Maybe I am just getting old, but I am really struggling to find firm evidence to support the claim that this year’s Schoolies Week celebrations are more sedate and more responsible than ever before.

Just one of the happy snaps from Schoolies Week. Photo: Supplied.

Schoolies 2012 was billed as the year when the kiddies of Australia would show themselves in a more mature and dignified light, when the celebrations would be marked by a more sensible approach to drinking and partying.

Demographers such as David Chalk and Bernard Salt said last week that one of the defining features of Gen Y was that it was hyper-informed about risky behaviour, be it the dangers of binge-drinking, casual drug use, or the threat of date rape from the sexually predatory “toolies” who like hang around the periphery of the schoolies celebrations.

“Information, education, media awareness and greater policing have impacted schoolies and their parents about excessive and extreme behaviour,” Salt was quoted as saying.  “We’re seeing moderated behaviour as a consequence and the recklessness is being reined in.”

Salt’s remarks were made before the celebrations began. While media coverage inevitably tends to highlight the worst cases of behaviour, it is hard to argue that Salt’s cheery prognostications have been born out by subsequent events. A few police in charge of overseeing the mayhem have commented that there has been a slight reduction or stabilisation in the number of arrests made at some Schoolies venues, which is probably good news. But overall, it looks no different and in some ways even worse than the annual sexually-charged spewfest it has always been.

Bali has emerged as the new focus of much of the carry-on. In one sense it is a heartening demonstration of the Australian spirit that exactly 10 years after the 2002 Bali bombings so many young Aussies and their parents will thumb their noses at terror warnings and head north to the island where 202 people, 88 of them Australians, were murdered by al Qaeda. Less thrilling is the reality of what so many of them actually get up to when they are there. The marriage of technology and the unchecked consumption of vast amounts of booze has seen an explosion in the number of kids posting shots of themselves or their comatose mates online, with many of the images emanating from Bali, featuring shots of nude blokes standing on table-tops in crowded bars, girls lying facedown on the carpet of some $30 bucks a night Kuta dosshouse, and so on. Things are just as daggy at home, with venues from Byron Bay to Victor Harbour providing similar scenes.

One of the trickiest questions parents will face is the request from their child to take part in Schoolies Week. The question has at its heart the tension between wanting your kids to experience life and not be wrapped up in cotton wool, versus the reality that however well you have brought them up, they will inevitably end up being drunk and in an environment where through peer group pressure they could be led astray, or preyed on by older people with sinister motives.

Whether we like it or not, one of the defining things about Australia is the well-established link between alcohol consumption and celebration. All the milestones and markers in our lives are defined by an association with booze, be it turning 18 or 21, bucks nights and hens nights, winning a football premiership, or even coming last and drowning your sorrows on the end of year footy trip. Indeed many of the parents who find themselves erring on the side of caution and telling their kids that they can’t go to the Gold Coast or Torquay probably finished the evening having one glass of shiraz too many with their adult friends. It is for this that the handy phrase “do as I say not as I do” was invented.

As parents you can probably just hope that your kids will themselves be put off by the more ludicrous behaviour that defines so much of Schoolies Week and will decide to do something different with their mates instead. It might be a somewhat forlorn hope given that kids yearn for a sense of inclusion, and would probably still want to go anyway to be a part of the gang.

Happily I am still some years off having this fraught conversation with my kids. On the basis of what I have seen every year, even in this supposedly enlightened and responsible new age of celebration, I am inclined to pencil in Schoolies Week as the one big stink I am prepared to have with the kids, and not let them go. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I don’t trust the other people who will be around them, at a time when their senses will inevitably be dulled.

You want your kids to take some risks, but it just seems with this event that the risks are too great. They might regard you as a stick in the mud or a spoilsport at the time but down the track I reckon they would regard it more as an act of kindness that you stepped in and vetoed it. There are plenty of kids who get arrested, thumped, injured or attacked each year through no fault of their own, and who if they had their time over would most definitely have refused to take part. Not to mention the kids who in these digitally-driven times end up with images of themselves face down on the carpet going viral for the whole world to see.

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    • Jojen Reed says:

      05:07am | 20/11/12

      OMG
      The girl in the pic lives in legoland

      Either that or she has big chunks for a head.

      A real Kodak moment.

    • Anna says:

      09:28am | 20/11/12

      She’s just asleep/unconscious on the floor, It’s not like she’s injecting cocaine into her eyeballs.

      So they’ll get drunk, vomit, sleep around, lose their phones, but there’s only one way to learn… and it’s a relatively safe environment, where everyone is in the same boat and they have their friends around.

      Also, Schoolies is way more tame than the kids pretend it was.

    • Retired Soldier says:

      05:39am | 20/11/12

      Every year I see this mod in action at surfers. One word describes all of them - grubs ! I’m not sure what to call the parents but they certainly have not done a very poor job of raising them and I guess if the grubs have no manners then nor will the idiots who spawned them.

    • Bomb78 says:

      01:26pm | 20/11/12

      Retired Soldier - I live on the GC but rarely go near Surfers Paradise. The last time I went in there during Schoolies was to check on my little brother many years ago. If you don’t like what you see, stay away - but remember that the whole GC turns on the economic activity generated in Surfers, Main Beach and Broadbeach. Events like Schoolies are why the GC is here.
      Not all those kids there this week are grubs. Not all the parents are failures. My father is a retired soldier too - still polishes his work boots every day. One of his son’s just came back from a second tour of the Middle East; another is one of the police on the beat in Surfers Paradise this week. My brothers and I all got messy in Surfers during Schoolies. Manners are still intact. Didn’t stop us being contributing members of society.
      One feels you’d be best served finding another hole to climb in and out of if Surfers isn’t to your liking.

    • Don says:

      05:57am | 20/11/12

      Ahhh schoolies, when all your chickens come home to roost.

    • Macca says:

      06:19am | 20/11/12

      I didn’t really enjoy my schoolers experience. Many of my friends, myself included, all had grand plans for the week. I wanted Surfers, others cruises, some Byron and others Noosa. Blinded by naivety and single mindedness, we ended up in small groups and missed the opportunity to actually celebrate the end of high-school together.

      The Gold Coast never is what it claims to be. Our most enjoyable day was probably at the theme parks, where we got to intentionally act like kids, as opposed to the drunk strip of Cavill Avenue where you act infantile despite ambitions otherwise.

      A few months later, just prior to unicommemcing, 30 of us headed up the NSW central coast and spent a weekend in a caravan park by the beach. With no flight costs, and $50 a head for the weekend for accommodation and food, it was a much more enjoyable experience. Mostly because we could share it.

    • Bear says:

      06:52am | 20/11/12

      I think being surrounded by conservative tosspots ages one before their time. I recall these scenes in about 1992. The average Hadley or Akerman are about 105 years old in value terms.

    • Martin says:

      07:23am | 20/11/12

      David, you pretty much nailed it with:

      “Not because I don’t trust them, but because I don’t trust the other people who will be around them, at a time when their senses will inevitably be dulled.”

      All the trust, advice, pleas for sensible behaviour and positive reinforcement in the world is worthless when bucketloads of alcohol are involved. Fingers crossed that 99% of these kids will be lucky enough to dodge a bullet a live to brag about their experience. The unlucky 1% that fall off that high-rise balcony, drown in the surf, get bashed or raped will not.

      Coming of age celebrations have always been this way since the first cave-man got high off fermented berries and that will never change. The best parents can hope for is their kids are one of the 99%.

    • Jeremy says:

      12:15pm | 20/11/12

      Yet the fact of the matter is that schoolies have been going on like this year, worse than this year by crime reports, and yet whole school-to-uni transition is still working just fine. People come back from schoolies each year and just get on with it. By the way people talk you’d think that each year half the school leavers were wiped out, never to resurface in civilized society again. Fortunately that’s BS, and the hangover goes away after a week.

    • Suzanne says:

      07:28am | 20/11/12

      Same story different year.  Its getting worse as well

    • T says:

      12:47pm | 20/11/12

      You got your information by studying the different groups each year have you?

      I’d love to see your study and findings!

    • Colin says:

      07:35am | 20/11/12

      Oh the hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth…Young people getting drunk and being irresponsible? Never! None of us have ever done anything like that, the history of the world has shown young people never to have indulged in this way, and all social and cultural records show a complete and utter respect by young people for their elders, the law and all social mores…

      You wowsers; they’re just kids and I defy any of you to tell me that you have never ever committed any silly indiscretion (drunken or otherwise) as a teenager. Ah, everything is so much clearer with 20/20 hindsight…

    • Michael says:

      08:33am | 20/11/12

      Some of the wowsers are having that realisation too Colin, they may not let you know as it happens, but it is a process that we all go through to varying degrees, as you are also pointing out.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      08:34am | 20/11/12

      Well, I would worry if I was a parent. Because as much as you might bring up you kids well, there are people that don’t, and even one kid bashed, assaulted, sexually assaulted or raped is one kid too many.

      Get too much alcohol into some people and they can hurt themselves, or others. I wouldn’t let my kids go to Surfers.

    • fromage67 says:

      08:45am | 20/11/12

      +1 Colin.

    • Economist says:

      12:02pm | 20/11/12

      Colin I think you’ve missed David’s point. It’s not about being a wowser it’s about that fact that as a parent you know what you got away with, but on a smaller scale. That you can instill in your kids values, but they get caught in the moment like you did, carried away.

      That while you as a parent passed out for excessive alcohol consumption but at such a big event such as schoolies there are more individuals to take advantage of you whether you are male or female than you’d find at any house party or night club. That with today’s technology that the instagram photos, facebook profiles can impact on your future job negatively. That in some normally well behaved kids alcohol can create aggression rather than relaxation.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      12:22pm | 20/11/12

      @Colin, but you know what drunken men are like…. they’ll go out and ravage every woman won’t they? Based on your observations in a variety of articles.

    • Mark990 says:

      12:47pm | 20/11/12

      Too right Colin. These are 18 year old kids, they are allowed to drink, they are way smarter than adults give them credit for, and they’ve just finished a hellish 2 years of schooling and need to let off steam. Parents trying to stop their kids going are just going to end up with even wilder kids when they eventually make it to Uni or out into the real world. Just let the kids go, as the more it is policed and stupid rules implemented, the more people will start going to Bali and Thailand where there are no rules. That’s exactly what I would be doing if I had my time again.

    • I hate pies says:

      07:42am | 20/11/12

      Let’s face it; we’re a nation of pissheads. These kids drink like they do because their parents still drink like that - their parents haven’t grown up yet either.
      I live in a town where the schoolies come to ‘celebrate’ one of many milestones in their life, and I was astounded at just how young they are. I’m showing my age now, but they’re children, not adults.

    • Al B says:

      08:26am | 20/11/12

      A hypocrit nation of pissheads too….cannabis is far safer by any measure really, yet thats illegal. Imagine how calmer they’d be if they we toking on some beach rather than liquored up and staggering around the streets of Goldie. Give them a legal, safer choice. There is no question that alcohol is the more dangerous of the two.

    • Ozzy of Snowblind says:

      09:57am | 20/11/12

      Most of the illegal drugs if administered safely would be less destructive than alcohol.

    • iansand says:

      07:43am | 20/11/12

      You have to trust your kids.  And have brought them up to be trustworthy.

    • Seano says:

      01:33pm | 20/11/12

      I’m sure not every kid at schoolies is a reprobate or had bad parents. They’re still young, inexperienced and have a low tolerance to alcohol and peer pressure. Even good kids make mistakes.

      I will, when they’re old enough let my kids go away for an end of school celebration with sensible friends. But I’ll be setting a few common sense boundaries and one will be that they couldn’t go to schoolies.

    • John says:

      08:00am | 20/11/12

      If kids must go to schoolies, talk them into going somewhere other than the Gold Coast.

      Gold Coast = high rises = big danger of death when paralytically drunk.

      Also, at the Gold Coast, where there’s schoolies, there’s toolies. Nobody - but nobody - wants their 17 year old daughter to have unprotected sex (or any at all, really) with a 25 year old predatory bogan.

    • Jeremy says:

      12:20pm | 20/11/12

      If your 17 year old daughter gets herself so recklessly drunk she hooks up with some 25 year old then its 99% likely she’s been doing it for a few years already, and will still be doing it at uni. If it’s a real concern to you, you’re to late.

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      01:55pm | 20/11/12

      @Jeremy

      Even if she’s so drunk she can hardly walk? Not that uncommon at Schoolies.

    • Elphaba says:

      08:09am | 20/11/12

      I think we all need to remember, that whilst some people truly go off the rails when it comes to Schoolies, or O’Week at uni, most of them have a few wild weeks here and there and then knuckle down to the serious business of being an adult.

      I can’t tell you how many uni parties I went to where I drank myself silly and ended up puking in the garden back at college and then sleeping all day.  I grew up.  I got great marks.  I’ve been employed every moment since I left uni.  Most of these kids will too.

      The ones to worry about were the kids whose parents raised them with an iron fist.  They stepped foot on campus and went completely berserk, and didn’t stop until they got thrown out.

      Yes, it pays to be concerned.  No parent stops being concerned about their kids.  But the typical sensationalism ACA-fuelled “Our kids are out of control!” is just rot.  Some kids are out of control.  Some kids will do something really stupid and get themselves or someone else hurt.  Most will wake up with a whopping hangover and a bruise where they fell over the night before, and will be none the worse for it in the long run.

    • Milly says:

      08:09am | 20/11/12

      My kids are now aged 21 and 19.  We started talking about schoolies a few years before they reached Year 12.  We would watch the news reports about schoolies and discuss what went on.  They are smart kids and could see the problems.  When the time came, they organised for a bunch of their friends to rent a holiday house together.  We knew the kids and their families, so it was all good.  We all provided them with food, some of the kids over 18 drank a bit, but not out of control.  They knew how to have fun without being out of control.

      My point is that parents need to discuss stuff like this very early on.  We had talked about alcohol for many years with the kids, and modelled to them sensible moderate behaviour around alcohol.  We also didn’t lavish money on our kids,  and would never have bought them grog.

      Lastly, we offered our kids the option of simply having the cash that we would have spent on their ‘schoolies’ holiday with their mates.

      Too many parents relinquish the raising of their children to ‘society’ or ‘peers’ ... basically we have found that the teenage years take as much time and effort as the very early years, when you bring home a new baby.  It is different of course, but in the teen years, parents need to understand that they need to stay in touch with their kids lives.  They need to guide them and challenge them.  (Parent them… not be their ‘buds’)  Parents also need to work on their OWN lives!  Yes, you have to be a role model to your kids.  If you are binge drinking, then what can you expect from your kids.

    • expat says:

      08:14am | 20/11/12

      The more of a nanny state Australia becomes, the more people are going to give the state the bird.

      I feel safer going out to party in Medellin Colombia than I do going out in most places in Australia. Colombia has very little regulation, alcohol is available on the street and i’ve yet to see the arrogant behavior that happens in Aus.

    • KA says:

      08:17am | 20/11/12

      My daughter finishes high school next year.  I have told her all along that she won’t be doing schoolers.  I have no problem with her going away with her friends after school finishes, but it won’t be that week or to a ‘schoolies’ location.  And It’s not that I don’t trust her or her friends, it’s the risk from others.

    • AdamC says:

      09:29am | 20/11/12

      Realistically, though, what is the risk?

      How many schoolies are actually injured, killed or sexually assaulted? When we hear about the small few that are, we forget that the vast, vast majority of schoolies come out of the week with nothing more than a sunburn, some hangovers and some fun (if hazy) memories.

    • Matt says:

      08:21am | 20/11/12

      Must be that time of year again. Each generation more irresponsible than the last. Its the same stuff merely magnified by social media and the news media as well. I particularly enjoyed the news.com article chastising these young hooligans for posting their drunken pictures onnline which was accompanied by a gallery where they had compiled some of the best shots for everyone to see. But its just those kids who are irresponsible for posting the pictures. There aren’t stories about the other 95 percent who don’t get into trouble, just get drunk, possibly learn some life lessons on the subject and even those who go along and have a shit time. As much as teenagers grow up to understand more of their parents decisions I don’t believe banning them from schoolies would be one they would thank you for.

    • Caitlin says:

      08:27am | 20/11/12

      My parents brought me up to be polite, respectful, kind and generally a decent human being. But put a party situation in front of me as a teenager/young adult and off I’d go! Kids can be brought up as nicely as you’d like, but sometimes they will let go. Unfortunately we have the entire year 12 population letting go all at once, which causes media speculation and much commenting from people across the older generations.

      I’ll bet every single one of you has drunk to excess, especially in a situation where everyone is doing it. Peer pressure and the willingness to slough off the school years contributes heavily to this, as well as just wanting to get drunk. Your glass of wine at the end of a hard day at work is a small reminder of this feeling, you may not drain the whole bottle but I’ll bet you have said “Oh I could really use a glass of wine/beer.”

      Let the kids make their own mistakes. How else will they learn?

    • Ex says:

      08:29am | 20/11/12

      I went to the site that displays their pictures to find all of these shocking photos…there aren’t any.

    • Old Prude says:

      08:30am | 20/11/12

      If the parents are idiots it is a pretty safe bet their children will be also, the standards of morality and conduct in Australia have deteriorated markedly over the past 30 years. Before that it was the university students who used to do the stunts, and behave in a manner just to shock us out of our minds. 0 years ago we knew that smoking pot on a continual basis could lead to mental problems down the track and now it seems as if it affects the genes as well.

    • Tyr says:

      08:45am | 20/11/12

      You guys need to take a step back and relax. Schoolies was the best week of my life, hands down. It gives year 12 students a chance, for one week, to let their inhibitions go, and just have fun, get hammered with their mates, and not have to worry about Mum and Dad breathing down their necks to complete the HSC.

      Guess what? The majority of Australians love a drink or 10. These kids are no different.

      Yes, there are fights, yes there is drunken and unruly behaviour. But it’s Schoolies. It’s the entire point of the week… to have fun and not care about anything. No worse than Sydney or Melbourne on a Saturday night.

      The media in this country have fuck all to report about, apart form the mud-slinging that goes on in Parliament, or some boring story about an NRL/AFL player. So they make a massive deal about Schoolies.

      Seriously, lighten up a bit. Every media outlet in this country demands a knee-jerk reaction to any perceived or small issue that arises in any form - think Gillard’s ‘Media Inquiry’, think Conroy’s Internet Filter, think [insert b.s issue here].

      How about you dig deeper into Gillard’s AWU involvement, rather than running around like Maude Flanders (RIP) screaming ‘Won’t somebody PLEEEASE think of the children!!!’

    • I hate pies says:

      11:56am | 20/11/12

      What schoolies don’t understand is that finishing school isn’t a major event in your life; life is just beginning when you leave school.
      Plus, you have three years of Uni ahead of you to let your hair down and get as smashed as you want; it doesn’t have to be done in the space of a week. I’ll give you a tip; nothing you do at schoolies will compare to 3 years of “study” at Uni

    • biscuit says:

      08:50am | 20/11/12

      sorry to break it to you but once they turn 18 they are legally adults and can do what they want. Schoolies is a right of passage, do you want your kids to never have any fun, take risks, break rules, learn life lessons from their mistakes or have great stories to tell? what is life without risk.

      your article suggests that schoolies is as bad as ever but you have failed to provide any evidence for this. yes there will be a small percentage of stupid kids who will get themselves into trouble but if you’ve done your job as a parent yours won’t be one of them

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      08:55am | 20/11/12

      Schoolies in some shape or form will always exist and many people forget the stupid crap they got up to in their youth.

      “schoolies” is that unique void between school and the rest of your damn life hence why so many people get loose and do dumb things.

      My schoolies in 2004 consisted of 2 days at Victor Harbour (South Aussie here) to do the actual schoolies nonsense but the best part was the rest of the week at Morgan on a house boat with mates living it up with no stress about school, work or other stuff that plagues the rest of our lives it was that one week where nothing mattered, I wish I could go back :-(

    • AdamC says:

      09:01am | 20/11/12

      You are probably just being influenced by the prevailing social trend towards wowserism. When I graduated from high school at the end of the nineties, the idea that kids (even underage kids) would party and get drunk was regarded as fairly uncontroversial. Just part of life. So long as the kids didn’t do anything really stupid like get behind the wheel.

      Now, the idea of young people having booze-fuelled parties is regarded as some sort of societal dysfunction. I have no idea why this is so.  It is a shame, really.

    • Ben C says:

      10:38am | 20/11/12

      @ AdamC

      It’s because we hear too many stories of kids getting behind the wheel after a booze-fuelled party and killing themselves and/or their friends.

      If they had any sensibilities about them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • Markus says:

      10:58am | 20/11/12

      @Ben C, exactly AdamC’s point. There are no more of these stories than there have been in the last 40 years, you are just hearing about more of them.

    • Ben C says:

      11:35am | 20/11/12

      @ Markus

      “There are no more of these stories than there have been in the last 40 years, you are just hearing about more of them.”

      Is that really true, though? Were there just as many kids bozzing up, getting behind the wheel and killing themselves 40 years ago as there are now (per capita - need to take into consideration the growth in population)? That’s what I’m debating. I just think my generation (Gen Y) and those following are becoming more and more reckless, to the point where they have no control over themselves.

    • 70s survivor says:

      01:05pm | 20/11/12

      I think it’s true Ben C.  I left school in Year 10 (16) got a full time job in the PS and was taken straight to the Pub for lunch on my second day and they got me plastered.  Got off the train after work and drove home.  Why?  Because it wasn’t illegal to drink and drive.  That happened every day for people hitting their teenage years in the 70’s.

      When we smashed our cars and luckily survived (some didn’t), there was no-one there with a mobile phone to upload the crash photo or people passed out, to fb or instagram.  My point - you never heard of this, or drunken kids in a park etc, outside of your local town.  It was exciting to travel interstate and see a different 6pm news and anchor man!  Instant fame via social media heightens the thought that EVERYONES a lout and it’s just not true.  Everything is just in your face in an instant and the media jumps on it.

      My daughter is at schoolies.  I’ve taught her how to drink moderately, what double blacks and tequila can do to you, watch out for your friends, stick together, have fun and stay safe.  Education is the key.  I wish my mother taught me how to drink - I should’ve been dead with what I did at 16+!  But I didn’t die.  I survived. I learnt from my mistakes. And so will these kids.

    • Fed Up says:

      09:09am | 20/11/12

      The problem with todays kids are todays parents…never happened in my day.
      Yes sir no sir three bags full sir…there was repect for ones elders and property.
      With youth unemployment continually rising and the morals and principles of youth continually falling its time to re-introduce national service.
      Discipline!.....and maybe some of em will learn a trade and some self respect.

    • Seano says:

      01:37pm | 20/11/12

      What a load of bullshit.

      When I was a kid most pub front bars were still all tiled so that they were easier to hose out at closing time.

    • Esteban says:

      01:59pm | 20/11/12

      Seano. Also many of the bar stools were bolted to the ground so they could not be used in a fight.

    • Seano says:

      02:26pm | 20/11/12

      lol I’d forgotten about that Esteban!

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:34am | 20/11/12

      Your second last paragraph, wow. Helicopter parent much, penbo? You rail against wrapping kids in bubble wrap and yet its exactly what you plan to do?

      Good luck, but they have to make their own mistakes at some point.

    • Susan says:

      09:34am | 20/11/12

      Who are the parents who fork out thousands of $ to send their kids off to Bali or the Gold Coast simply because they actually completed the HSC. (Without knowing result).  This is a ‘right of passage’ mostly for the rich.  This week we see Aussie kids at their drunken finest and being enabled by parents (in the main) to do the stupid things they are doing.  In Gaza teens are thankful to be alive (if they are). What a world of opposing valued and concerns for youth.

    • Nick says:

      09:36am | 20/11/12

      Difference between this generation and the last million: there are more photos and videos being taken and thrown about via social media. Thats it. Kids these days are doing exactly what kids have ALWAYS done, only now it’s on record. And as usual, the photos/videos reported are the minority of what actually happens because it looks the best on the news.. then everyone runs about saying that this is how everyone behaves. It’s not. The vast majority have a few drinks, have fun and go home.

    • Cath says:

      09:41am | 20/11/12

      Tricky question?  Simple answer - NO.  Non-negotiable.  None of ours have gone or are going to any leavers hotspot. Specially as they are not even legal drinking age when they leave school (our younger ones will be but they still aren’t going).  They have arranged to go with a group of friends to some other place (of which there are hundreds) where they have had a fantastic time hanging out, seeing the sights, cycling, canoeing, swimming, beachwalking, partying ... so many kids who go on leavers are disappointed, bewildered at finding that they are bored witless or majorly stressed out looking out for (and cleaning up after) their stupid few drunk and disorderly friends and keeping the girls safe.

    • Kassandra says:

      09:53am | 20/11/12

      Oh for heaven’s sakes loosen up a bit. My son is going to Byron for schoolies with a group of his best mates and the only thing I’m saying to him is have fun and take care. They’ve all studied their guts out for the HSC and deserve a break and a chance to let their hair down, plus it’s a sort of rite of passage thing. Of course I will worry about him but he’s a good kid and so are his mates, they will look after each other and try to stay out of trouble. My main worry is that he’ll get up to half as much mischief as I did.

    • Aussie Wazza says:

      10:00am | 20/11/12

      The kids are lost and confused.

      There is no ‘coming of age’. No transition from boy to man. No act that confirms their capacity to take on the responsabilities of an adult.

      The don’t have to go out and kill a lion, or walk a tightrope across a volcano, or swim across a shark infested lake. Acts that will seperate those ‘worthy’ from those not.

      So the usual is to go and drink yourself into a coma and to the point where apart from the pain there is no memory of what actually happened. That proves that you are indeed a MAN, worthy of the respect and admiration of society. WOT??

      Talk to the kids and you will find that they crave some ‘initiation’ into adulthood. But apart from being able to drink legally, they have nothing.

      Seriously, some form of national service (say 3 to 6 months) where they get training away from their mothers apron strings, pass tests and can proudly state ‘I have achieved things no boy would attempt; I am now trained and able to join with the MEN to defend my country’, This culminating in a passing out parade, is the answer. They have crossed the threshold from boy to man.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:59am | 20/11/12

      Or, failing national service, which most ADF fans around here go pale whenever you mention it for some odd reason, you could try and use your brain to create an initiation for your kids yourself.  Steve Biddulph has some good ideas along these lines.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:28am | 20/11/12

      You all act like getting drunk and passing out is the sign of some sort of moral decay and that the next step will be drug fuelled orgies and other events full of sin and debauchery for our impressionable youth.

      Were any of you ever young once? Or did you hit 18 and were suddenly one of those boring sanctimonious types who couldn’t wait to be middle aged? Bloody wowsers.

    • Pattem says:

      12:09pm | 20/11/12

      @ David, you stated: “...All the milestones and markers in our lives are defined by an association with booze, be it turning 18 or 21, bucks nights and hens nights, winning a football premiership…”

      Tragic!  I’ve never understood how alcohol is required to have “a good time”.

      But this has been ingrained in the Australian culture for a long time.  I watched a documentary on the history of wine a little while back, and it was clear the binge-drinking culture is not new in this country - maybe the degree is higher, or certainly the degree of reporting on it by the Main Stream Media is higher.

      What I would like to know (haven’t done the research), is just how much of the youth population partakes of the binge-drinking habit.  I strongly suspect our MSM overstate the practice.  At least I hope it’s highly overstated!

    • Markus says:

      02:21pm | 20/11/12

      It is completely overstated.
      Alcohol consumption per capita in Australia has plummeted in the last 50 years, to the point where Australia is not even in the top 40 countries in the world.

      All recent reports seem to indicate that crime rates on a whole are down too, despite so many opinions to the contrary.

      The only thing on the increase is the levels of wowserism.

    • Trash says:

      12:15pm | 20/11/12

      You know it’s Schoolies week when the “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!” brigade is out in full force.

      Life is about learning from bad decisions. I made plenty when I went for Schoolies a few years back (against my parents’ wishes, with money I had earned from working a part time job through high school myself) but I, like most of us there, just had a great time and took the mistakes I made as lessons.

      Sure there’s a chance you could do something stupid and die. Any of us could easily do that on a bender anywhere anytime.

      But keep going. Moral panics are always amusing and none more so than the annual Schoolies freakout.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      12:19pm | 20/11/12

      Yes that wonderful Aussie culture that we are trying so hard to not let those pesky immigrants change. Nothing like getting pissed off our faces, fighting, public vomiting, public urination, chicks getting gangbanged by guys they don’t know, naked pictures and copious amounts of drug taking.

      Ans throughout the year we impart our cultural wisdom upon the people of Bali to show them what Aussies are really like.

      What annoys me I guess is people seem to have the declining aspect of self worth and self respect. Not to sure what the fun bit is in getting into drunk fights or taking to much acid and going on a 2 day bender and not remembering any of it.

      I’m far from a ‘wowser’ just don’t see what getting off your face has to do with having a good time.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      12:56pm | 20/11/12

      It’s a common misconception that you need to get off your face to enjoy yourself. You don’t need to, but some of us enjoy doing it all the same.

    • Markus says:

      02:26pm | 20/11/12

      “Not to sure what the fun bit is in getting into drunk fights or taking to much acid and going on a 2 day bender and not remembering any of it.”

      Taking too much acid would more likely result in a 2 day bender where you remember absolutely everything. Every image, every sense, every emotion, in intense and vivid detail.

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      02:44pm | 20/11/12

      Agree, I do it from time to time, but I know when to stop so I don’t look like cheap gutter trash.

    • simonfromLakemba says:

      05:25pm | 20/11/12

      Not my friends. Took acid, beat some kid and locked him up in a cupboard and went missing until we stumbled across him.

      There was another acid incident, but wont go there.

    • BruceS says:

      12:36pm | 20/11/12

      Perhaps in this case, re-education may be justified.

    • pete says:

      12:43pm | 20/11/12

      Where would News Ltd be without schoolies outrage.

    • Proud thinking Australian says:

      01:04pm | 20/11/12

      When our cultural hero’s are professional football thugs “out to party” and sex-up pop stars, the youth will want to emulate a moment for them in the sun…except it’s in the dark on the Gold Coast drinking too much…
      Changing the “goal posts” is well overdue.

      Our local Christian high school runs missionary team program for students to help poor communities overseas and gain a valuable mature appreciation of what we have here at home.  Our high Aussie dollar helps save lives in our neighboring countries. + It’s good to do this with your school mates. - WIN-WIN I’d say.

    • willie says:

      01:15pm | 20/11/12

      Boo hoo.
      Some one younger than you is having more fun than You. You wish you could get drunk every night, hang out with friends, have sex and no responsibilities. But you can’t so you want to stop everyone else doing it too.

    • David V. says:

      02:29pm | 20/11/12

      Where are the left-liberal idiots now? They allowed our society to get as bad as it is now.

    • Colin says:

      03:24pm | 20/11/12

      “What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?”

      - Plato (more than two-thousand years ago)

    • VJR says:

      03:18pm | 20/11/12

      I feel sorry for the kids after waking up from schoolies with a big head ache the next day what do they have to look forward to - trying to get a job. Mr David V - take it easy mate most of those kids will end up with a mortgage two kids and a wife working part time.

    • Mavis says:

      03:20pm | 20/11/12

      Where are the left-liberal idiots now?

      They’ve morphed in right wing fringe dwellers over the years of course.
      Not to worry, they’ll fix it all up with draconian remedies.

    • David V. says:

      03:48pm | 20/11/12

      It embarrasses us that we don’t have the kind of values that Asian societies hold onto, of strict discipline and respect for elders. You see Singapore as a clean, well-run place and that’s a much better model to emulate than the Lefties’ preferred models.

    • Xar says:

      06:44pm | 20/11/12

      David you embarrass yourself with your lack of knowledge - public drunken behavior is completely normal in more than one Asian country. Take a look at South Korean attitudes to drinking - what we would do as a weekend blinder they would happily do on a work night and drinking hard and to excess is regarded as a positive trait.

    • B.T says:

      04:54pm | 20/11/12

      In their defence David, you are married to a politician…its their job to show indignation at any behaviour deemed “immoral” . I personally have no issue with any individual wanting to drink to much or take drugs, as long as they don’t interfere with the rights of other individuals.

      Maybe get off the high horse and realise not everyone was born to be a nerd.

    • Mike says:

      05:27pm | 20/11/12

      Boomers were just as misbehaved….Woodstock anyone ?!  Pot, kettle !

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      05:44pm | 20/11/12

      “Schoolies” is a total, complet & utter load of nonsense. Why would any intelligent human being about to set out on the adventure that is, supposedly, Adullthood by getting themselves smashed out of their minds with aclohol & drugs and/or both?
      Who started this nonsense? A Brewery? Illegal Drug Manufacturers & their pushers? Condom manufacturers? “The Pill” manufacturers?
      How many unwanted $5000 babies will result from this nonsense with those carrying those unwanted babies having no idea whatsoever as to who, out of possibly dozens, might happen to be the father?
      This is just another excuse for PARENTS to shirk their responsibilities. “Thank God, the children are away so we can just grog & drug on”

 

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