This video explains some legal issues surrounding young people, alcohol, pubs, clubs and partying.
Transcript of Video
Annalisa (lawyer): If you go to parties and out to pubs and clubs there are a number of legal issues you need to be aware of. So for the next few minutes we want to take you through some general points that you may face when it comes to alcohol, pubs and parties.
16 y.o. female: Why can’t I drink if I’m under 18?
Annalisa: There is actually no law that says you can’t drink alcohol under the age of 18 except on licensed premises or in the street. If you’re at home, your parents may offer you a glass of wine or a beer, that’s not breaking the law, but of course that is a decision for your parents as to what age they allow you to do that.
17 y.o. male: Can I go to a pub if I’m under 18?
Annalisa: A lot of people think that if you’re under 18, you can be in a pub if you’re with a legal guardian or responsible adult. You can only be in a licensed premises if you’re having a meal in an area designated for food service. You can’t be in an area that prohibits under 18’s - even if you’re not drinking. You might think it’s OK as you’re not having a beer or wine, but there are some pretty big fines for the publican.
20 y.o. female: I’m 20 - that means I can act as a responsible adult or legal guardian for my friend who’s 16 right?
Annalisa: No, you’re not classified as a legal guardian or a responsible adult in this case. To qualify for that role, you have to be someone who has similar parental rights as a parent does. So just because you’re 20, you're not necessarily regarded as a responsible adult. This is important to remember, especially for school leavers who are 17 and have friends who are over 18.
17 y.o. male: What if a ‘friend of mine’ gets past the bouncers and now he’s inside the bar. He’s under 18, but if he’s not drinking, they can’t chuck him out, right?
Annalisa: Pubs or clubs are private premises. That means, if you refuse to leave when asked, you are both trespassing and committing an offence called ‘failing to leave a licensed premises’. And remember, a pub doesn’t need a reason for kicking you out or refusing you entry apart from discrimination based on race, religion or disability. If they don’t like the look of you, they can tell you to leave. You don’t have the right to stay there just because your friends haven’t been kicked out or you’re not drinking.
15 y.o. female: I’m going to have a party at my house for our end of year schoolies celebration. The way I understand it, everyone can drink because we’re not at a pub or a club.
Annalisa: Hosting a party for people under 18 is not that simple. For starters, there must be a responsible adult present to supervise anyone drinking who is under 18. But before the party even starts, all parents of those invited must give consent that their child can drink. Some parents now ring every parent who has a child attending and get permission that their child can drink. It is also advisable to have written permission. If a parent says they don’t want their child to drink, the responsible adult must make sure this is enforced. By the way, any consent your parent gives is only related to the party you have been invited to!!
15 y.o. female: OK, so my Mum’s spoken to all my friends parents and they’re all OK that we’ll be drinking. So time to party?
Annalisa: Again, there’s more to it than just getting permission. The responsible adult can determine if your friends can bring alcohol or if it will be supplied. It will be a pretty messy party if everyone turns up with a bottle of vodka each. The host can choose to supply suitable alcohol and is required to monitor the amount and type of alcohol drunk. Also, it is a legal requirement that the host provide adequate food as young people’s bodies can’t handle lots of alcohol. At the end of the day, the person whose house it is has the final say. If they want you to leave, because you are not doing as they ask, they can ask you to leave. Same as a pub, it’s a private residence and if you don’t leave you can be charged with trespass.
15 y.o. female: Sounds like there are a lot of things to consider. Anything else I should know?
Annalisa: Well actually, if you want to make sure you don’t get hassled all night, it’s a good idea to fill out a Party Safe Registration form. This lets the police know what’s happening. If there are complaints about the party, like noise, the police might ring and tell you to turn it down rather than turning up and shutting you down. You can find this form on the Tasmania Police website. Also, if there are problems with gate crashers, the police know all the details and can respond accordingly. It’s worth doing to avoid dramas on the night.
15 y.o. female: Everyone puts their party invites on social media, but my parents don’t want me to, why’s that?
Annalisa: There are plenty of reasons why open invites on Facebook can go seriously wrong. Once you post that invite and it gets shared around, you have no control over who will turn up. You might think you’ll have the best party ever if heaps of people turn up, but it doesn’t work out like that. People might gate crash, possibly trash your parents’ house, start fights and so on. At the end of the day, your party can turn into a nightmare very quickly.
17 y.o. female: What if I do all that stuff and the party still gets out of control?
Annalisa: It’s really important that you know what can happen. If you think you might get a slap on the wrist from the police and it will be all forgotten, think again. Your parents, or the responsible adult, can face serious charges, including jail time. So if a friend drinks at your party and they didn’t have permission from their parents and something happens, the results could last a lot longer than your hangover will.
Annalisa: This is a brief overview of some really important facts you need to know when it comes to alcohol, partying and pubs. If you follow this advice, it could stop you from getting in trouble with the law and potentially getting stuck with a criminal record that really affects your life for years to come. But things in life don’t always work out the way you hope, so if you do get into trouble, contact the Legal Aid Commission for advice. It’s a free service and, most importantly, it’s confidential.