Qld vows $18k fines and jail time for Facebook party fools
ORGANISERS of out-of-control 'Facebook parties' could face fines of more than $18,000 and three years in jail under new laws to go before State Parliament this week.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey said the Newman Government's proposed legislation was designed to crack down on wild suburban parties - that often lead to senseless violence and property damage.
"All too often we've seen parties quickly spiral out-of-control after being advertised on social media sites like Facebook," Mr Dempsey said.
"Attendees have been injured, police officers have been hospitalised, property has been smashed and neighbouring families have lived in fear as party goers spill out onto the streets."
Mr Dempsey said the new laws took aim at those people who thought it was ok to hold parties with little supervision, security or regard for the safety of participants.
"I have had enough, police have had enough and the community has had enough of alcohol and drug-fuelled violence stemming from suburban parties," he said.
Under the new laws, a person who organises a party that becomes an out-of-control event, their parents or gate crashers face a maximum penalty of 12 months jail or $12,100.
If police face aggravated and violent circumstances when shutting down wild parties, the party organisers may face fines up to $18,150 and three years in prison.
Mr Dempsey said that people who were not at fault would still be protected.
"We understand that sometimes the organisers of out-of-control parties are completely innocent," he said.
"So, the bill provides a defence for a person who has taken reasonable steps to ensure the event does not become out-of-control, or where a third party has caused the offence."
QPS Commissioner Ian Stewart said out-of-control conduct included behaviour such as fighting, damaging property, throwing objects to harm people, disorderly conduct, making unreasonable noise and trespassing.
"The new legislation gives police the power to make directions or take steps reasonably necessary to effectively respond to 'out of control' events and includes the provision for a person convicted of a relevant offence to pay all or some of the costs incurred by police," Commissioner Stewart said.
"If your event starts to get out of control call Triple Zero (000) immediately and consider what steps you can safely take to end the event - you are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your guests."
The QPS will launch a social media campaign targeting young people to educate them on the new laws.
For tips on how to responsibly plan a party, visit the QPS website. www.police.qld.gov.au