Banned Drinker’s Register a win for civil liberties

/, LSAWA Comment, Public news/Banned Drinker’s Register a win for civil liberties

Contrary to the views expressed by some ill-informed commentators, the proposal to create a government-managed Banned Drinker’s Register (BDR) is actually a win for civil liberties.

Despite some pundits arguing that asking consumers to provide ID when purchasing liquor is “too invasive”, the automated ID scanning and verification system we have developed is quite the opposite.

The fact is the legal options currently available to government to restrict the sale and supply of alcohol to a troublesome individual are very limited. In practice, that means whenever an individual or small group is abusing alcohol and causing a problem for others, Police lobby the Department to impose blanket bans on what can be sold, by whom and when – impacting on every innocent citizen in the region.

Furthermore, sly-grogging, other substance abuse and outright theft enables the problematic individuals who caused the restrictions to find a way to self-medicate regardless, and the only people disadvantaged are responsible consumers and the small businesses that can’t trade.

The civil liberties argument against a Banned Drinkers Register might be valid if the proposal was to provide the private details of banned drinkers to retailers. However, since our device will only provide a red or green light indicating whether or not a customer’s name is on the register or not, it is nonsensical.

The system developed by the Liquor Stores Association will not even store any information about a person’s behaviour or criminal record, let alone make it available to any users of the system – including the government agencies that will manage the data.

The last misnomer to dispel is that showing ID when purchasing a regulated substance is some sort of imposition on civil rights. The law already makes it legal for liquor retailers to demand to see the ID of consumers before the sale and doing so is not only considered best practise, but compulsory in many places around the world.

The naysayers will always find a way to criticise change, but as leaders in the responsible promotion and supply of a very valuable legal product, the LSAWA firmly believes showing your ID when buying takeaway liquor is far less of an imposition on civil liberties than not being allowed the same freedoms as every other responsible consumer in the state.