South Perth MLA John McGrath has called for a rethink of the strategy for enforcement of ‘street drinking’ laws on Australia Day in response to numerous complaints from constituents over the announced crackdown on alcohol at the Skyworks Show.
Mr McGrath said the ban was another example of law-abiding West Australians being penalized over the actions of a small minority.
“I want police to come down hard on those louts whose actions ruin the day for others … and I’m sure they have the power to do that. But let’s not prosecute people who are enjoying a quiet drink while watching the sky show,” he said.
“People have made the point to me that it is un-Australian to prevent responsible adults from celebrating the national day with a social drink.
“They say this highlights an anomaly in that on any other day of the year West Australians can enjoy a social drink in public places such as King’s Park, other riverside locations, bush picnics etc without drawing the unnecessary attention of police.
“I happen to believe that my constituents and I should be able to join with family and friends in an Australia Day celebration which includes responsible alcohol consumption.
“I can understand public frustration with the law when drinking in a public place is generally seen as acceptable for 364 days of the year but is banned on this great day of celebration.
“What appears to have happened is that the police don’t want responsibility for exercising discretion. Yet, they exercise that discretion on every other day of the year.”
Mr McGrath said he would be taking the matter up with his government colleagues.