Spreading 'out of control' parties legislation is unnecessary and disproportionate

The New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties is concerned by the apparent spread of Western Australian legislation aimed at organisers of "out of control" gatherings. The Queensland Government is currently drafting similar legislation that includes imprisonment and significant fines for organisers, including parents of children whose parties become uncontrollable.

“Legislation of this kind is unnecessary and will criminalise people who are in reality the victims of criminal conduct of others,” said Stephen Blanks, Secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

“The police already have adequate powers to deal with criminal conduct that is associated with parties that get out of control. It is wrong to make the host and their parents criminally responsible for the conduct of others.”

“Further, the penalties under the Western Australian legislation are disproportionately severe. How can it be appropriate to expose a parent to the threat of 12 months’ imprisonment because they allowed their child to have a party that subsequently got out of control?”

“It is also of concern that the Western Australian legislation introduces the idea that a person convicted of a crime should have to pay the cost of the police response to the party in addition to any other penalty. There is a danger that the police will allow the potential for imposing this kind of penalty to affect the way in which they respond to reports about crime.”

In many cases, the party host and their parents are victims when a party gets out of control. Party hosts and their parents often ask police not to prosecute gatecrashers, even where serious property damage or other criminal offences have occurred, because of the risk of revenge attacks against them and the practical inability of the police to provide effective protection.

Media contact: Stephen Blanks 0414 448 654