Jam the brakes on the knee-jerk reaction. Call an early bedtime for the Nanny State’s nannies. And for pity’s sake tell Big Brother to take a step back and realise that the little brothers and sisters have grown up and deserve a scintilla of freedom.

Two late night pubgoers undergo a rigorous personality test as advocated by the author. Pic: Getty

There is a solution to the societal problem of “alcohol-fuelled violence”. Actually, there are almost certainly a great many solutions, but one of them is NOT to curtail the rights of publicans, late-night revellers and society in general by stomping on everyone’s heads with bans, restrictions and the continued erosion of adults’ rights to enjoy the freedom to make some decisions of how to conduct their own lives.

But don’t despair, oh government masters of ours. Giving people a little room to enjoy the freedom of being a grown-up doesn’t have to be a complete killjoy for you. You can embrace that concept while still taking steps to solve the pub violence issue and - as a added bonus - do so by doing one of the things that governments love to do most… categorise people!

My plan - straightforward and uncomplicated in its attempt not to punish the vast majority who have done no wrong - is this: All those wishing to enjoy our wonderful pubs and clubs after a certain hour, call it 10pm, must submit to a personality/psychological evaluation. Like what the Scientologists do only without the alien mumbo-jumbo.

People would be classified into one of the three categories that my years of experience have established - either Happy, Sleepy or Angry drunks.

Happy and Sleepy drunks will not have to worry about their nights out being cut short. Angry drunks will face an arbitrary curfew - home or demonstrably sober by, say, midnight.

People will have to pay for the analysis and classification but, in the great scheme of things, it will cost no more than one enjoyable night out on the turps.

Those classified as angry drunks would be able to resubmit to classification but would, of course, have to ante up for each attempt. Think of the great new revenue stream for our cash-strapped Treasury!

It might even be a great scientific advantage for us. Think of all that the psychologists and other mental health professionals may learn from conducting the interviews. That knowledge might even help the government to salvage some form of actual service from the repeatedly savaged mental health budget.

The benefits of this plan even extend to socialising once you are out on the town. Imagine the new lines of conversation it would open up as you notice what category your fellow revellers fit into. (You’ll know because everyone will need to wear some identifying marker to make this work, I’m thinking little badges with Happy, Sleepy or Grumpy from the seven dwarfs on them).

“Oh, you’re a sleepy drunk. My best mate’s a sleepy drunk. He’s the life of the party for about an hour and a half then, Boom! He’s out for the count! Nice drunk though, never bothers anyone.’‘

It may even provide added incentive for Angry drunks to mend their ways as they notice - once the different drinker categories are properly identified - that the Happy and Sleepy drunks tend to congregate together and leave the Angries on the outer.

But most importantly, it would allow the vast majority who do no wrong to continue to live inoffensive lives as they choose without having to be punished for the actions of a tiny minority.

I am a sleepy drunk. Not only would I not be inclined to hit you no matter how many drinks I’ve had, I would most likely not be capable as I’m probably sitting quietly in the corner somewhere looking like I’m watching the party cranking on but actually I’m one deep breath short of outright snoring.

My beautiful wife, on the other hand, is a happy drunk. She may dance you into the ground but she’d never even dream of going the biff. So it is with so many others who would otherwise have their evenings cut short by a blanket ban on late-night nightclub revelry.

As a sleepy drunk I can’t imagine how people manage to kick on until 3, 4 or 5am but as someone passionately opposed to the expansion of the Nanny State and Big Brother’s savage intrusions into every aspect of our lives, I will defend to the utmost the right of peaceful people who’ve done no wrong to retain the right to do so.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST

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    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      06:01am | 09/10/12

      This is a very silly article full of disingenuous BS and exaggeration.
      For example, maybe in SA someone has ever suggested that the pubs and clubs should close at 10 pm but no one, not even the loudest proponents for change, have ever called for such a ridiculously early closing in NSW.
      Your comment that you cannot imagine how some people “kick on until 3, 4 or 5 a.m.” demonstrates how little you know about the real issues. Most of those are probably taking illegal drugs to stay awake along with too much alcohol.
      I wonder if you don’t have some interest yourself in a pub or club or are you paid by the AHA to write such rubbish, trying to trivialise a very real problem.

      Like so many of your disposition you adopt a unifocal attitude talking about the violence only. That is simply the tip of the iceberg.

      Perhaps where you live, “the little brothers and sisters have grown up and deserve a scintilla of freedom” is not evident in Sydney and NSW. Quite the opposite in fact. That is precisely how we arrived at this point.

      And spare any redundant key tapping to call me a wowser which I am most definitely not. Neither me nor anyone I know who take the probelms with alcohol seriously want to return to the days of prohibition. That is simply a tactic to trivialise the problems and shut down meaningful discourse.

    • RobK says:

      07:47am | 09/10/12

      I’m a little confused as to what the rest of the iceberg and the real issues you mention are supposed to be. This article is a light-hearted suggestion as to how to deal with violence in pubs and clubs, the issue which is commonly raised to justify increasing restrictions. Maybe if you have a problem with another aspect of pubs and clubs you should address that individually on it’s own merits rather than trying to lump it together with violence to advance your own agenda.

    • Tel says:

      08:39am | 09/10/12

      ‘....... close at 10 pm but no one, not even the loudest proponents for change, have ever called for such a ridiculously early closing in NSW. ‘

      Time was (and not that long ago) that ALL pubs in NSW closed at 10pm, with the police there to enforce it as likely as not. Not so very long before that they closed at 6pm! I can remember the referendum held in the late 60’s or early 70’s that called for the 6pm closed to be reinstated. So, in a word - BULLSHIT!

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      09:28am | 09/10/12

      @Tel I apologise for the ambiguity in my comment. What I was saying is that I know of no one nor have I read of anyone NOW in the current discussions about earlier closings and lockouts calling for such times. 
      I am aware that such has occurred in the past/history.

      So not really ‘bullshit’. Simply how you read what I should have clarified.

    • Gordon says:

      10:53am | 09/10/12

      Poe’s Law = proved

    • Greg says:

      11:45am | 09/10/12

      I have spent my fair share of time during my younger years in electronic music playing establishments, places where it’s pretty safe to say 80-90% of people are doing things other than drinking.

      Never in many years did I see a single fight, no one got glassed, no one was stabbed.

      It’s easy to blame drugs and alcohol but if you look at the real issue the people who go and bash others don’t suddenly become violent because they have a few drinks, other substances might amplify their behaviour but at the core they are rubbish people to begin with if we could identify such types before they got to indulging things would be a whole heap simpler for the rest of us

    • T says:

      12:36pm | 09/10/12

      “For example, maybe in SA someone has ever suggested that the pubs and clubs should close at 10 pm but no one, not even the loudest proponents for change, have ever called for such a ridiculously early closing in NSW”

      Northies in Cronulla shuts at 10pm on a sunday night and the club up the street shuts well after 2:30am….

      And North Gong in Wollongong shuts at 10pm while others just around the corner shut well after 3am.


    • Tubesteak says:

      07:02am | 09/10/12

      I was going to say that this suggestion in more nanny state bollocks but since we licence people to drive and expect them to prove they are worthy then why not the same for drinking. It will get all those Ed Hardy Tap Out king of the cage wannabes off the streets or at least keep them sober. Unfortunately, it’s the fault of their poor upbringing. Maybe we should be restricting breeding to only those that can prove they’re capable of raising intelligent well-rounded people like me wink

    • Mack says:

      07:26am | 09/10/12

      You, David, might be a sleepy drunk, and your wife, a happy drunk, but the problem is with the violent drunk - and there is no shortage of these idiots who think that causing a fight and biffing someone is how you have a good night out. Why don’t you spend a bit of time in the casualty ward of any hospital on Friday or Saturday night - I’m sure you won’t see too many happy drunks.

      Btw - great post, Tell It Like It Is.

    • fml says:

      07:31am | 09/10/12

      I have an idea, how about letting everyone do as they please and then charging people who act violently? How about charging people with the crimes they commit?

    • Cry in my Gin says:

      08:06am | 09/10/12

      Yep. That will really help the victims who lose an eye in a glassing.
      Nothing works like lockjng the gate after the horse stomps your face into the concrete in a drunken amphetamine induced fit of stupidity.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      08:33am | 09/10/12

      Cry in my Gin, so everyone is penalised for the acts of a few? I believe fml’s point of view was making the penalties for these actions actually match the degree of the crime to those who commit them which I wholeheartedly agree with.


    • fml says:

      08:43am | 09/10/12

      “Yep. That will really help the victims who lose an eye in a glassing.”

      It would actually, It will help prevent it from happening to others (by the same person). No preventative measures are going to stop completely stop violence, there is hardly any evidence that it does anything other than frustrate people who want to enjoy a night out.

      What is the point of having preventative measures when the perpetrators are let off with a slap on the wrist then they exhibit the same behavioral patterns?

      Since you disagree with me and with actually charging people with crimes, maybe you would like to put forward a measure that would work? I guess your idea of what to do is not charge people with crimes and implement some feel good measures which does nothing at all, and how would that exactly help the victims of a glassing?

    • Greg says:

      09:21am | 09/10/12

      FML is right if we properly policed and punished these people it might make the others think twice about it because they know they will be caught and they will be subjected to a public beheading or something similar.

      Even if you bought in the happy, sleepy and angry groups there is nothing stopping an angry from getting loaded by 7:30 and bashing people.

    • AFR says:

      09:53am | 09/10/12

      Are you seriously suggesting someone drunk and/or high is going to consider their punishment before they glass/bash someone?

    • Greg says:

      11:19am | 09/10/12

      It’s impossible to stop all crime but if the types of people who bash/kill/glass other people knew public stoning or being buried up to their necks in a fire ant nest was the punishment waiting they might stay home.

      Even if harsher punishments only saved one life then I class that as a win.

    • phillb says:

      11:45am | 09/10/12

      Policing and charging doesn’t work.  If someone is drunk and ready to start a fight chances are they are beyond thing about the repurcussions.  And it seems a lto are repeat offenders even if previously charged.

    • fml says:

      12:14pm | 09/10/12


      “Policing and charging doesn’t work.” No, It doesn’t completely work, but it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others who are having a good time and it does act as a deterrent to some people. Half measures prevent nothing and act as a deterrent for others who want to go out and have a fun time.

      Alcohol and drugs amplifies the sober mental state. If we can make people understand that their consequences of their actions before they get drunk and plant that seed in their head, then they will think about it later and maybe even walk away. All these current measures are doing are congregating angry people earlier in the night, then they are dispersed to other areas where there are no curfews.

    • jimbo says:

      07:43am | 09/10/12

      I remember 6pm closing.  I remember 10pm closing. I remember midnight closing (with a meal) and I remember when Australians knew when they had consumed enough grog, treated each other with dignity and went home.  If you didn’t live through all those periods then you can’t compare and can’t comment.

    • subotic isn't sober says:

      08:02am | 09/10/12

      Alcohol doesn’t make you violent - being an arrogant piece of shit with no self control and some bullshit sense of entitlement makes you violent.

      NO alcohol required….

    • Michael says:

      08:49am | 09/10/12

      I would say your criteria makes them a big C word…yes CLOWN!  the violence i think, is down to the inability to reconcile the differences of opinion people have, at an emotional level.

      Grrrr me confused, why you no agre? you think HULK wrong? HULK mad! HULK smash! grrrr.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      08:35am | 09/10/12

      Alot of fights on a night out start over an attractive lass, therefore in an attempt to reduce the fights I propose that we ban women.


    • I hate pies says:

      09:25am | 09/10/12

      Many fights also start when people accidentally knock each others drinks over and look at each other. Therefore I propose mandatory sippy cups in pubs, and mandatory blindfolds for all.

    • Chris says:

      01:03pm | 09/10/12

      And I have seen many co-workers punch on, so I propose we ban drinking with colleagues

    • ben says:

      04:43pm | 09/10/12

      nah, ban work. problem solved

    • Colin says:

      09:48am | 09/10/12

      Better still; show all the lacking in willpower, drug-dependent idiots who lean on alcohol what a bunch of losers they are, then ban the poison outright..!

      if you “HAVE” to drink, you are - simply - pathetic.

    • modern primitive says:

      02:17pm | 09/10/12

      Those who feel they have to preach are worse.

      Is it impossible for you to just live and let live, or is there some personality defect which requires you to look down your nose at others to feel better about yourself?

      Waiting for you to call me a bogan in 3,2,1…

    • dingoh says:

      10:30am | 09/10/12

      Last month I spent a few nights in Las Vegas with a mate in the Pub business.  To say booze flows freely in that town would perhaps be the greatest understatement of all time.  Happy hour and drink promotions were everywhere.  If you gambled - drinks were provided!  Places were huge and full.  And yet we saw no aggro or issues during our whole visit.  We had a couple of theories why… 1) Drinking age 21.  2) Different attitude to Austrailans and 3) Probably relates to 2) also but there is the knowledge that if you do play up, you WILL go to gaol - and probably stay there for a while.

    • Diogenes says:

      01:30pm | 09/10/12

      And you can buy booze in just about any supermarket.

      My experience in SFO was that there weren’t precincts of drinkers (ie pubs/bars spread out) . Also these were smaller

      It was an interesting experience watching the Obama, Romney Debate in a pub ... Lots of opinions, lots of name calling - (both sides even though SFO is called the Peoples Republic of SFO) but NO punching

    • Colin says:

      11:01am | 09/10/12

      @dingoh 10:30am | 09/10/12

      Or - an added Point 3 - most of the drinking folk in Las Vegas aren’t the descendants of the detritus of 18th Century England transported to the enormous penal colony of Orshtraya, either…

      Bogans are bogans and are just even more demonstrative of their proclivities when they bolster them with alcohol.

    • Greg says:

      11:40am | 09/10/12

      You go out on the town now and look at the people causing violence there is a large number of people who shall we say aren’t the descendants of the detritus of 18th Century England transported to the enormous penal colony of Orshtraya but more recent arrivals to Australia.

      These are also the types of people more likely to pull a knife in a fight and kick blokes in the head while they are on the ground.

      Violence comes from all types not just bogans or roided out idiots or people on drugs

    • Colin says:

      11:46am | 09/10/12

      @Greg 11:40am | 09/10/12

      Then - simply as I have stated before - don’t drink.

      Don’t go to pubs where these low-lives congregate; don’t get involved with poisoning your mind and body with alcohol…If you sleep with dogs, you get fleas.

    • Greg says:

      12:04pm | 09/10/12

      So because others are incapable of making the correct choices in life, those of us who are responsible adults should be shut ins?

      We have seen plenty of cases in recent years of people minding their own business on the street having not had a single drink and one lowlife ends their life.

      The solution isn’t as simple as just saying well don’t drink.

    • Colin says:

      12:26pm | 09/10/12

      @Greg 12:04pm | 09/10/12

      “The solution isn’t as simple as just saying well don’t drink”

      Er, yes, it is.

      Smoking causes cancer. Don’t smoke.

      Taking LSD causes brain damage. Don’t take LSD.

      Driving at very high speeds into brick walls causes death. Don’t drive at very high speed into brick walls.

      Alcohol is a poison that damages your brain and the rest of your body. Don’t drink.

      NO ONE should drink. And - NO - you are NOT a “Responsible adult” if you drink. Alcohol is a poison and you are being IRRESPONSIBLE by drinking..!

    • Chris says:

      01:16pm | 09/10/12

      Drinking does not cause violence.
      People cause violence.

      I have been partying my arse off for nearly 10 years now, almost every weekend. I’ll admit that some weekends I’ve had a lot to drink.

      I am still in very good physical fitness (I go to the gym twice a day ~4-6 days a week) and my health is fantastic.

      I have never nor will I ever be involved in a fight. I’ll admit some idiots have done some extremely bad things that made me want to - but even whilst heavily intoxicated - I did not.

      I can always either talk my way out of it, or if the individual has his/her heart set on violence I simply walk away. They follow me - I simply walk up to the bouncers, explain the situation and move on to the next place.

      Harsher penalties are understandable, and will work to reduce crime rates.

      But Never ever is there an excuse to reduce individual freedoms because of the mistakes of a minority.

    • Colin says:

      01:53pm | 09/10/12

      @Chris 01:16pm | 09/10/12

      I didn’t say “Drinking causes violence”; I said alcohol is a poison and should not be consumed. At all. By anyone.

      So, you drink heavily and think you are healthy, hey? Go ask a GP what he thinks of your general state of health when you tell him you binge drink. Oh, and frighten him with how often you go to the gym too; combining alcohol and the over-use of the gym is a recipe for all sorts of organ failure…Go on, ask him.

      If you really wanted to be as fit and healthy as you think you are, then part of your regime would involve NOT drinking alcohol.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      03:02pm | 09/10/12

      So Colin, legalise weed then right? If we’re banning things that are bad for us then presumably the things that are not bad for us will be legal. Makes sense.

      “I have been partying my arse off for nearly 10 years now”

      Sounds like one hell of a party Chris.

    • Phillb says:

      11:50am | 09/10/12

      You can call it a nanny state but I would prefer to see I little checkbox added to everyone’s licence/ID Card.  Have everyone’s ID checked at pubs/clubs & bottlo’s which isn’t a huge inconvenience to anyone.  If you are convicted of an alcohol related crime, you can have you right to buy or consume alcohol or even be in on a licenced premises suspended if warrented.
      You can’t change a culture like this with a soft approach.

    • willie says:

      01:02pm | 09/10/12

      Mandatory cannabis filled ante rooms on pubs. All punters get high before they are allowed in. This would instantly reduce fights to zero. Of course pub goers would have to be protected from the violent people outside.

      As a plus the music in these places would improve.


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