Queensland Premier ramps up lockout law rhetoric, labels entertainment precincts 'war zones'
The emotion of the Queensland Government's push for earlier pub closing times is starting to tell, with MPs gearing up for a long debate on the contentious issue.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk compared entertainment areas to war zones as she continued her bid for crossbench support for the Tackling Alcohol-Fuelled Violence Legislation Amendment Bill.
"I've been to the hospitals, I've spoken to the paramedics who've been bashed, I've spoken to the police who are out there in the early hours of the morning basically in war zone situations," she told 612 ABC Brisbane.
"I've spoken to [minister and surgeon] Dr Anthony Lynham at length about the way he's had to put people's faces back together."
Independent MP Billy Gordon said he remained "unmoved" in his opposition to the new laws.
Katter's Australian Party said it was "60 per cent" likely to block the Government's lockout laws, but was still open to negotiation.
Ms Palaszczuk will have more talks today with the two KAP MPs, Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter.
Mr Knuth said the talks would include how to assist regional areas deal with the economic impact of earlier closing times.
"One of the things is we are concerned [about] the impact it will have on regions like Cairns and Townsville and the job factor, a transition period," Mr Knuth said.
Mr Knuth also suggested the Government should focus on other regional issues besides drunken violence.
He said the KAP would prefer the vote to be postponed for a week.
"But at the moment [the Government] is full steam ahead," he said.
"If we cannot see a way forward, it's in our interest to oppose the legislation.
"But if we can see common ground we're happy to talk further this afternoon and tomorrow.
"At the moment it's 60-40 oppose, but likewise I'm saying it could go down to the wire and it's going to go down to the wire."
Meanwhile, in the first Question Time of the year, Deputy Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek had a not-so-subtle dig at Dr Lynham for his passionate pursuit of a matter outside his portfolios.
"My question is to the Minister for Natural Resources. [The question is] in his portfolio — it's not [related to] alcohol-fuelled violence — [so] I'm not sure if he's interested," he said.
Mr Langbroek was chastised by Speaker Peter Wellington.
"Deputy Leader of the Opposition, [that is] not necessary, not appropriate, just ask the question," Mr Wellington said.
Debate on the liquor laws is scheduled to begin later today, with a vote not expected until tomorrow afternoon or evening.
Source: ABC News