In a surprise move to stem Queensland’s falling crime rate, the Labor government has acted to bring in harsh new liquor laws, set to give the criminal underworld a boost.
In the words of one local unnamed criminal source:
“From forcing young revelers to turn to “pre-load binging” on alcohol before clubbing; to sculling alcohol in the car on the way out; and in inspiring young people to turn to recreational street drugs, both as an alcohol replacement (many of whom may never have tried drugs otherwise), and for employment opportunities, as thousands of predominantly youth held jobs are set to be lost state wide from the hospitality industries – the Labor government appears to be taking a multi faceted approach to this crime boosting initiative, and that, in our view, is really quite commendable”
Another criminal added:
“Yeah … [It’s] really great to see. Hopefully it opens up whole ‘frat’ districts of young new customers, like it did in the United States: pushing crime so that it can be more liberally spread all over the suburbs. I’m not saying we can match the US crime figures, but under this government we can at least give it the old college try”.
Then a third criminal emerged from the shadows behind me, further elaborating:
“… cause, it is frannkly a bit of a hassle having to go where the customers are, you know? Like, when they are all concentrated where police forces can, not only better manage any incidents that occur, but where the Queensland police in particular have seen violent and drug crime rates drop in recent history – I mean, the number of youth offenders (10-19 year olds) decreased by 4% in 2013-14. It makes us a criminal laughing stock. Tourists will want to come here! But that was under previous governments with, like, more common sense initiatives? Spreading police forces thinner and increasing youth unemployment really gives us an “in” to expand”.
Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright, in the Queensland South Police Statistic report, only seemed to confirm what the felons I spoke with had been saying:
“Armed robbery is down by 16.3 percent … property crime down by 5.2 percent…[s]exual offences were reduced by 1.7 percent. There was a 1.2 percent decrease in rape and attempted rape offences and a 1.8 percent decrease in other sexual offences…a fall in property offences…break ins to homes across the region have dropped by 22.3 percent while unlawful entry of shops has fallen by 37.8 percent”
But never fear, Palaszczuk is here! And the Palaszczuk government seems set not to disappoint.
Using legislation packed with all the tried and tested techniques of “1am lockouts“, or “early last drinks“, and “no shots after midnight” restrictions, there is good reason to believe all of the same things that occurred in ever other place similar mechanisms were put in place will now happen to Queensland as well.
Nick Braban, secretary of Our Nightlife Queensland (ONQ), pointed out it may be difficult, starting from such a low crime rate, citing the fact that “assault rates in Queensland are already 63% lower than Newcastle and 86% lower than Sydney” adding, in reference to Queensland’s premier violence hot spot, “[w]e’re only talking about five assaults per weekend in [Brisbane’s] Fortitude Valley“!
Though, what Mr Braban seems to misunderstand, Premier Palaszczuk pointed out to me in an off the record interview earlier this week, is that over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night (and day); crime rates like that could equally be represented by numbers as high as one and a bit (ie 1.6) assaults per day! Adding that “the Palaszczukian Utopia Project” was not going to stand for number* (*nearly numbers) like that.
Premier Palaszczuk went on to say that Braban was blinded by his arrogance, that he underestimated the power of (AttGen) D’Ath’s side of the argument. Palaszczuk continued that it was reasonable for the force to redouble their efforts, moving towards a lower target crime rate of no less than a magnitude order of 0.066, that the state created criminals would be the new police force, under D’Ath, and also something about “Braban paying a price for his lack of vision“… or something of that sentiment. It was difficult to hear over the lightning bolts crackling from her fingertips, striking an intern who had admitted to a glass of champagne with their lunch.
And the reaction from industry seems equally convinced that the government plan to reduce tax revenue and increase youth unemployment will have the above stated effects. Nightclubs Queensland chairman Sarosh Mehta stated to the riotous applause of government onlookers:
“lockouts had not worked in Queensland [or] in southern states…[i]t is a proven fact that …lockouts have never worked. They have never worked…[t]hey have never proven… there is no evidence what so ever the lockout has ever done any good for the industry or for the community for that matter”
But it is not only selling drugs, to try and pay their way through university, while picking up chemical addictions, that the Palaszczuk government has in store for our kids.
When asked about the benefits of new legislation, that would be imposing some of the harshest laws anywhere in the world, on a state with one of the lowest, and still falling, violent crime rates anywhere in the world; a senior Palaszczuk Government minister added:
“[I]f they are looking for something to do after [lockout]…you can have a coffee, you can have a water, you can have a soft-drink…[and] you can have a flutter on the pokies[!]”
Gambling Addiction Advocates Australasian Headquarters (GAAAH) have welcomed this move. GAAAH have further supported additional Palaszczuk government plans to add exceptions for casinos from the new legislation.
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath is also in favour of laws that would force people to stay home, or (more realistically) to congregate in unsupervised party houses with no security and delayed police access, rather than go out into an entertainment precinct.
“Personal safety must be paramount“ she wittily quipped, tongue firmly pressed into her cheek, going on to add:
“The community is telling us it’s time to act, to keep people safe…I would rather – as a member of the Palaszczuk Government – explain to someone why at 2:30 in the morning they can’t have another alcoholic drink, than explain to their parents why they’re not coming home”
Joked the Attorney-General.
Of course, she would not have to do any of those things under any circumstances.
And, of course, this legislation means the opposite. When they do not come home, if they are “the one” of the 1.6 unlucky victims of (non fatal) crime (which occurs on the weekend while out in a “violence hot spot“) in this state: we will now have no security footage; our children will have no access to cabs; or security; or police, and as such we would not even know where to start looking, or have good evidence to press charges where necessary. See? That’s the joke. I mean it must be.
Or maybe I am joking.
As, in all honestly, what could be safer than being unemployed and drinking alone, at home, in your parent’s garage? Or living in a doss house in some dank suburb, as a forced employee of some well armed drug dealers, after dropping out of medical school when you lost your part-time/casual job in that inner city bar? Where could be safer than that?
Arguably, the Palaszczuk Government seems to want you to believe, no-where.
Incidentally, the same place this legislation is heading if the government has any sense.
*JJR is the psychiatry, malpractice and research science investigator for the Chronicle.
JJR (2016). Labor Wants Your Kids Addicted To Gambling And Selling Drugs. JChronLettSc, 01604 (01), Ed1.
- ABC: “Revised lockout laws will curb alcohol-fuelled violence, Queensland A-G says” – http://tinyurl.com/zwtqvsy
- Qld Government Set To Propose Most Confusing Lockout Laws Yet – http://tinyurl.com/hhkgtke
- Queensland To Face Some Of Australia’s Harshest Lockout Laws – http://tinyurl.com/hyzlsvh
- ABS: Youth Offenders (10-19 year olds) decreased by 4% in 2013-14 – http://tinyurl.com/gvkd966
- Latest reports of Queensland’s crime rates – http://tinyurl.com/glrm834
- Maps show changing nature of violence in Sydney’s CBD since lock-out laws – http://tinyurl.com/hsw64th
- Queensland Government Proposes Toughest Liquor Lockout – http://tinyurl.com/j93aca6
- UC Berkeley: The Impact of Juvenile Curfew Laws on Arrests of Youth and Adults – http://tinyurl.com/glwhnuq
- ABS: Homicide statistics – http://tinyurl.com/c829q73
- The World Bank: Intentional Crime (per 100,000 people) – http://tinyurl.com/m867kch
- Queensland Dropped by Two Percent- http://tinyurl.com/hmhsodc
- QPS: Crime Statistics – http://tinyurl.com/jnodjnc
- Bills: Bills of the 55th Queensland Parliament – http://tinyurl.com/h94b23n