The owners of a Brisbane bar have been left red-faced after their compliance with a Queensland liquor law saw them turn away a visiting royal.
Danish Crown Prince Frederik, who is married to Australian-born Crown Princess Mary, was reportedly denied entry to the Jade Buddha Bar on Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier after he did not produce photo identification.
The Queensland government requires IDs to be scanned by licenced venues operating after 10pm within a number of designated “safe night precincts”, which include the CBDs of a number of cities including Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Toowoomba.
The laws were extended from 1 July 2017, at which point all licenced venues in the designated “safe night precincts” that regularly trade past midnight are required to install ID scanners at every entrance to the premises.
“The Crown Prince turned up and he had dignitary protection unit officers with him, but they were plain-clothed,” co-owner Phillip Hogan told the ABC.
“The officers refused to allow security to check the Crown Prince’s ID, and they would not say who he was. They said they were police and it all seemed very irregular given the law is we have to scan people.”
After receiving confirmation that the Prince and his entourage were who they said they were, and that as a foreign dignitary he was exempt from the laws, Prince Frederik and his entourage were allowed to enter.
However, the situation highlights how SME owners are being caught in the middle between obeying strict laws and the negative impacts they have in practice.
“With all the best intentions of lawmakers, it’s a ridiculous law,” Mr Hogan was quoted as saying.
“The authorities have threatened us to the nth degree if we do break a law.”
The incident has parallels to the situation in Sydney, where licenced venues and other businesses that rely on the passing foot traffic from them report negative impacts associated with contentious restricted alcohol service and lockout laws.
Last year, real estate agent Malcolm Gunning said laws aimed at curbing alcohol-related violence were negatively impacting a broad range of businesses, not just the licenced venues the laws directly target.
“We recently conducted a rent review on a pharmacy, a thriving business until a few years go, which determined rent needed to be dropped by half,” Mr Gunning said at the time.
“The result is not necessarily a windfall for the tenant because it reflects the poor trading conditions.”