Queensland’s controversial ID scanning laws have a powerful new enemy: Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.
Last night Quirk told the Courier Mail the measures were damaging the city’s international reputation and needed to be overhauled.
“Some local businesses are closing their doors earlier, which is damaging to the night-time economy and doesn’t help Brisbane’s ‘new world city’ image,’’ Quirk told the Courier.
Quirk brought up the example of age pensioners and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark being turned away from bars to illustrate that the issue had gone “from the sublime to the ridiculous.”
“Council supports a review into the current laws to establish a better system that will balance a safe night out with a vibrant night-life that supports local jobs so we can promote Brisbane’s world-class dining and entertainment scene,” Quirk said.
The comments followed yesterday’s launch of this year’s Valley Fiesta; Quirk hopes the laws will not deter people from attending the two-day festival.
“I just hope the laws aren’t too bureaucratic for people and they will continue to come,” the Brisbane Times reported Quirk as saying.
“These laws are in place, they are in effect and so I think we ought to be doing that, making sure that we minimise any situation where people will be refused entry because they don’t have ID,” Quirk said.
In some ways Quirk’s comments are to be expected. He’s a Liberal mayor criticising a Labor State Government and has been pushing hard to position Brisbane as Australia’s “new world city” with major developments such as the already underway Queen’s Wharf casino and resort and the Brisbane Live arena and entertainment precinct proposal, which is potentially in the pipeline.
But his comments are also in step with complaints made to Broadsheet by venue owners last month. They called the laws “poorly executed”, “hugely damaging” and a “one-size-fits-all approach”. In an earlier Broadsheet story, award-winning venue owner Jamie Webb said: “These things are just going to take Brisbane back to the ’80s. Long taxi lines, punch-ons, people queuing to get into venues. All to stop a grand total of 100 people state-wide with banning orders.”
Those comments followed a horror start to the implementation of the laws when a group of visiting French winemakers was turned away from the Gresham. Webb himself took to Facebook to publicly vent his frustrations at the measures.
The state government has so far ruled out revisiting the laws.