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The House: Liquor Is Not Quicker In Law

(SUMMARY: A look at the issues and options in the Liquor bill to be debated in Parliament today)

The House will go into committee today to debate whether to liberalise the liquor laws.

In a unique move MPs will go through a series of votes on 11 issues until one option is agreed to by more than half of the House. Once all the issues are settled the Bill will be sent away for redrafting and then return to the House for a clause by clause debate

The Scoop yesterday raised the possibility that this would allow lobby groups and disgruntled MPs to relitigate the issues second time around. However the Minister of Justice, Tony Ryall has told The Scoop that this is extremely unlikely. He is of the opinion that under Standing Orders members will not be able reopen arguments on legislation already decided by the House unless leave is granted by the entire House.

As this is extremely unlikely to happen, many interest groups have but a few hours left to try and exert their influence.

For the benefit of readers here is The Scoop's summary of the issues as outlined in the Select Committee report. Further options under each issue are also to be introduced by individual members, these will be slotted in where they fall under the least restrictive to most restrictive order outlined.

Issue One - The Minimum Legal Drinking Age

Option A - A minimum legal drinking age of 18 in licensed premises or to be sold/supplied liquor , but persons may be younger when accompanied by a guardian, parent or spouse over the age of 18.

Option B - A minimum legal drinking age of 18 in licensed premises or to be sold/supplied liquor, but persons may be younger when accompanied by a guardian or parent over the age of 18.

Option C - The status quo i.e. legal drinking age of 20 with a number of exceptions.

Option D - The status quo, but with less exceptions for instance a person over 18 could not go to a licensed premise and consume liquor as part of a meal unless they were accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse.

Option E - The status quo but with only one exemption, that is a person under 20 can be sold or supplied liquor if accompanied by a guardian or parent.

Issue Two - Evidence Of Age Document

Option A - The status quo. No evidence of age document, policing of age the responsibility of liquor outlet managers with the defence of reasonable grounds for believing someone to be of the correct age.

Option B - Provides for an evidence of age document (anything with a photograph or as prescribed by the Minister) to be a defence against selling alcohol to a minor. Also the current defence would also stand.

Option C - Provides for an evidence of age document (anything with a photograph or as prescribed by the Minister) to be a defence against selling alcohol to a minor.

Option D - Provides for an evidence of age document (anything with a photograph or as prescribed by the Minister) and also allows the Minister of Justice to authorise a photo ID card.

Issue Three - Sunday Trading; On-Licence Premises

Option A - All on-licence premises open every day of the year.

Option B - Sunday trading, but closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Option C - Sunday trading, but closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

Option D - The status quo i.e. closed Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day. Current Sunday sale exceptions.

Issue Four - Sunday Sales - Off-Licence Premises

Option A - Sales every day of the year.

Option B - Sales on Sundays, but not Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Option C - Sales on Sundays, but not Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

Option D - Status quo, no sales on Sundays(except wineries). Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day

Issue Five: Supermarket And Grocery Store Sales (linked with issue 8)

Option A - Permit supermarkets and grocery stores to sell all types of liquor. This would allow any premises to sell liquor with a permit with the exception of service stations.

Option B - Permit supermarkets and grocery stores to sell wine and beer, but not spirits.

Option C - Status quo, just wine, no beer and spirits and current definitions of supermarkets and grocery stores

Issue Six: Whether To Restrict The Age Of The Seller of Liquor.

Option A - No restrictions on age.

Option B - Status quo, no restrictions on age except in restricted areas.

Option C - No restrictions, but minors selling liquor would have to be under close supervision.

Option D - Restricting the age of the seller to the minimum drinking age.

Issue Seven: Separate Check Outs And Dedicated Areas In Supermarkets And Grocery Stores

Option A: No restrictions (status quo).

Option B: Separate check out lanes for alcohol sales.

Option C: Separate check out lanes and dedicated areas.

Issue Eight: Sale of Liquor in All Premises

Option A - Any premises can apply for a liquor sales licence.

Option B - Any premises can apply for a liquor sales licence with the exception of petrol stations.

Option C - Status quo that is most premises can apply, but dairies and petrol stations are prohibited.

Issue Nine: Club Licences

Option A: Abolish club licences and allow club to apply for off and on licence permits.

Option B: Status quo, i.e. allow club licences.

Issue Ten: Club Charters

Option A: Status quo is allow for permanent club charters to sell or supply liquor without the need for a licence.

Option B: Remove the special club charter rules.

Issue Eleven: Organisations exempt from Act.

Option A: Status quo, some organisations are exempt from the act including Parliament, police canteens, prison canteens, armed forces messes and canteens and pharmaceutical sales.

Option B: Remove all exemptions except those concerning pharmaceutical sales.


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