Bar owner fears fine over prince saga
QUEENSLAND'S liquor laws have become an international farce after Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, the husband of Princess Mary, was initially turned away from a Brisbane bar. Now the owner of the pub fears he'll be fined over the saga.
Jade Buddha co-owner Phil Hogan said his staff initially denied the prince entry on Friday night under the state's tough liquor laws, which require venues to scan the IDs of all patrons entering after 10pm.
Later, he was persuaded to allow the prince inside after officers from Queensland Police's Dignitary Protection Unit assured him they had obtained approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation to make an exemption. But an OLGR spokeswoman appeared to contradict that on Tuesday, saying the regulatory body was "unaware of this incident until the evening of Monday, 21 August".
That came as a surprise to Mr Hogan.
"That's news to us. We did everything we possibly could," he said.
A Queensland Police Service spokesman said it did "not discuss operational security arrangements for dignitaries visiting the state".
Mr Hogan said he feared once the publicity about the prince's visit had passed he would be fined for allowing him to enter.
But he also warned he had "plenty of evidence" to back up his version of events. "They should be reminded that I didn't come down in the last shower," he said.
"It's not our first rodeo."
The incident has put the state's liquor laws, which came into effect last month, back in the national spotlight.
In Queensland Parliament on Tuesday morning, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the case of the Danish Crown Prince being refused entry showed venues "applied the law equally".
"The Prince obviously did not take great offence as he returned a short time later and was granted entry," she said.
"The fact is this has not caused a diplomatic incident as some would have you believe."
Health Minister Cameron Dick stood by the ID scanning laws, saying there were "doing what we want them to do" and preventing alcohol-fuelled violence.
"I think Queenslanders like the idea that everyone, regardless of whether they are a prince or an average man or woman on the street, I think that Queenslanders like that everyone is treated the same under the laws of our state," he said.
"We think they are a good, safe balance for Queenslanders."
But Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Government would "clearly explain" the laws to nations participating in the Commonwealth Games, flagging the possibility of an international marketing campaign.
"I think the Government will be looking at that," he said.
"There is a whole range of information campaigns we will be rolling out in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. Some of them will be in relation to healthcare as well, so there is a whole range of issues we will be communicating to our Commonwealth friends from around the world.
"We want them to have a great time in Queensland. They are welcome in our state, but like any travellers coming internationally they need to know the law of the land when they get there, so we will do work in that space as the Commonwealth Games approaches."