Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. Kari Bourne

Banning violent drunks from venues raises privacy issues

ANY proposal to ban known violent drunks from licensed venues in Queensland raises issues of privacy and mistaken identity, a criminal law specialist has suggested.

While ID scanners are now relatively common in large entertainment precincts, Gilshenan and Luton partner Glen Cranny said any sharing of recorded images or data from those images among licensed premises would need legislation safeguards against misuse.

"The sorts of things that I think people would be expecting is that there are appropriate safeguards in place for the use of such information - its storage, use and destruction," he said.

Mr Cranny said ID scanners, CCTV and facial recognition technology were all still evolving and he feared they would result in mistaken identity and wrongful exclusion.

But Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said neither a discussion paper nor an expert panel looking at reforms to control dangerous binge drinking had suggested the bans outlined in a News Ltd publication on Monday.

He did say he would consider periodic bans if licensees sought them, though no decision had been made, but not lifetime bans for people identified through ID scanners as having a history of violent behaviour while drunk.

"We intend to announce a package of reforms in the coming months, including tougher penalties for patrons who don't do the right thing, licensees to be better equipped to ensure safety of their patrons and the continuation of high-visibility policing in key entertainment areas," he said.

"I have also flagged that there will be tougher penalties, no one should feel unsafe because someone else has had too much too drink. Again, no decision has been made."

Issues about violence at licensed venues have long been the subject of discussion but came to the fore again this month after a man died after a late-night bashing on the Sunshine Coast.

Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre director Dan Lubman said the proposal showed a tendency to focus on an individual's actions when there was a societal problem making heavy intoxication acceptable.

He said Australians could buy alcohol whenever and wherever they wanted for a relatively low price and it was fuelling increased violence on the streets.

"If you went out on a Friday and Saturday you'd have to ban a lot of people and the bars would be empty," he said.
"It is simplifying the problem - there's not just one or two with behaviour problems

"Emergency services are spending a lot of time ... mopping up alcohol-fuelled violence.

"There is a tendency to blame individuals but we condone a culture where people can drink as much as they want, when we know if we drink too much it affects decision making ..."

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief Daniel Gschwind said drunken violence in public places was a community problem, noting most clubs and bars already had security and responsible alcohol procedures in place.

He said people needed to take responsibility for their own inappropriate or aggressive behaviour and if they marked their own records through misbehaviour then there should be consequences.

"The clubs and venues are managed very tightly and a big problem is what happens in people's homes and public places," he said.

"It's very difficult to control what people consume at home and how drunk they are when they get out into the public places

"It's a community problem, not so much a venue problem."



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