High Court dismisses Palm Island alcohol appeal

RESTRICTIONS on how much alcohol Palm Island community members can drink will continue after the High Court found the controversial prohibitions were not inconsistent with racial discrimination laws.

Joan Monica Maloney was convicted of sly grogging after police found her with a bottle of Jim Beam and a three-quarter full bottle of rum on Palm Island in 2008.

Palm Island is subject to an alcohol management plan, which means residents cannot have more than a 30-can carton of mid strength beer.

Ms Maloney appealed her conviction in the Queensland Supreme Court but after her bid was dismissed, she took her fight to the High Court.

Ms Maloney argued the alcohol management plan discriminated against indigenous people and therefore breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

She submitted to the High Court the liquor restrictions affected her right to equal treatment before courts and tribunals, the right to own property and the right to access places and services intended for use by the general public.

The High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal.

In a written statement delivered on Wednesday, the High Court found the section of the Racial Discrimination Act which Ms Maloney relied on did not apply because there was as provision for a "special measure".

The measure is designed to protect the Palm Island residents from prevalent alcohol abuse and associated violence, the statement reads.


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