Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Kings Cross venues to save patrons' IDs -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Pubs and clubs in Sydney's Kings Cross are extending efforts to deal with any trouble makers.

From tonight, some of the area's most popular venues will scan the IDs of patrons.

Louise Crealy reports.

LOUISE CREALY: First it was a 1.30am lock out, then 3.00am last drinks and now club and pub patrons in Kings Cross will have their personal details saved as a condition of entry.

PETER WHELAN: Well it's nanny state gone mad, really.

LOUISE CREALY: Peter Whelan is president of the New South Wales branch of the Liberal Democrats. He's extremely concerned about the implications of the initiative.

PETER WHELAN: It's another bureaucratic intrusion by people that really have no right to tell us where we should and shouldn't be or even to retain that information for one hour let alone 30 days.

LOUISE CREALY: Stephen Blanks, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, is also alarmed.

STEPHEN BLANKS: The collection of personal data doesn't impact on the amount of violence and raises great risks for individuals that their data will be inappropriately accessed and used and creates a risk of ID fraud or theft.

LOUISE CREALY: He says the problems associated with holding onto personal information in a general database outweighs any of the benefits.

STEPHEN BLANKS: There shouldn't be databases created where they're not really necessary and don't serve a real purpose. People should be able to attend a venue anonymously.

LOUISE CREALY: In Victoria's Geelong, a brutal rape in the city's CBD in 2006 was the catalyst for a change in night time practices there, including ID scanning.

Darren Holroyd is a club owner and part of Geelong's safety committee that came up with the plan to improve the streets of Geelong after dark. He says the roll out there has been a success.

DARREN HOLROYD: We've had numerous occasions where people have gone astray after leaving venues. Once we have a look at them, we can then go back to our ID scanners see, ah that was that person, and then we can go back to our scanner and find out the person's details.

LOUISE CREALY: But an Australian Institute of Criminology report last year, based on Geelong nightclubs, found alcohol-related violence had actually increased on the streets since the scanners were introduced.

Dr Darren Palmer is an associate professor in criminology at Deakin University and an author of the report.

DARREN PALMER: While many claims about the significant impact of ID scanners were made, the evidence that we looked at indicated that was not the case.

We also found that there were concerns around privacy, around the way in which the systems were set up, the way in which they were being used and the potential - and I only say potential - but potential for breaches of privacy in relation to what became rather significantly sized databases.

LOUISE CREALY: But Dr Palmer says New South Wales seems to have gone further than other places in attempting to protect the individual.

DARREN PALMER: What's different about this in Sydney is the way in which it's tied to a particular set of interventions for a particular geographical area and ID scanners are part of that. They've then also been able to bundle up some other provisions which are designed to at least go further in terms of protection against breaches of privacy.

LOUISE CREALY: Kings Cross revellers should be prepared to hand over their wallets with their personal details from nine o'clock tonight.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Louise Crealy.