Alcohol Service Laws in Canberra

By 10 June, 2011 11

Was at a major chain grog shop this afternoon and in front of me were two youngish girls one of which was buying a 6 pack of beer on her ATM card. What has me though is because only the girl paying for the grog, who by all accounts was over 18 had ID service was refused.

This rather intrigued me so I asked the cashier if I were in the store with my teenage child (not that I have one) and they were either under 18 or could not produce ID would I too be refused service. The cashiers response was no that is different, you would be served. I am still scratching my head trying to work out why.

Now I understand there are laws preventing someone over 18 buying grog on behalf of a minor, but this is the first time where I have ever seen someone refused service because someone they were with didn’t have ID. So two questions.

Firstly can anyone see or explain to me what the difference is between someone buying grog with their under 18 child present and an 18 year old buying grog with a friend present who is either under 18 or has no ID?

Secondly if anyone has done the RSA course in Canberra what do the rules say about this? Curious to know if this is a company policy or an actual law.  If law it seems rather daft even though I can see the possible intent.

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11 Responses to Alcohol Service Laws in Canberra
#1
krasny11:57 pm, 10 Jun 11

It’s because you count as a responsible adult. Not as sure of the application in a bottle shop situation, but you could take your (let’s say 16 year old) child to the pub, because you are older by enough to be a responsible adult, but their 18 year old friend or sibling couldn’t. It’s about minimising the chance that they are seen to be facilitating the provision of alcohol to a minor, and it applies to sale of smokes as well. I would have said it shouldn’t be an issue for bottle shops, since drinking is not outright prohibited for under-18s – it is ok on private property, for example, but smoking is still illegal, so I’m not sure why they bothered but in a bar, I’d expect it, if not the outright removal of the unaccompanied minor. That said, it’s a helluva long time since I did my RSA, and the rules may be different here.

#2
buzz8196:49 am, 11 Jun 11

There is no law that says you can’t do it. It is probably that stores policy, which, I think is quite a good one, it is preventing the person buying the alcohol from committing an offence.

The difference between you buying when your kids are there and this young girl is quite obvious. You are classed as a responsible guardian for your kids, an 18 year old friend is not classed as a responsible guardian. That is under the new Liquor Act that started in 2010.

I remember when I was 18, same thing happened to me, I wasn’t allowed to buy the 6 pack because I was with a 17 year old mate, so it’s not a new thing either. Some places recognise that they don’t need the $18 that badly that they sell the alcohol to people who they think are going to break the law.

#3
Antagonist8:12 am, 11 Jun 11

It does make me scratch my head a little, but the solution is pretty simple here. Just leave your dumb underage buddy out the front of the shop to wait until AFTER you buy your sixer.

The other one that irks me is the staff of the Vikings group who keep telling patrons it is illegal to sell shooters in any form, or shots without ice. As I understand, it is/was only illegal to advertise their sale, and the refusal to sell is actually club policy. Put simply, I cannot walk into any Vikings club to buy a scotch or cognac ‘neat’ without bar staff trying to convince me they are acting illegally. I have never encountered this problem in the Labor or Southern Cross Clubs.

#4
JC10:17 am, 11 Jun 11

As I said I worked out what was happening, but still do no follow what the actual law is and how it is implemented. In particular at what age, or age difference between the two does one become considered a responsible adult? Also if the minor with me is not related to me does it make any difference?

To me though age or kinship makes no difference in determining responsibility. To me if the person buying is over 18 then they are responsible. If they then give the alcohol to a minor then it should be them, and not the proprietor that is responsible for that action. Guess yet another nanny state law designed to make the government look tough on issues such as underage drinking that has so many flaws it is useless.

And Antagonist your workaround highlights the stupidity of the law in this case. as you said all she needed to do was go to the next bottle shop and leave her friend outside.

#5
bd8410:38 am, 11 Jun 11

The laws about the supply of alcohol to minors have been the same for a long time. It is illegal to sell alcohol to a minor or to someone you believe may supply a minor with alcohol. It doesn’t matter whether the purchaser is their best mate or their grandma. It should be an easy decision to ask for ID when an 18 year old comes in with their 15 yr old mate and buying a 6 pack. Even if the mate stays outside, service can still be refused if the seller is aware that it is occurring. Parents buying for their kids is still illegal, if the parent and the child stand in the aisle with mum asking loudly what little Johnny would like to drink tonight, the seller would be required to ask little Johnny for ID. There aren’t many cases for the parent situation, but the law still applies if there is reasonable belief that alcohol will be supplied to a minor. I did have fun applying the law to that parent situation in my former retail life a few years back.

#6
buzz81910:59 am, 11 Jun 11

The Liquor Act 2010;

Adult—

(a) is a parent, step-parent, guardian, person acting in place of a parent, domestic partner or
carer of the child or young person; and

(b) could reasonably be expected to responsibly supervise the child
or young person.

#7
Henry8211:22 am, 11 Jun 11

(I have NSW RSA, and have worked in the “liquor retail” industry.)

It’s generally an offence to supply alcohol to a minor. Hence why the 2nd girl got carded, then refused service. As for you and “daughter”, hypothetically you *can* both be carded, likely? no.

I’ve refused service to a parent before, as the kid came in 10 minutes earlier with a fake id and tried to purchase the same item. (i got alot of verbal abuse for that one)

Antagonist said :

Just leave your dumb underage buddy out the front of the shop to wait until AFTER you buy your sixer.

Depends how clever the cashier is and how [dumb] the buyers are. I’ve seen kids go in first, pick out what they want, then yell “i’ll see you out the front with the booze” as they leave. I’ve also seen kids just wait next to the front door looking in (very obvious when you have security cameras outside).

Antagonist said :

The other one that irks me is the staff of the Vikings group who keep telling patrons it is illegal to sell shooters in any form, or shots without ice.

It could be a restriction on their license. Not all liquor licenses are created equally.

JC said :

In particular at what age, or age difference between the two does one become considered a responsible adult? Also if the minor with me is not related to me does it make any difference?

It doesnt (to both questions), its just a blanket rule (being an offence to supply alcohol to a minor). However, they use discretion as not much alcohol would be sold otherwise.

From my experience, if you’ve got kids close to drinking age, and you’re buying “alco-pops” for your own personal enjoyment, leave the kids elsewhere while you buy booze. They’re old enough to do their own thing, they dont need to be on your side the whole time.

#8
CanberraGirl196:02 pm, 11 Jun 11

I don’t think it’s actually a law, but it’s not exactly uncommon. I’ve had quite a few friends refused service in liqour shops when they had underage friends with them. Also, if the “adult” is only a year or two older than their underage friend, they’re much more likely to be supplying them with grog than their parent (which is a huge assumption, but it is the way the staff tend to think).

@Antagonist, I’ve had the Southern Cross Club tell me that they couldn’t serve shots before, but I know people who work as bartenders at Vikings and at the Southern Cross Club and they’ve both said it was a club policy (probably to help prevent super drunk people starting fights and smashing the place up).

#9
p17:18 pm, 11 Jun 11

I always wondered about the way different establishments enforced different rules like this. Often I figured the issue was the way things were explained to the staff more then anything else.

When I was just eighteen, I usually let the seventeen year olds go down the shops to buy the booze for me. It amused me no end.

#10
Genie12:46 am, 13 Jun 11

I’m in my late 20′s and normally get asked for ID. I was in a well known grog shop with a mate who was buying a bottle of wine and I got asked for ID, they didn’t.. I explained I didn’t even have my wallet on me and was simply told to leave the store so my friend could buy their booze.

What amused me was the barely legal looking girls behind us buying passion pop and UDL’s didn’t even get carded.

I was feeling ‘super nice’ that day and mentioned it to the person behind the ciggie counter that the staff member carded me, but not the girls who def did not look over 18… next thing I saw the group of girls leaving empty handed and the cashier getting taken off the register.

#11
indigoid11:29 am, 13 Jun 11

Genie said :

I was feeling ‘super nice’ that day and mentioned it to the person behind the ciggie counter that the staff member carded me, but not the girls who def did not look over 18… next thing I saw the group of girls leaving empty handed and the cashier getting taken off the register.

http://www.instablogsimages.com/images/2011/05/24/success_baby_lJtQ4_18.jpg

Well done. Hopefully that idiot cashier got summarily dismissed, not just a warning.

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