Robinoz (Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm): we have …

Comment on LETTER: How will they enforce the footy booze limits? by Bob Durnan.

Robinoz (Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm): we have just seen the demonising and demolition of the Banned Drinkers Register (BDR) by the Terry Mills Gang.
The BDR in Alice Springs (and in places like Nhulunbuy and Groote Eylandt) was based on requiring production of ID for scanning in order to purchase takeaway liquor, or to enter large public bars selling alcohol.
In principle there is little difference between the BDR scheme and a licence to drink alcohol. Both are subject to some loopholes, such as onsupply by third parties, but in both cases this particular problem would become lesser over time if the scheme were to be supported by intelligent policing, as the onsuppliers would themselves be subject to licence withdrawal or banning, and most would grow wary of risking this too often.
The sanctioning of bad behaviour, and the need to take responsibility for your own actions, were central to the workings and aims of the BDR process, a fact seemingly missed by those rightwing political warriors who only wanted to see negatives emanating from legislation enacted by their political adversaries. They were truly blinded by their own dogmatism.
Those banned or having their drinking licence withdrawn for a period would grow more and more careful not to repeat too often the risky behaviours that lead to these things.
Most other loopholes, such as buying interstate, would not be likely to present a large scale of undermining of the scheme, especially amongst many of the biggest problem drinkers; and interstate and internet buying could be sanctioned as well where those who carry out this trade cause problems for others and come to the attention of police.
Both the BDR and licence approaches, whilst not absolutely effective, would substantially reduce the levels of problem drinking.
I believe that the public would find it easier to accept a modified version of the BDR than they would a fully fledged licence to drink alcohol, but I would be very pleased to be proven wrong, as I think a licence to drink alcohol would ultimately be fairer and easier to administer than some arbitrary aspects of the BDR enforcement. However, a BDR would be much better than what we have now, as the present situation is bound to lead to much greater alienation, and eventually aggressive behaviour, between Aboriginal drinkers and police.

Bob Durnan Also Commented

LETTER: How will they enforce the footy booze limits?
Hal – I imagine it would have to work like this: the retailer scans the ID and product type. The scanner screen shows if that ID is already associated with any sales of the restricted products on that day. If the scanner shows the customer’s ID has already reached its quota for the day, then the salesperson has to refuse to sell the product.
If the database shows it’s the customer’s first purchase of the day, the sale is able to go ahead (unless the customer is also barred from drinking by a magistrate maybe???), then the database will record that the sale has occurred, and retain the info until midnight. You are correct: it would be better for somebody to check these details, rather than rely on my guesswork.


LETTER: How will they enforce the footy booze limits?
Hal – Aren’t licensees still using the scanners in Alice after 6pm in their bottle shops to check whether customers who want to buy a wine cask or bottle of fortified wine to consume off-licence have already bought another one in another shop on the same evening?
I’m pretty sure that’s the go. If so, then it will be easy to check about details of these provisos too during these three days.


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