shari

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SHARI SHARI TAGLIABUE FOL­LOW SHARI ON TWIT­TER AT WWW.TWIT­TER.COM/SHARITAGS EMAIL SHARITAGS@ME.COM

We might not have Bali’s hawk­ers, beach clubs, open char­coal grills or surf. We do, how­ever, have end­less sum­mers and starry nights.

RLOCKOUTS, FACE SCAN­NERS AND CLUS­TERS OF PO­LICE WAIT­ING TO POUNCE MAKES ANY­ONE BRAV­ING THE FLIN­DERS STREET STRIP FEEL LIKE AN EX­TRA FROM THE PRISON DRAMA WENT­WORTH

EMEMBER the old Redgum song I’ve Been To Bali Too? Head­ing to the In­done­sian is­land has long been an Aussie rite of pas­sage.

For many tourists the nov­elty of get­ting around in togs, thongs and a sarong on a scooter, sip­ping over­sized un­der­priced cock­tails, stock­ing up on de­signer knock­offs and turn­ing a nut shade of brown in an ex­otic trop­i­cal cli­mate is what has drawn vis­i­tors to this idyl­lic is­land since surfers first vis­ited in the late 1960s.

My folks took my sis­ter and I there for a hol­i­day in 1978 when there were no cars, no sealed roads and not many Aussies, but it kicked off a love af­fair that has en­dured over the decades.

I haven’t been lately but planned to, al­though whether in re­sponse to calls for a Qan­tas boy­cott by our Mayor or not, from next March the axe is fall­ing on our el cheapo air­fares end­ing our easy and af­ford­able ac­cess to this is­land re­sort.

It’s easy to un­der­stand why tourists from south­ern states head to Bali, there’s the weather for one thing. For those of us lucky enough to al­ready live in a trop­i­cal par­adise, how­ever, what ex­actly is it that Bali of­fers that we can’t or don’t get at home?

In­done­sia is largely a Mus­lim na­tion, but cater­ing to our re­quire­ments as Bali’s largest tourist mar­ket is a mea­sure of In­done­sia’s reliance on our busi­ness, yet as a tourist des­ti­na­tion our al­co­hol laws must seem strangely pu­ri­tan­i­cal.

Large num­bers of Aussies ap­pear to be per­fectly ca­pa­ble of safely drink­ing and par­ty­ing in large num­bers when in Bali, so why are pun­ters treated as qua­si­crim­i­nals while at home?

With all that cash fly­ing out of the city, wouldn’t it make sense to cre­ate an at­mos­phere where peo­ple would be happy to spend it?

Lockouts, face scan­ners and clus­ters of po­lice wait­ing to pounce makes any­one brav­ing the Flin­ders Street strip feel like an ex­tra from the prison drama Went­worth.

This heavy- handed ap­proach has seen num­bers dwin­dling at the re­main­ing city clubs and lo­cals sav­ing their dol­lars for more easy­go­ing des­ti­na­tions.

But with venues lim­ited to Flin­ders and Palmer streets, could author­i­ties dare to take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach?

Take the main party streets of Charleston, New Or­leans and Las Vegas, you can get your al­co­holic bev­er­age served in a plas­tic “Gocup” and take it with you from venue to venue.

Could you imag­ine that hap­pen­ing here?

We still can’t drink al­co­hol at a bar­be­cue on The Strand while the itin­er­ants the laws were cre­ated for con­tinue to drink in public.

Why not po­lice be­ing in­tox­i­cated in a public place and let re­spon­si­ble drinkers and our city move into the 21st cen­tury?

Un­til we do, we’ll see more peo­ple drink­ing at home, hol­i­day­ing over­seas and our city heart ill- equipped to han­dle the pre and post- sta­dium crowds look­ing to add to their ex­pe­ri­ence.

We might not have Bali’s hawk­ers, beach clubs, open char­coal grills or surf.

We do, how­ever, have end­less sum­mers and starry nights.

What’s more, with the un­der­wa­ter mu­seum set to be an in­ter­na­tional draw­card, per­haps if we loos­ened up a lit­tle we could be­come more of a des­ti­na­tion and less of a de­par­ture point.

CHILL­ING OUT: Aussies are ca­pa­ble of play­ing nicely, so why must heavy- handed author­i­ties per­sist in mak­ing them feel like quasi- crim­i­nals?

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