THE Australian Hoteliers Association (AHA) is calling for the term “drunk” to be redefined and to include categories of intoxication.
It is a concept that has some merit, according to Orange Liquor Accord chairman Bill Kelly.
The NSW Liquor Act 2007 (section 5) states a person is intoxicated if the person’s speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is noticeably affected, and it is reasonable in the circumstances to believe that the affected speech, balance, co-ordination or behaviour is the result of the consumption of liquor.
Mr Kelly said the definition is open to interpretation, which can be a problem for staff at licensed venues.
“Someone’s interpretation can be totally different to a person in authority,” he said.
“That is the biggest problem.”
In a submission to the state government ahead of its review of liquor laws, the AHA said the term intoxicated should be replaced by a narrower term “unduly intoxicated,” which would target people who were excessively drunk, such as those who were “swaying, asleep, aggressive [or] belligerent.”
Orange AHA delegate Tony McClure said newspaper articles had exaggerated the position of the AHA.
He did not think there was a big issue with the interpretation of the definition of intoxicated and the suggestion by the association was just one in an 18-page document.
However, he declined to outline any other suggestions by the association.
“It’s just about getting everyone on the same page,” he said.
The government is due to report to Parliament on the review by mid-December.