For all the absurdities of Queensland's anti-bikies legislation, its bill cracking down on parties is probably worse, writes Chris Berg.
Every government has a reform program of some description. The reform program of Campbell Newman's Queensland government is to expand, to a ludicrous and dangerous extent, the powers of the police.
Admittedly, the title of the Police Powers and Responsibilities and Other Legislation Amendment Bill doesn't have the same sort of grunting aggression as the Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill, which was passed earlier this year to target bikies.
But for all the absurdities of the anti-bikies legislation, the bill currently being considered by the Queensland parliament is probably worse.
The bogey-man in this bill is "out-of-control" parties. No doubt you can conjure up such a threat to public order in your mind. Hundreds of drunk teenagers spilling out on the street and damaging nearby property.
But according to the draft bill, a party is a gathering of twelve or more people. And it is considered out-of-control if three people at that party do something like be drunk in a public place, cause excessive noise, unreasonably block the path of a pedestrian, litter in a way that might cause harm to the environment, or use "indecent" language.
The punishment for holding a party that gets out-of-control? A $12,000 fine or a year's jail. In other words, a party host is punished for the actions of party guests. For good measure, the bill allows police to enter property uninvited without a warrant.
Out of control parties are a classic moral panic. They involve teenagers. They involve alcohol. They involve new technologies - house parties are now being organised on social media. This apparently makes them worse than they used to be.
Queensland party crackdown out of control - The Drum (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)