We know how to stop this country’s binge on alcohol-fuelled violence.

Dr Lynham

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.”

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEST.

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69 comments

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    • Rosie says:

      05:22am | 11/10/12

      How about a culture change within Australian young people? Excessive drinking seems like a choice from afar, but when you’re within the circle it’s just the norm. For people I know, the cost of alchohol has impacted the number of binge drinking nights and/or increase pre-drinking at home, but the culture still supports binging despite the restrictions designed to punish. That very australian trend really needs to change!!

    • Tom says:

      07:02am | 11/10/12

      Well said, Rosie. “Yoof cultcha” and its priggish sense of self entitlement.

    • Justin says:

      08:28am | 11/10/12

      Yeah, good luck with that.

      This is Australia, and besides drinking, all other social activities are prohibitively expensive, highly restricted or limited, or illegal.

      Drinking is really all we have.

    • subotic says:

      09:00am | 11/10/12

      How about “old people” just mind their own goddamn business?

      Nothing worse than when people reach that “certain” age when everything they themselves experimented with as a teenager suddenly becomes “evil” and a “tool of the devil” for the latest batch of pre-adults.

      Kids drink. Kids smoke. Kids smoke pot even. And listen to Nicki goddamn Minaj. It’s called experimentation. We all did it. And sure, some of it is wrong. Like Nicki Minaj. But hell, we all grow out of it. Mostly.

      Stop being a facist bloody school hall monitor already, Rosie…

    • Big Jay says:

      09:04am | 11/10/12

      @Justin - I’m very sympathetic to binge drinkers, being one who indulges in that sort of thing from time to time.

      However, would you care to elaborate what “other social activities are prohibitively expensive, highly restricted or limited, or illegal” you are referring too?

    • Pedro says:

      09:32am | 11/10/12

      @subotic - glad you weren’t my Dad. Kids need boundaries. As do feeble-minded adults. Sometimes they need to be set by the government, like telling us we need to stop when the traffic lights are red.
      When i was a teen in Brisbane, pubs shut at 10. We then went home.
      What was wrong with that model? Perhaps in the 80s hoteliers weren’t as greedy and politicians were as willing to bend over backwards to help their poor old mates who need the doors to stay open (with obvious benefits for the pokie rooms).
      Earlier closing times would stop a lot of the violence.
      A curfew at hot sopts like Kings X and Fortitude Valley would help too. S0metimes a nanny state mentality is needed when things are out of control.

    • Markus says:

      09:52am | 11/10/12

      @Big Jay, a quick list I could think of:
      - team sports, for which 99% of the blowout in registration fees is purely to cover liability
      - extreme sports, the same
      - smoking, apart from the tax, you cannot smoke indoors or even outdoors in many places
      - other recreational drugs, which are all illegal despite most having significantly less negative effects than tobacco and alcohol

    • wakeuppls says:

      10:26am | 11/10/12

      Pedro

      I’m glad you know what’s best for adults. I hear they are looking for applicants in communist China. Start looking there because your nanny state supporting crap isn’t welcome in a supposedly free country.

    • LC says:

      10:42am | 11/10/12

      No Pedro. Just no.

      A nanny state is not a solution for anything. Period. Teens would just drink at home instead. The solution is to round up the troublemakers and JAIL them. None of this suspended sentence or community service bullshit, send them to the big house.

      Introduce a curfew, and the government will the advantage of that for it’s own nefarious ends. Look at cigarette plain packaging. The ink is still fresh on the paper, and the government are ALREADY considering the same plan for fast food.

    • Big Jay says:

      11:24am | 11/10/12

      @Markus - Fair comment, and I agree about a lot/many recreational drugs.

      I play a team sport (rugby union), rego and gear is all of about $350 per season/half year. A night out drinking = drinks, plus cabs and cover charges easily approaches $200. The other thing is team sports tend to be as much about the drinking as it is about the sport!!

      I think people have the right to go out drinking and partying all night if they want to and they don’t hurt other people.

      I would also concede entertainment choices are very limited for stupid reasons like poor transport planning, and wowserism (like I don’t any legal place to go do burn-outs).

      But to me, (going out) drinking is one of the most expensive social/entertainment activities I ever engage in.

    • subotic A. Capone says:

      11:52am | 11/10/12

      So Pedro, you’re a cop, right?

      You say “Kids need boundaries”, and I agree. 100%.

      But those boundaries shouldn’t include forcing people, young or old, into living their lives in fear of being punished for experimenting. And they will experiment regardless of you liking it or not.

      The choice then becomes experimenting where they can be assisted if needed because you can see them out in the open, not hiding away so they “can’t get caught”.

      Haven’t you heard of Prohibition?

      That worked a treat, didn’t it….

    • Markus says:

      11:54am | 11/10/12

      @Big Jay, good points too, was just quickly listing a few examples.
      I used to play rugby as well, and did note that rego fees have almost quadrupled since I stopped playing (which wasn’t that long ago I swear!)

      Another big one for me that I left off is live music. Venues that had been live music hotspots for decades have now been ceased due to noise complaints from nearby residential blocks only built in the last couple of years, etc

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      12:18pm | 11/10/12

      “And listen to Nicki goddamn Minaj.” You take that back.

      Pedro - But people now don’t want pubs to shut at 10, after which time they proceed to their respective abodes for a quiet game of backgammon, and then off to bed early enough so as to reach the habberdasher at a reasonable hour in the morning to buy a shiney set of buttons for their fresh new pair of pantaloons.

      What’s wrong with that model is that people want to get messed up, and not spend their entire night not having fun and wondering what the fuck pantaloons are.

      Earlier closing times would move the violence, or make people start drinking earlier. I’m not sure how raising the drinkng age would help either, are most of these assaults committed by those under the age of 21? Hmm, indeed and so forth.

    • Pedro says:

      02:19pm | 11/10/12

      Subotic
      How do make the logic leap from me saying pubs closing at 10 would be a good thing TO prohibition?
      Prohibition did not exactly work (it did make the Kennedys rich) but when I was a lad, pubs closing at 10 was fine with everyone. The few nightclubs closed at around 2 a.m.
      When I was young, we saw no need to drink for as many hours straight and stay out as long as the kids of today.
      Trust me - if the places weren’t open, the kids would go home.
      It’s only that the laws have now become so stupidly lax, that we are having this quite silly debate.
      I find it bizarre that the anti-nanny staters think that all night drinking and locl pubs staying open til 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. is actually a good thing. Why is it good? Simply because it means kids don’t have to go home?
      Why hasn’t someone blamed Juliar or Phoney Abbott yet?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      02:40pm | 11/10/12

      “the kids would go home.”

      ....and drink.  And then it’d be on Facebook that they were all at Joe’s place.  And then there’d be people crashing into residential areas at 2 a.m, destroying the place.  Good idea!

    • LC says:

      04:00pm | 11/10/12

      And to add to my above point concerning ciggie plain packaging, this was AFTER the government called BS several times on claims about alcohol and fast food being next in the firing line.

    • Tim says:

      06:02am | 11/10/12

      There are already too many regulations. I’m 21. I can legally drink, vote, sign contracts, join the army and be sent to war, but now I can’t order a round of shots for my mates if it’s after midnight!
      The UK and European countries are much more relaxed about alcohol, but it seems the more we try to tell people here what they can and can’t do, the worse they behave.
      Just stop wrapping people up in cotton wool and let them enjoy themselves

    • Bertrand says:

      08:33am | 11/10/12

      I have tended to come down on the anti-nanny state argument on this debate.

      A few months back a late-night trip to emergency one Friday night with my toddler who was having a severe asthma attack was, however, eye-opening. It was a constant stream of drunks, either bashed and bloody or suffering from acute alcohol poisoning. It was non-stop… all night, I sat in our treatment room where my son was getting oxygen and from where I could see people coming in to ER.

      The toll this must take on our hospitals and healthcare workers is astonishing. The amount of money that taxpayers must spend stitching up thugs who get drunk and start punching each other, the amount that must be spent pumping the stomachs of teenagers who have consumed far far too much in too short a time.

      Laws aren’t going to change the violent drinking culture that some Australians seem to live by, but they will help at least control it.

      Have a read through this article http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/the-street-violence-tearing-australian-families-apart/story-fndo20i0-1226474223855

      Tell me that we don’t need to have some type of laws to help put a stop to this.

    • Markus says:

      09:58am | 11/10/12

      @Bertrand, there are already laws in place that address those responsible for assaults, just that the sentences are not being implemented.

      Regarding your experience in the ER, by every report I have read, the toll on the health system is certainly not more than the $3 billion the government receives in alcohol tax revenue each year. And that includes treatment of much more longterm effects such as liver disease.

    • wakeuppls says:

      10:29am | 11/10/12

      Bertrand

      I wonder if they’d be so willing to commit to such poor behaviour if they knew all the care they receive came out of their own back pocket? The solution is always less government, not more.

    • Bertrand says:

      10:46am | 11/10/12

      @Markus -  tougher sentencing, etc is reactive policy, not proactive. It does nothing to stop the thousands of drunken assaults that occur every year. Proactive policies that aim to stop the violence before it happens are necessary. They may not be lockouts (Iockouts have their own set of issues), but there are many things that could be done… greater responsibility to pubs that don’t adhere to RSA and then have assaults caused by their patrons, bans on offenders entering certain areas or drinking at pubs, etc. To say that there is no reason to change the current regulatory environment is nonsense.

      And I’m not a wowser by any means. I have argued on here many times for legalised regulation of all drugs and I regularly drink far more than the health authorities say is good for me. I don’t see how my right to drink to excess will be threatened by laws that are aimed at stopping thugs becoming drunk thugs who bash other people . In fact, I would see my rights as being protected, as I would be able to go out on the town without worrying if some drunk is going to king hit me from behind.

      However, part of the reason I argue in favour of legalised regulation is that the ‘regulation’ part means we can put in place frameworks to minimise the social harm caused by the abuse of drugs. Alcohol abuse is not currently being proactively regulated in any real sense of the word.

    • Markus says:

      12:04pm | 11/10/12

      @Bertrand, “tougher sentencing, etc is reactive policy, not proactive. It does nothing to stop the thousands of drunken assaults that occur every year.”
      In a way it does. People who would start a fight while intoxicated are people who would regularly start fights while intoxicated. Proper sentencing would at the minimum prevent re-offence, at least for so long as the incarceration period.

      ‘Alcohol abuse is not currently being proactively regulated in any real sense of the word’
      Nor do I think it should. Better means to address and overcome issues of alcohol dependency, definitely, but the only way to be proactive would be to treat every drinker as another alcohol dependent waiting to happen.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      02:48pm | 11/10/12

      “I would be able to go out on the town without worrying if some drunk is going to king hit me from behind.”

      Until you couldn’t…until drinking was so over priced and over policed that you’ll feel like a junky injecting in a darkened doorway.  But by all means, keep locking things down because of underlying cultural issues.  You’ll just push the problems into residential areas (which, as someone who lives in city, will work well for me) as people brew and distill their own.  Which as Russia has taught us, leads to some very severe public health issues.

    • Bertrand says:

      04:07pm | 11/10/12

      @Tim the Toolman - so what you are essentially saying is that the status quo is acceptable; that the thousands of drunken bashings that occur in our nightspots every year is ok; that we shouldn’t be thinking about how we can best reform an industry that is clearly failing to live up to its social responsibilities; that the hundreds of bashing and alcohol poisoning cases clogging up our ERs every Friday and Saturday night should just be accepted?

      If you are saying these things, then I resepectfully disagree. The current siutation is unacceptable.

      And if you do think these things are a problem, what is your solution outside of saying that people should take more personal responsibility and we should punish offenders more harshly?

      Personal responsibility isn’t working. There is a deep cultural problem amongst some Australian drinkers that requires much more than admonishments that they should just act more responsibly.

      Likewise, there is no evidence that harsher punishments reduce crime levels, they simply ensure that once a crime has been committed the person is held to full account for what they did.

      I’m not saying we need to have draconian lockout times, or taxes so high that we are priced out of our drinks. But to argue that any type of legislative reform when it comes to alcohol (particularly alcohol in our nightspots) is an unwarranted assault on our liberties is absolute nonsense. What is an unwarranted assault on our liberties is the fact that if you go out into an entertainment area on a Friday or Saturday night you run the very real risk of being brutally bashed simply for being there.

    • Angry God of Townsville says:

      06:35am | 11/10/12

      The problem is that a night out on the drinks is now bloody expensive. I am 46, and when I joined the Army as an apprentice 30 years ago, the culture was more along the lines of do your heavy lifting in private and be social in public. Now, with the cost being so high, you get the majority either skulling half a bottle of jack on the way into town, or dropping a tablet for the same price as a couple of bundy and coke over a bar.

      When you pay so much for a good time, you are going to see more people wanting to have “their” best night out, regardless of the consequences to others. It is cheaper to drink almost everywhere else in the world, why do we have these problems, when places that do not place such a high price on alcohol do not?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:15am | 11/10/12

      Interesting point. And now in areas like Kings Cross where some very qualified regulations have been instituted by state government, all the licensees are crying poor mouth and talking about the demise of their businesses.

      If we had the 3 a.m. closing across the board, all those PRE-FUELING at home before they venture out probably would stop. They would venture out earlier and do their drinking in KX or wherever. Bottom line is that the pubs and clubs would sell just as much booze and EVERYBODY including long suffering residents could get a decent night’s rest. As it is in too many communities everyone who isn’t out for a 24 hr drink session just has to take it, lie back and think of the AHA! Give me a break!!!

    • gerry W says:

      06:41am | 11/10/12

      Tim, you are oblivious to stupidity. Get drunk so clever beat up your wife or girlfriend, kill or maim a few innocents as you and your mates walk along the streets, yes tons of fun.

    • Mouse says:

      06:58am | 11/10/12

      gerryW, I think that you assuming Tim is one of those drunken idiots is a bit unfair. I agree with Tim in the fact that now, because of a few stupid morons, everyone has to be restricted. It’s the old saying, the many pay for the few and it doesn’t just apply to alcohol btw.  :o)

    • Rossco says:

      08:34am | 11/10/12

      Yes Gerry I’m sure Tim is the sort to get drunk all the time, beats up his wife and girlfriend on the side, then go out for a night on the town where he king hits and kills a couple of innocent party goers on the way back home with his mates, to get home in time to bash his girlfriend and wife some more all while saying “yesh I’m having tons of fun, alcohol rules dude!’

      You have a very simplified and ignorant view of the world my friend. If you want prohibition you should start up a temperance movement. I heard prohibition was a spectacular success in the US, just like their drinking age of 21….

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:49am | 11/10/12

      Instead of stopping people drinking, why not look at why they drink?

      Young and stupid people are always going to be young and stupid.  It’s not about stopping them doing stupid things - you just won’t achieve that - but why this militant drinking culture has sprung up.

    • sunny says:

      08:46am | 11/10/12

      “why not look at why they drink?”

      Also how they drink. Everyone needs to go at their own pace on the grog. There are people who I can’t keep up with on the drink, and people who can’t keep up with me. It’s a wisdom acquired over a long time, one that I wish I knew when I was younger. Young people have to have it hammered into them through an ad campaign that they should find their own drinking pace and stick to it, and it doesn’t matter what your mates think about you if you drink a bit slower than them.

    • Mouse says:

      09:39am | 11/10/12

      I know this may sound unfair, but if you get into a fight or cause heaps of trouble when drunk/drugged, when the cops come, you ALL get charged.

      Not just the drunken idiot but his mates as well. If you want to stay with your buddy whiile he pummels the bejesus out of someone, bashes his missus or abuses someone in the street, you go too Sunshine! You watched while this happened, maybe even egged him on, so you cop the charge as well.  (Even though I have used the “he” example, I also mean the “she” as well)

      Sound too tough? Maybe, but no much else seems to work. Group mentality is a wonderful thing, works better than laws sometimes.  Maybe if everyone knows that old Charley is a bad drunk, maybe they’ll either stop going out with him or pull him up when he starts to turn nasty, especially if his trouble will become yours.  Hey, Charley will probably listen to his mates before he’ll listen to the cops. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. Never know until you try it.  :o)

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      03:12pm | 11/10/12

      “... why not look at why they drink?”

      Options. Or lack thereof. Simply, there is nothing else in Australia because we’re a bunch of kids who apparently need the government to hold our fragile little hands.

      But then it can’t all be blamed on alcohol, I’ve always held that people are responsible for their own actions, and it’s because of a few idiots that we can’t have nice things.

    • Gerry W says:

      07:39am | 11/10/12

      Mouse and Mahhrat two competant relpies, the base problem is they do not know when to draw the line and have had enough. However when the hurt others such as taxit/bus drivers then it has gone too far. Becoming a sad sad world unfortunately.

    • HC says:

      08:52am | 11/10/12

      Bullsh!t.  95% of people or more know when they’ve drunk enough and if you’ve ever touched a drop of alcohol you’d know it (unless of course you’re a reformed alcoholic which would explain the teetotalling attitude).

      Tarring all drinkers with the same brush shows an appalling lack of trust in the general public, in spite of the fact most of us are decent, non-violent people.

    • subotic W & Subotic W says:

      09:19am | 11/10/12

      gerry W and Gerry W, two “competant relpies” if you’re illiterate and uneducated.

      Becoming?

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      07:39am | 11/10/12

      But the federal government HAS done something, Daniel. Just recently. They very wisely have put the responsibility on employers for their workers’ social lives. So they now have to look out for yawning and poor performance - that is, if they make it to work at all - and I expect most of the problems are on Mondays or after other nights which required the big imbibers to be out until the wee hours. And God forbid that work should interfere with social life!

      The changes suggested here are not likely to make any difference. Certainly no more than what has been tried and tested in Newcastle. That is early (if you call 3 a.m. early and I don’t) closing and/ Last Drinks Coalition initiative.

      Raising the drinking age in the 21st century to 21 is extreme and won’t work.  Young people already get around the prices of drinks in pubs and clubs by PRE-FUELING several hours before the big nights out.  So they’ll work around those. And pubs and clubs will never have their hearts in monitoring anyone’s drinking. That is what they do; sell alcohol.

      Evidence exists here and elsewhere/overseas to show that decreasing availability/ trading hours reduces the violence. All else is bandaid stuff.

    • Helt says:

      07:41am | 11/10/12

      Its simple Dont let being drunk be a mitigating circunstance in crime. So many times I hear someone gets hurt of injured and the excuse is “I was just just having a laugh I didnt mean for anyone to get hurt” and its accepted for being larrikinism or whatever excuse they give. It seems in Australia you can do anything while drunk and get away with it except for drive. If you do it sober you are an anti social wanker who should be locked up but if you do the same thing after a drink it was just a funny prank gone wrong. Even the police have this attitude unless you are from a different country then they taser you to death. Its sad that most adult Australian men would struggle with facts like who was the first PM of Australia but know who has the record for overseas beer drinking the brand of beer and how many were drunk right on the tip of the toungue.

      Its a great shame to Australia that is treated like a celebration

    • B says:

      11:04am | 11/10/12

      Last I checked alcohol is not considered a mitigating factor due to causation etc.

    • LC says:

      05:48pm | 11/10/12

      B, “intoxication” is a defense against assault and like offenses, and a mitigating factor for murder and manslaughter. I agree with Helt 100%, scrap it, if not make it an aggravating factor. If you don’t think you’ll be peaceful while you’re drunk, don’t get drunk. That simple.

    • Alexander says:

      07:47am | 11/10/12

      I’m an Australian living in Denmark.
      The drinking age is 18 but you can buy alcohol at 16.
      There’s no such thing as lock-out.
      Any night I can find bars and clubs open till 8am.
      A night out that ends before 5am is not worth having.
      Happy hour strictly means two drinks for the price of one.
      They’ve never heard of binge drinking.
      A shot and a beer is a standard round.
      Danish girls can sink pints in half the time I can and look twice as good doing it.
      I’ve drank more in this country than anywhere else in the world.
      They drink like ... well vikings.
      And they’re the healthiest people in the world.

      Here’s the really interesting part. Not once have I left a bar and come even close to having anything but a friendly word with drunk Danish blokes. I’ve lived here over 6 months and never seen a fight.

      Draw your own conclusions as to why we’re all belligerent, immature, violent children but don’t blame it on alcohol, age or finance because the rest of the world is coping perfectly well.

      And someone figure it out soon ... because frankly it’s embarrassing seeing this “news” in every media outlet in Australia.

    • AFR says:

      08:11am | 11/10/12

      Methinks you are wearing beer goggles.

      My experiences in Europe are no different to here, ior Asia or anywhere else…. young people in general get shitfaced and some get into fights and/or hospitalize themselves.

      “Never heard of binge drinking”? Yeah, right.

    • NigelC says:

      08:13am | 11/10/12

      You’re absolutely right. Alcohol doesn’t turn a normal man into a violent sexual predator but if a person is already a thug, albeit hiding under the vereer or respectability, then alcohol will lower their guard and reveal them for the type of person they really are. The attitude is the problem, alcohol is just a convenient scapegoat.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      07:56am | 11/10/12

      While SKYPING with an American friend in a big US city yesterday I asked if she was aware of the term or concept of “glassing”. Never heard of it. Doesn’t happen apparently. Says so much about our national culture which does make the issue a federal one.

    • Sea Dog says:

      10:54am | 11/10/12

      I lived in Houston for a while, they call it a nigga knife

    • Testfest says:

      11:16am | 11/10/12

      I bet it happens over there too. All that proves is that the US media devotes airtime to more serious crimes - like shootings.

      I think it actually speaks well of Australia (bear with me here) that someone getting broken glass in the face will receive extensive media coverage. In the US, if there aren’t multiple fatalities then it just isn’t newsworthy…

    • Rossco says:

      08:19am | 11/10/12

      How about NO to this nanny state garbage?

      What I’m sick of in this country is a minority of troublemakers spoiling it for everyone else and then the government goes ahead and punishes the majority!

      How about giving tougher sentences and fines to those that break the law? Have a system where troublemakers can be banned from all city venues? Punish the individual, not the majority.

      No Daniel, but you want to go ahead and punish everyone. That includes the large majority of law abiding bar and club dwellers out to have a good time and that go home having broken no laws and hurt anyone.

      So sick of this and the continued “colly waddler” stance on alcohol consumption from the news media.

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      08:55am | 11/10/12

      ++How about giving tougher sentences and fines to those that break the law? ++

      Yeah because before he smashes somebody in the face a young drunk will weigh up the likely penalty should he front court.

      The state is the one who get’s to pick up the pieces after the incident, maybe they are entitled to have a go in how to stop it before it starts.

    • Pedro says:

      09:38am | 11/10/12

      WTF is colly waddler. Is it anything like molly coddle?
      Perhaps alcohol consumption has affected your language skills. Or perhaps you were too hungover to listen in class. Or perhaps you had foetal alcohol syndrome and were a slow learner.
      I for one would welcome the lax alcohol laws tightened. What’s wrong with having a drink at home if you and yuor mates need to drink after midnight? Really what is wrong with that?
      You people who like anarchy can go and live in Sierra Leone. I hear it’s like the wild west there.

    • Big Jay says:

      09:58am | 11/10/12

      @ Austin 3:16 - I get what you’re saying that it probably won’t PREVENT this sort of thing, but I’d also rather they punish the offenders than the rest of us by way of more restrictions etc. It also helps that these people can be removed from society (either real jail, or some other weekend detention or other arrangement).

      There are a lot of people are repeat offenders in this area, and don’t really get punished cause jail is too much, and they have no assets to be stripped of.

      I also appreciate that the State picks up the tab, so ought to have the right to prevent this sort of thing however, there is a line in there how far they can reach in to people’s lives. That is, the state picks up the tab (for the most part) for a laundry list of footy injuries I’ve done (4-5 sets of stitches, numerous GP consults, arthroscope surgery, surgery/cast for a broken leg). Are you suggesting they might want to look at contact sports restrictions after they’re done with alcohol and cigarettes?

    • Rossco says:

      10:11am | 11/10/12

      In terms of drunken violence there needs to be a zero tolerance approach, including heavy fines and sentences and penalties to those that commit the crimes. But also other programs such as community education and rehabilitation. I would rather have a government that is tough on the individuals that commit the crimes, rather than punishing everyone.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      10:11am | 11/10/12

      How would an across the board 3 a.m. closing of all licensed premises be punishing everyone? 

      I am sick to death of so many decrying “nanny state” or (have I got this right), now, “colly waddler”.  So many just don’t get it.  Nannies and perhaps “colly waddlers” are for children. But when the children grow up and act like mature responsible people, guess what…......  No more need for nannies and their looking for a position elsewhere.
      Anybody who hasn’t had enough booze by 3 a.m. on any given night might have a serious problem, especially if accompanied by illegal drugs to keep them awake and “up”. Which is what I understand happens very often in a place like Kings Cross.
      Like Tracey Ullman, the comedian, used to do at the end of each show, dressed in a chenille bathrobe, by herself on stage waving her arms saying:

      GO HOME. GO HOME.

    • Rossco says:

      10:56am | 11/10/12

      “You people who like anarchy can go and live in Sierra Leone. I hear it’s like the wild west there.”

      And you “colly waddlers” (lol) who want tough alcohol laws can move to Saudia Arabia and sign up for citizenship. Sounds like you’d fit in with the locals, trying to restrict everyone else’s freedoms.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      11:34am | 11/10/12

      Look @Rosco the other REALLY ANNOYING retort is the one chestnut restrictions infringing on your “freedoms”. If an individual’s freedoms impact on others then guess what, it’s not any longer all about you.
      Reminds me of a new resident in our building who recently invited a cast of thousands to a party in her unit,  played loud music and disturbed everyone around her until the wee hours. When reprimanded her response was “What?! Am I not supposed to have fun?”.  In a word ‘NO’;  not if it impacts on everyone else who is just expected to put up with it and makes their life a misery.

      In the case of the huge cascade of problems stemming from 24/7 booze flowing by way of injury, unsociable behaviour, detritus (human and otherwise), clean up, extra costs for policing, ambos, clogging up emergency rooms, disturbing everyone’s sleep around you till all hours of the night and mornings…...are you starting to see the concentric circles of intrusion by way of costs, offense, disturbance etc to other people???????

    • Rossco says:

      11:56am | 11/10/12

      “How would an across the board 3 a.m. closing of all licensed premises be punishing everyone?”

      Because it is a free country, and why can’t I stay up as late as I want to, party as hard as I want, go anywhere I want to, still with the mind of responsibility and without breaking any laws? Why do I then to have some nanny state restriction placed on me by the government and my freedoms telling me I can do this anymore if im not hurting anyone? Like the big old government always knows best for me. Also, what about shift workers? Many in the city work late hours and get off to have a drink with mates at times past 3 AM or later.


      “I am sick to death of so many decrying “nanny state””

      And i’m sick to death of the constant decrying of tougher alcohol laws, moving the age up to 21, banning shots after certain times, restricting hours, taxes on alcohol content, etc etc.

      Damned colly waddlers :p

    • Rossco says:

      12:56pm | 11/10/12

      @Tell It Like It Is

      Who said it is always impacting on others? Not everyone who stays up late for a night out involving a drink is not necessarily disturbing anyone else or impacting on their freedoms…


      “Huge cascade of problems?” in what quantifiable measurement? What science or statistics do you have to back this up from the total number of people who stay up late drinking? Anything other than the biased views of media articles that is…what percentage of people are breaking the law? and what percentage aren’t, and why do we have to punishthem ? Im sorry mate but it all reeks of wowser nanny state bs.

    • SimonM says:

      08:22am | 11/10/12

      A billboard just outside Richmond station in Melbourne sums this issue up perfectly:

      “Alcohol Does Not Cause Violence. Blame and Punish the Individual.”

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      11:36am | 11/10/12

      Clearly sponsored by the way too powerful AHA. No surprises there!
      How many individuals do you know who get more sensible or socially responsible or nowadays less violent with more and more alcohol?!

    • LC says:

      04:07pm | 11/10/12

      There has always been violence, and there always is going to be. Difference was back then the courts didn’t go so softly on those responsible.

      Scrap the intoxication defense.
      Introduces mandatory minimum sentences for all violent and sexual crimes.
      Start punishing drink drivers under hoon legislation.
      If the number of jail beds is an issue, build more jails, and in the process you’ll open up a few more jobs (which we sure as hell need now the mining boom has come to a close).

      The billboard is 100% correct. Punish those who are creating the issues, and not everyone who merely enjoys going to town and knock back a few drinks and is not guilty of any crime. That’s the way of the Western World, is it not?

    • Left Wing Machine says:

      08:32am | 11/10/12

      The solution is to make alcohol illegal, make fatty foods illegal, make violence illegal, make drugs of all kinds illegal and make fun of all kinds illegal. AND also raise taxes to 95%. Punishment for breaking these laws should be public disembowelment and brain extraction (by medical professionals of course). Then we will have a perfect society.  Ahh Nanny state bliss

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      08:32am | 11/10/12

      Hi Daniel,

      It has more to do with all other kind of lifestyle choices we all seem to enjoy with all the other freedoms we all tend to take for granted living in Australia.  Yes it is very true to a certain extent that Europeans have a much more civilized and mature attitude when it comes alcohol consumption in general.  Having been to Germany and Holland on several occasions, I can say that I have not witnessed any kind of aggressive or violent behavior during such events as carnivals, October Fests and open air concerts for the youth where drinking alcohol is all part of having fun.  But on the other hand I have seen many young people passing out and even ending up with alcohol poisoning of the blood which can be deadly.

      However as Australians when we talk about alcohol fueled violence, we have to realize that it has more to do with our laid back attitude and anything goes policy which can say a lot about our social skills in general. As well as admitting the fact that underage drinking is a major problem in our society!  Which can be enjoyed with our sun, surf and beach culture very easily.  There is really no comparison to some European nations who actually enjoy the sun only a couple of months a year and they seem to be very work oriented and very disciplined people, to say the least.  For older and wiser people a few drinks enjoyed with meals, it doesn’t really present a problem. However, we have to concentrate more on the reasons why the very young Australians are taking up the this habit in a very big way. 

      Is it culturally accepted, is it peer pressure or the plain and simple reason of confusing the idea of having fun with consuming excessive amounts of alcohol in one particular evening out, sometimes without the luxury of having proper meals at all. We have to get the message out there that consuming alcohol can be enjoyable only by making sensible and informative choices to begin with.  And consuming large amounts of alcohol can be harmful to our physical and mental well being in the long run, even if we try to paint a very different and more colorful picture.  We have done wonders with heavy advertisements about the dangers of smoking, however when it comes to the dangers of under age drinking we still have a long way to go.  Kind regards to your editors.

    • John says:

      09:40am | 11/10/12

      Two words: Alan Jones

      Two more words: Tony Abbott.

    • Laid back in Hervey says:

      10:21am | 11/10/12

      would it be an opportune moment to discuss the ramifications of this aggressive and anti-social behaviour?It is surely time that the actual costings of all emergency. police and emergency treatments as well as the ongoing health costs were costed against the aggressor including the selling off of their assets and garnisheering of wages and awarded payments until the full debt was repaid, Perhaps a leaf out of the Singapore govt punishmentts with a dose of the cane for agressive altercations would alsao be a darned good determent too.

    • Phillb says:

      10:24am | 11/10/12

      I made this suggestion in a thread a day or 2 ago and I’m lazy so will just cut & paste.

      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.

      The most inconvenience any normal person will have is showing their ID at the door once of a pub/club or counter at a bottlo.  Those with problems will not be able to buy drinks, enter liceneced premises or possible even not be within X area of a licenced premises or exceed X blood alcohol reading.

    • LC says:

      10:54am | 11/10/12

      We already have laws to counter the drunken violence. The issue is the courts rarely enforce them, anyone following scenting in their country knows full well how soft they are.

      What’s needed is implementing mandatory minimum sentences for all violent and sexual crime. The courts cannot meet community expectations in regards to sentencing, so the government must make them.

    • NathanA says:

      10:48am | 11/10/12

      Rather than place limits on alcohol, why not just start teaching kids to enjoy and respect good stuff. Change the culture of drinking to be less about how drunk you can get on whatever is cheapest, to slowly appreciating the taste and other qualities of various quality wines, beers and spirits.

    • Geko says:

      11:20am | 11/10/12

      Hey Phillb you wrote
      ”  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.”

      Stalin would be so proud!

    • marley says:

      11:54am | 11/10/12

      @Geko - do you know that in the NT, the bottle shops check your driver’s licence against a list of people prohibited from purchasing takeaway liquor?  It sounds pretty much like what PhilB is suggesting, at least in principle.

    • Tell It Like It Is says:

      12:04pm | 11/10/12

      And your VALID point is…........?????????????

 

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