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Victoria’s banning notice provisions: parliamentary, procedural and individual vulnerabilities
journal contributionposted on 2016-01-01, 00:00 authored by Clare FarmerClare Farmer
Purpose: Alcohol-related disorder in Australia’s night-time economy has precipitated an expanding regulatory and legislative framework. A key feature is the growth of police-imposed discretionary justice, one example of which are Victoria’s banning provisions. Banning notices are imposed on-the-spot, may be issued pre-emptively, but permit no right of independent appeal. However, there has been little analysis of the enactment, implementation or use of police-imposed banning provisions. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: This paper draws upon a detailed examination of the record of parliamentary debate of the banning notice legislation to document how the provisions, and their embedded procedural vulnerabilities, were legitimised. In addition, an analysis of Victoria Police data informs consideration of the ongoing scrutiny of the police power to ban. Findings: The absolute discretion afforded to police officers, and a lack of effective oversight, has created the potential for the disproportionate and discriminatory implementation of Victoria’s banning notice powers. The findings highlight procedural vulnerabilities within the provisions, and concern regarding the particular risk of banning notices for vulnerable recipients. Research limitations/implications: The nature of Victoria’s banning provisions created the circumstances for their inequitable imposition, but public scrutiny of their use and effect is limited. Omissions and deficiencies in the published data restricts meaningful analysis of how banning works in practice. Originality/value: The research underpinning this paper was the first detailed examination of the implementation and ongoing scrutiny of Victoria’s banning notice provisions. The findings presented in this paper highlight key procedural vulnerabilities resulting from the passage of the legislation and the absence of effective oversight.