Parties

Registering your party

Letting the police know of your party beforehand could be helpful if something goes wrong. The police can:

  • Help remove gatecrashers.
  • Tell you of complaints (such as the neighbours complaining about noise) on the phone instead of coming to the party
  • Tell your neighbours that you have notified the police and the party’s duration
  • Drive by to make sure everything is okay

    You can notify the police by calling them on 131 444 or going in to your nearest police station.

    Remember to tell the Police if the party gets postponed, relocated or cancelled.

    Alcohol

    At a party in a private house, it is not an offence for someone under 18 to drink alcohol or to serve alcohol to a minor but a responsible adult should serve it to minimise the risk of over consumption.

    However, it is illegal to sell the alcohol to a minor or require payment as a condition of attending the party.

    If you are intending on serving alcohol to guests under 18, it would be wise to let their parent/guardians know that there will be alcohol at this party and to have a responsible adult serving the alcohol as your parents/guardians can be sued for a breach of duty if something goes wrong.

    It is illegal to supply alcohol to, or obtain alcohol from a pub or liquor store for, anyone under 18. This applies even if you’re under 18!

    It is also illegal for someone under 18 to consume alcohol:

  • at a licensed premises such as a pub, club;
  • at restaurant (unless you are with your parent/guardian and it is part of your meal); or
  • in any public place unless they are with a parent or guardian.

    Medical Emergencies

    If someone has passed out from taking drugs or having too much to drink, or if there is another medical emergency, you should call the ambulance on 000. 

    In the case of a drug overdose, and you don’t know whether the amount taken was damaging, you can ring Poisons Information on 131 126, anytime and anywhere in Australia for advice. Be aware that it takes a while for the symptoms of an overdose to appear, so even if the person appears to be all right, get help and advice.

    At the ambulance’s arrival, you should tell them:

  • how much the person has drunk; and
  • what substances have they taken.

    The ambulance officers do not have to call the police unless:

  • The ambulance officers are endangered;
  • Someone dies;
  • The area where you are located is classed as a “dangerous area”; or
  • You request that the police attend;

    Noise Regulation

    The most common complaint from neighbours is the level of noise at parties. In South Australia, there is a duty to take all reasonable and practical measures to prevent or minimise any environmental harm to your neighbours. Environmental harm can result from noise which causes any adverse effect on an amenity or unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of an area by persons living or recreating in the area. 

    There is no cut off time where music is concerned, if it is that loud, and causing you a problem you have the right to complain at any time of the day whether it be lunch time, early evening or late at night.

    If your party is judged to be creating such noise, then the police can order a noise abatement direction to stop the noise and if another complaint is received within 12 hours, police can seize the objects producing the noise for more than 24 hours and you may even be liable for a maximum fine of $4000.

    Injuries and Damage to Property

    Having a party is a lot of responsibility – you owe all your guests a duty of care, so make sure items that can injure your guests are set aside. If your guest is injured, they may be able to sue either you or your parents/guardian for negligence.

    It is also good to lock away items that are valuable, like LCD televisions or even mobile phones. Also, if one of your guests damages property (that is, outside your premises), then they will be liable under the law – regardless of how old they are.

    If however, it is found that they acted this way because of you or your parent’s breach of duty of care (eg. If you supplied alcohol to them) then you and your parents could be held responsible.

    For more information, see Law Topic: Being Sued

    Tips

    Planning is extremely important in having a successful party. Here are some common problems that arise at parties and remedies that can solve them:

    Gatecrashers and unwelcome guests

  • The police may be able to provide you with a poster that signifies that this is a police-registered party.
  • If it is possible, get some kind of security to prevent gatecrashers coming in.
  • Organise the venue so that there are only a small number of entrances and exits into the party.
  • Don’t send invitations via avenues where uninvited people can have easy access to, such as Facebook or SMS.
  • Don’t send open invitations and keep a guest list.
  • Be sure to specify the start and finish times on your invitation.
  • Have adult supervision at the venue that is proportionate to the guests you have invited.

    Alcohol

  • Decide early on whether the party will consume alcohol or not. Specify this clearly to your guests
  • Have plenty of food available, as food slows down alcohol absorption in the body. Stay clear of salty foods – which make people thirstier.
  • If you decide to have alcohol, make sure adequate non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks are available.
  • Don’t have BYO and have one area serving all the alcohol. Make sure the area is run by a responsible adult.
  • Plan how your guests will leave your party. P plates cannot drive whilst intoxicated (their BAC is 0). Try to organise public transport, parent pickups, sleepovers or for someone who has not taken alcohol to carpool.

    For more tips on party planning visit:

  • Reach Out! at http://www.reachout.com.au/default.asp?ti=2602
  • Drug and Alcohol Services South Australia (DASSA) at http://www.dasc.sa.gov.au
  • Blue Light SA at www.bluelightsa.com

    This page last updated September 2009

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