Newman lays down law on drunken violence

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Queensland premier Campbell prefers to target alcohol-fuelled violence through tougher penalties and more police rather than cutting drinking hours.

He said the government can go two ways: introduce closing times for pubs and clubs, and thereby reducing drinking hours, or increase penalties and have more police targeting trouble spots.

The premier said he was backing the latter, which includes more police and drug dogs in party areas.

However, he was unable to give an estimation on how much this would cost the public purse.

He said protecting the profits of venues was not his motivation for not favouring a reduction in drinking hours.

“Higher taxes on alcohol and curtailing drinking hours punish the many (partygoers) for the sins of a few,” Mr Newman said.

“My preference is to go down the road where we say ‘if you misbehave, if you engage in any anti-social behaviour, if you vomit, if you urinate in an alleyway, if you engage in graffiti or worst, you commit a violent act, you are the ones we should be jumping on’.”

Mr Newman said he also supported increasing the minimum sentences for such acts and possibly introducing ID scanners in pubs and clubs.

“We can then make sure that people who are trouble makers don’t get into venues,” he said.

“What we need to do is send a clear message to the few who make it unsafe for the many that they are not welcomed in those places if they continue to misbehave.”

He said this zero-tolerance approach would change the culture.

Before deciding on a course, Mr Newman said he wants to hear from the public, especially 18-25 year olds, about what they think is the solution.

He called for them to either write to him or use social media to express their view within the next three months.

More than 300 submissions have been made to the government from the liquor industry and anti-violence campaigners.

Some campaigners want Queensland to adopt Newcastle’s successful approach of a 1am lockout and 3am closing time.

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