I AM all for getting rid of the aggressive drunks and drugged, the coward punches, intimidation, crime and violence in Fremantle.
But I do also believe the community should get more detailed information about the power given to WA Police by the McGowan government.
The new law allows police to ban people from visiting one of five designated entertainment zones in Fremantle, Northbridge, Hillarys, Scarborough and Mandurah for up to five years.
I am concerned that the new law could disproportionally impact on our Aboriginal people, especially kids who feel safer on the streets at night than being in an abusive family environment.
History tells us we already had exclusion zones for our First Nations people, when Aboriginal people were only allowed to come to certain parts of Perth, and for only certain days and hours.
So are there human rights issues with the new legislation, and who will dare to question that in parliament?
Will the antisocial behaviour part of the law include banning homeless people from sleeping on the streets, or vagrants occupying seats in the High Street Mall?
Can they be banned from coming to Fremantle? What exactly are the rules?
Will this be a blanket ban, preventing people from being in the designated precincts? What if they work in one of the areas?
Will people banned from the Fremantle precinct still be able to visit Centrelink, Medicare, Freo Council, Communities department, Fremantle Hospital, study at Notre dame uni, shop here, etc?
There is a serious problem with alcohol abuse in Australia.
Far too many people are still going out to get drunk, instead of socialising and having fun.
It does not help much either that the responsible service of alcohol is taken lightly in many pubs.
While visibly drunk patrons might no longer be served alcohol, nothing stops their less inebriated mates to get drinks for them, hence we often witness very drunk people literally falling out of pubs.
Pub owners also need to take ownership of the problems.
Selling drinks is money for publicans, selling a hundred more drinks per night to already well done patrons pays for some staff wages, so there is a financial incentive to not be too strict with responsible service of alcohol rules.
Years ago Little Creatures had a problem.
There had been a crackdown on drunken behaviour during the Sunday sessions in Cottesloe pubs, so they came to Creatures instead.
The great response by Little Creatures was to introduce compulsory table service. Patrons could not order or loiter at the bar, so the drunks moved on.
Fremantle and East Fremantle councils established the Fremantle Liquor Accord in 1995: “to promote well-managed licensed premises in an environment that prevents drunkenness and anti-social behaviour, minimise irresponsible service of alcohol – promotion of responsible service of alcohol in licensed venues is of paramount importance, reduce social disruption and anti-social behaviour around liquor licensed venues within the CBD and surrounds, minimise crime and violence in and around liquor licensed venues.”
Is that still in place?
I also wonder how police officers will know who has been banned? Will the CCTV systems in Fremantle and Perth get facial recognition technology?
I stress again that I support cleaning up our streets, but it is power that could be abused by individual officers.
Who will be policing the police?
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