The term ''drunk'' should be redefined and ''vindictive'' police should be stripped of powers to fine pubs and clubs under law changes proposed by NSW's powerful hotel lobby.
The Australian Hotels Association says the current definition of ''intoxicated'' - used to decide who should be refused service or thrown out of a venue - is too subjective and could be interpreted as anything from exuberant behaviour to ''being stupefied''.
Gordian Fulde laments alcohol violence
Director of the Emergency Department at St Vincent's Hospital, Gordian Fulde is sick of treating patients with alcohol related injuries.PT2M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2t7mi 620 349 September 5, 2013
It should be replaced by the narrower term ''unduly intoxicated'', which would target the excessively drunk such as those who are ''swaying, asleep, aggressive [or] belligerent'', the association says.
It forms part of a submission to a state government review of liquor laws. The government is under pressure to address alcohol-related violence following a string of incidents such as the death of teenager Thomas Kelly who was king hit during a night out with friends in Kings Cross last year. The man who fatally punched Mr Kelly, Kieran Loveridge, will reappear in the Supreme Court on Friday.
The hotels association claims ''punitive, and in some cases vindictive'' police are misusing resources by inspecting premises when they should be cracking down on alcohol-related violence.
Feeling tipsy? The state's hoteliers want to change the definition of what it means to be drunk.
It said police were ''distracting and frustrating'' staff by conducting audits during busy periods, and that compliance should be the sole responsibility of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.
The association was backed by the Star Casino, whose operator Echo Entertainment said people who become so drunk they need an ambulance should be fined at least $2000.
The government is due to report to Parliament on the review by mid-December.
Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
A NSW Police spokesman declined to comment on the claims against police. However, Police Association of NSW president Scott Weber described them as ''ludicrous''.
''What police officers do is enforce the law, to the letter of the law. It is extremely important that police officers still have this power,'' he said.
The police association called for a 1am lockout and 3am closing time for every hotel in the state, unless earlier times have already been imposed.
It says the sale of shots, mixed drinks with more than 30 millilitres of alcohol and ready mixed drinks stronger than 5 per cent alcohol by volume, should be prohibited after 10pm.
The City of Sydney wants liquor licenses reviewed every three years, rather than issued in perpetuity.
It said ''saturation zone'' powers should be established so councils can declare areas with a high number of licensed premises off-limits to new venues.
The council also called for the small bar license system to be streamlined and the maximum patron limit doubled to 120 people.
Doctors confronted by horrific injuries call for tighter licensing laws
Revellers turning up at hospitals drunk and injured, "their noses spread over their faces" and surgeons prising open bloated eyelids to check if the eyeball is still intact, are just some of the gruesome injuries that routinely confront NSW doctors.
The medical fraternity has called for tighter liquor licensing laws and says the present regime fails to prevent devastating alcohol-related harm.
In a submission by the Australian Medical Association NSW, Nepean Hospitalsurgeon Peter Aquilina said he was "desensitised" to such injuries to the point he can "no longer register" how horrific they are.
He wrote of a patient "with his jaw in so many pieces, he can't close his mouth and continually drools blood and spit'' onto the hospital floor and also detailed "the young woman with no front teeth after they were destroyed by a punch".
President of the association's NSW branch, Westmead Hospital neurosurgeon Brian Owler, described the "sickeningly loud crack" when a person is punched and their skull hits the pavement. "The brain is squashed against the skull and rebounds… if the patient survives, brain damage is common," he said.
The association called for reduced trading hours for licensed premises and said all 24-hour licences should be phased out.