The Liquor Commission

Information on the role of the Commission and its commissioners.

Foundation of the Liquor Commission

In May 2007, the State Government introduced reforms to the State's liquor licensing legislation. One of the major changes to the Liquor Control Act 1988 was the replacement of the Liquor Licensing Court with a Liquor Commission to primarily provide a flexible system with as little formality and technicality as practicable.

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Role of the Liquor Commission

The Liquor Commission Western Australia:

  • determines liquor licensing matters referred to it by the Director of Liquor Licensing
  • conducts reviews of certain decisions made by the Director, or by a single Member of the Commission
  • conducts reviews into decisions based on a question of law
  • determines complaints and disciplinary matters in accordance with section 95 of the Liquor Control Act 1988
  • conducts reviews into decisions by the Commissioner of Police to issue barring notices
  • conducts reviews into decisions by the WA Police to issue short term exclusion orders
  • makes binding, high-level decisions in accordance with Liquor Control Act 1988
  • award costs associated with matters before the Commission 
  • reports annually to the Minister for Racing and Gaming on the activities of the Commission
  • reports to the Minister for Racing and Gaming, when requested to do so, on the jurisdiction and functions of the Commission, including the provision of high-level policy advice relevant to liquor control matters

Jurisdiction of the Liquor Commission

In accordance with section 9 of the Liquor Control Act 1988:

  • The Liquor Commission has the jurisdiction conferred on it by the Liquor Control Act 1988 and any other written law.
  • The Liquor Commission constituted in accordance with the Liquor Control Act 1988 may sit and exercise the jurisdiction of the Commission even though the Commission differently constituted in accordance with this Act is at the same time sitting and exercising the jurisdiction of the Commission.

Constitution of the Liquor Commission

In accordance with section 9A of the Liquor Control Act 1988:

  • Except as otherwise stated in the Liquor Control Act 1988, or determined by the chairperson under subsection 9A (2), the Commission is to be constituted by one member.
  • The chairperson may determine that, in respect of any particular matter or any matter of a particular kind, the Commission is to be constituted by 3 members.
  • If the Commission is constituted by 3 members and they are divided on a question, the question is decided according to the opinion of the majority of them.

The Commission is constituted by 3 members whilst determining the following matters:

Section 24

  • Matters that can be referred by the Director to the Commission constituted by 3 members if:
    1. the matter or part of a matter relates to an application for the grant or removal of a licence;
    2. the matter or part of a matter relates to the making, variation or revocation of a prohibition order under Part 5A or an extended exclusion order under Part 5AA of the Act; or
    3. the chairperson so determines subsection 9A (2).

Section 25

  • Application for review of the Director's decision when:
    1. the decision relates to an application for the grant or removal of a licence;
    2. the decision relates to the making, variation or revocation of a prohibition order under Part 5A or an extended exclusion order under Part 5AA; or
    3. the chairperson so determines.

Section 28 (4a)

  • Appeal the decision of 1 Commission member to the Commission with a panel of 3 members:
    1. No appeal lies against a decision of the Commission constituted by one member if the decision was made on a review under Section 25 of a decision of the Director.
    2. No appeal lies against a decision of the Commission constituted by 3 members if the decision was made solely or partly on the basis of confidential police information.
    3. No further appeal can be made once a decision by the panel of 3 is made unless it is on a question of law to the Supreme Court by a single judge in accordance with the rules of the Supreme Court.

Section 95

  • Complaint lodged for disciplinary action.
  • One member is to be a legal practitioner.

Liquor Commission members

The Liquor Commission consists of a chairperson and at least three, full, part-time or sessional members. At least one member of the commission is required to be a legal practitioner as defined in the Legal Practice Act 2003 or have been admitted to legal practice in another state or a Territory.

Each member of the commission is appointed by the Minister for Racing and Gaming on a full-time, part-time or sessional basis for a maximum period of five years.

The member or members who constitute the panel in relation to an application/appeal shall be selected by the chairperson, who will give consideration to their knowledge or experience.

Liquor Commission members:

Ms Emma Power, Mr Paul Shanahan, Ms Pamela Hass, Ms Elanor Rowe, Ms Kirsty Stynes, Mr Nicholas Van Hattem, Ms Alya Barnes, Mr Tony Di Francesco and Ms Shelley Davies are legal practitioners as defined in the Legal Profession Act 2008.

Emma Power, Acting Chairperson

Ms Power graduated with a Law degree from Murdoch University in 2004 and has been working predominately in property, development, corporate and commercial law since that time. Prior to studying law, she was a secondary school teacher teaching visual arts. In 2017, Ms Power became the principal of the private law practice Power Commercial Law. She is also the legal member of the Local Government Standards Panel.

Mr Paul Shanahan

Mr Shanahan graduated from the University of Western Australia (UWA) with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1988 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of WA the following year. Mr Shanahan has over thirty years of experience in legal practice, primarily in litigation and dispute resolution. His practice has focused on commercial disputes, regulatory matters, administrative law matters, insurance and risk management matters, and building and construction disputes. Mr Shanahan has practiced as in-house Counsel, in private practice and in the public sector. His skillset includes advocacy in a wide range of Courts and Tribunals. Mr Shanahan is currently General Counsel and Director of Governance at UWA and a member of the Board of the Youth Legal Service.

Ms Pamela Hass

Ms Hass holds a Bachelor's degree in Law (with Honours), an Arts degree, and a Master's degree in Law. Until December 2014, Ms Hass was an elected member of the Council of the Law Society of WA where she is now Chair of the In-House and Government Lawyers Committee of Council. Until June 2011, Ms Hass was University Secretary, Director of Governance and Special Legal Counsel at the University of Western Australia. Prior to this, she was General Counsel and University Secretary at Macquarie University in Sydney. Before taking up the Macquarie position, she was General Counsel to Curtin University of Technology in Perth, where she established that University's first in-house legal service. Advice was provided at both Curtin and Macquarie Universities in administrative law, governance, intellectual property, dispute resolution, contract/commercial law, property law, and major litigation management. 

From 2011 to the end of June 2022, Ms Hass was General Counsel, Legal Services with the WA Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (formerly the Department of State Development) where she headed up a small in-house legal team working on major resources projects and other State initiatives. She was the first national president of the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association from Western Australia and a past Board member of the RSPCA and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA).

Ms Elanor Rowe

Ms Rowe graduated from the Inns of Court School of Law, London in 2003 after completing her LLB Honours degree at Reading University and a Diploma in European Legal Studies at the University of Maastricht, Netherlands. She has practised as a solicitor in both England and Australia and was admitted as a Lawyer in the Supreme Court of WA in 2010. She currently works in property management and is a member of the Local Government Standards Panel WA.

Mr Nicholas van Hattem

Mr Van Hattem is a barrister with experience in commercial, government and criminal law matters. Prior to joining Francis Burt Chambers, he worked as a solicitor at Freehills, Aboriginal Legal Service, Rio Tinto and the State Solicitor’s Office.

Ms Alya Barnes

Ms Barnes is the Director and Principal of Barnes & Gatti Legal, an incorporated legal practice with a focus on contract and commercial law, business sales and pharmacy law issues including acquisitions and disposals. Ms Barnes has a strong background in property and commercial law, has international and domestic legal experience, and holds a Law degree and Arts degree.

Dr Kim Hames

Dr Hames is a former member of Parliament who was Deputy Premier for seven years and, during 20 years in Parliament, Minister for Health, Tourism, Aboriginal Affairs, Water, Housing and Workplace Development at various times and Governments. He has also worked for 26 years as a general practitioner, including the last four. He is also on the board of Ronald McDonald House.

Ms Colleen Hayward

Ms Hayward is a senior Noongar woman with extensive family links throughout the south-west of WA.

For more than 35 years, Ms Hayward has provided significant input to policies and programs on a wide range of issues, reflecting the needs of minority groups at community, state and national levels. She has an extensive background in a range of areas including health, education, training, employment, housing, child protection and law and justice, as well as significant experience in policy and management.

Among her many achievements, Ms Hayward has been recognised for her long-standing work for and on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia by winning the 2008 National NAIDOC Aboriginal Person of the Year Award. Ms Hayward is also a recipient (2006) of the Premier of WA’s prestigious Multicultural Ambassador’s Award for advancing human rights and anti-racism in the community and is the 2009 inductee into the WA Department of Education’s Hall of Fame for Achievement in Aboriginal Education.

In 2012, Ms Hayward was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame and was recognised as a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia. 2015 saw Ms Hayward awarded one of Murdoch University’s Distinguished Alumni for her work in the areas of Equity and Social Justice.

Mr Tony Di Francesco

Mr Di Francesco is the Managing Director of Gramercy Legal and practices in the areas of corporate law, commercial law, property law and commercial litigation. He has been a director of several companies and organisations in the real estate, sport and media industries.

Ms Shelley Davies

Ms Davies was admitted to practice as a lawyer in 2014 and has gained experience in both large commercial and boutique firms since then. She is presently a senior lawyer at Vitalis Legal, a boutique commercial firm in West Perth.

Ms Davies has practised in both commercial and litigation areas, including appearances before the Supreme Court of Western Australia, the State Administrative Tribunal and the Liquor Commission.

Page reviewed 08 March 2023