The Government knows how to stop the sucker punches
We know how to stop this country’s binge on alcohol-fuelled violence.
The answers have been sitting in some bureaucrat’s drawer in Canberra since 2009 – when some guy called Rudd was PM.
They’re in a technical manual, likely with a dust-coated cover. The manual details the merits of a banquet of measures that could be introduced by the Federal Government to tackle the issue. And it’s time someone picked it out of the drawer and blew the dust away. God knows Dr Anthony Lynham wants someone to.
You might’ve heard about Dr Lynham from previous reports. For the past sixteen years, the maxillofacial surgeon been busy every Monday - putting back together the faces of young blokes whose heads have been bashed in by sucker punches at the weekend.
Bashed, 98 per cent of the time, by blokes who don’t know the difference between getting off your face and smashing someone else’s to a pulp.
According to an analysis of 175 News Ltd reports, more than 2 in 5 sucker punches between 2005 and August this year were thrown in a pub or a club. And a significant percentage were near a pub or club. Most of them between midnight and 4am.
Speaking to The Punch and News.com.au yesterday in a follow-up interview, Dr Lynham expressed his frustration at the Federal Government dragging its feet on the issue.
“They’ve done all the studies, all the work’s been done. They have the solutions in a paper ready to go.”
The report Dr Lynham’s talking about was produced for the National Preventative Health Taskforce in 2009. It cites study after study-and puts forward a whole range of options that Lynham says are reasonable.
Like raising the take-home drinking age to 21. Stronger liability laws for pubs and clubs. And maybe even unit pricing for alcohol.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell appears to have borrowed several of the worthy suggestions in the report. He’s put forward restrictions on shot sales times and late night transport to get people out of party areas in Kings Cross.
But such an approach needs to be adopted nationally.
“There is so much the Federal Government can do to improve this, so much,” Dr Lynham said.
“The Government wrote these bloody ideas, I’m repeating their solutions.”
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