Are we becoming a police state?

How’s this for something that you would expect to happen only in communist Russia? Early yesterday morning, I received a phone call from the State Government’s Liquor Licensing Division, which kind of took me by surprise since we have nothing to do with the sale or distribution of liquor. I figured they either had the wrong number, or were going to offer me some type of loyalty card in response to the quantity of goon we have bought from our local bottle’o over recent months.

 But no. They were ‘INVESTIGATING’ a very serious breach of the Liquor Licensing Act as potentially perpetrated by Cairns Unlimited!

hmmm… unless it’s suddenly become illegal to polish off half a dozen cold stubbies of delicious Tooheys Extra Dry while sitting on our front patio dressed only in a towel, I couldn’t see how Liquor Licensing would have any business with a couple of hard working, quiet living businesspeople such as ourselves.

Too much suspense for you? Me too!

 The officer kept asking me about the advertising on our website, “Do the advertisers submit the text word-for-word, or do they officially authorize the text in any way?”

To which I repeatedly asked “What is this in regard to?”

To which the officer repeated her question.

Eventually, she saw that she was not going to get an answer to her question unless she answered mine. It turns out that the Liquor Licensing Division had been alerted to a couple of points (NOT advertisements, I hasten to point out!) in the Cairns Weekly Entertainment Guide which we produce. If you go to the Entertainment Guide for Tuesday, you will see that Tuesday Night is locals night at the Green Ant Cantina, our favourite Mexican eatery, and a popular spot for live music on weekends. See if you roll your mouse over the blue text that says ‘Locals night’, a small tooltip appears, reading “If you are a local, you get two meals for the price of one”.

Are you still waiting for the punchline?

Well, that tooltip text has been amended since the call from Liquor Licensing. Previously, it read “If you are a local, you get two for the price of one”, and - according to the powers that be - that could possibly be misconstrued to mean ‘two drinks for the price of one’, and the advertising of cut price drinks is actually illegal.

Yes folks, it is a sad reflection on our society - firstly, that if a bar wants to offer half price margaritas on a typically quiet night such as a Tuesday, they can only advertise that drink special within their own premises (where presumably nobody will see it, because the sole reason for the special in the first place was because there was nobody in the bar on a Tuesday night anyway!)…. and secondly that Maria and myself, for going to the trouble of putting together an Entertainment Guide as a free service to our readers (NOTE: none of the businesses mentioned in the Entertainment Guide pay to be there!) could potentially find ourselves embroiled in some potentially nasty litigation because we neglected to specifically point out that the two for one special was for meals only, not for drinks.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I had no sooner returned to work than the phone range again, this time the manager of Yorkeys Knob Boat Club, just down the road from our home. Our ‘local’. You guessed it… he had been contacted by Liquor Licensing that very morning with regard to a similar situation on Monday’s Cairns Entertainment Guide. Monday is locals (and members) night at Yorkeys Knob Boat Club, and as you will see, we have been forced to make it bleedingly clear that any locals specials offered on that night pertain to meals only. Well, there could be drink specials… but we would assuredly be shipped off to a Siberian work camp if we dared to mention it.

CRIKEY!

2 Responses to “Are we becoming a police state?”

  1. Gail at Large Says:

    That’s outrageous! Do the police in Cairns have NOTHING better to do???

  2. Steve Says:

    Gail, apparently Cairns is entirely crime free - a virtual utopia - which is great because it frees the law enforcement agencies to tackle the very serious problem of people not paying full price for their drinks.

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