note similar discretions are regularly exercised in the criminal law. I cannot see a better way to frame this offence. I also note the comments the attorney provided to the scrutiny bills committee. He provided a detailed response to the comments made by the scrutiny committee, and they go to some length in responding to this reservation. I do not think it leads to a situation where any parent would be none the wiser, as Mr Hanson put it, on what responsible service of alcohol is.

I think you can create a straw man here. It is quite clear that common sense indicates what responsible service of alcohol is. I do not think anybody is seeking to create an offence whereby a parent who is of the view that it is appropriate, either culturally or physically, to allow their under-18 child to sip a glass of wine over family dinners to see what it is like is charged. Anybody would recognise that sort of thing is not irresponsible service of alcohol. But a 19-year-old adult who buys a lot of alcohol to supply their underage friends at a party is quite a different scenario, and that is what is being put forward. Improving secondary supply laws was highlighted through the review, and strengthening the laws was supported by health groups, ACT Health and ACT Policing. Again, Mr Hanson made a great deal of his concern that police would be put in an impossible position, yet ACT Policing supported these provisions being put into law.

My view is that this is an appropriate area to regulate. There are various harms associated with the use of alcohol and these impact young people as well. It is reasonable that the laws prevent the irresponsible supply of alcohol to young people, even in a private home. This change will bring the ACT in line with the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria in regards to secondary supply laws. I do not support the argument put forward by Mr Hanson. Considerable thought has been given to this. The stakeholders who have supported the insertion of these provisions into law recognise the negative effects of the harms of excessive or irresponsible alcohol consumption for minors particularly. This a considered and proportionate response to an important issue.

The third amendment in the bill relates to the Commissioner for Fair Trading’s ability to determine who is a suitable person to hold a licence or permit under the act. The bill includes a new protection by allowing the chief of police to disclose criminal intelligence to the commissioner. It also allows the commissioner to request information about people suspected to be able to significantly influence a licensee or permit holder.

Under the existing Liquor Act the commissioner already has a range of considerations when deciding who is suitable to hold a licence. The commissioner considers issues such as previous convictions and whether they have previously been bankrupt or personally insolvent. As the explanatory statement notes, the measures are to help ensure the liquor industry is not infiltrated by criminal elements. I am told this is an industry that is unfortunately susceptible to that risk. The suitability provisions mirror those in place for the security industry, which is also another susceptible industry.

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