Peter Wellington
Peter Wellington Cade Mooney

Wellington backs new pub violence laws

SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Wellington has supported new laws to crack down on alcohol-fuelled violence, despite his concerns they don't go far enough.

The Nambour-based Nicklin Independent said he still wanted to see the issue of closing hours addressed, suggesting that pubs and clubs which closed at 5am should only be allowed to serve non-alcoholic drinks from 3am onwards.

However, the former policeman and lawyer said he believed there were many good measures in the laws which should be supported.

Mr Wellington, who has been a strong critic of Premier Campbell Newman and Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, said he hoped after the next election the issue of trading hours could be dealt with by the new government.

The Newman government's Safe Night Out laws includes a coward punch law which means prosecutors no longer have to prove an intent to kill during late-night drunken attacks in public.

The legislation also gives police more move-on powers - such as bans from the safe precincts including Airlie Beach, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Ipswich - and penalties for those who ignore the orders.

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Mr  Bleijie told Queensland Parliament he wanted his three children to have safe nights out when they were old enough to drink.

Mr Bleijie said these laws would result in "long-term changes to the culture that leads to anti-social and violent behaviour".

Opposition police spokesman Bill Byrne labelled the LNP a "marshmallow-tough" government.

The Rockhampton MP said the government had ignored the legal fraternity which opposed many elements of the bill.

"I am very pleased to be opposing this bill because it is weak, wishy-washy and will be ineffective," he said.

"I've never heard anybody at 3am walk up to me in any bar or pub in Queensland ... and say 'crikey I'm thirsty, I've got to keep this bar open till 5am because I'm dying of thirst'.

"The issue of trading hours is the central problem."

- WITH APN NEWSDESK



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