Binge Drinking

There’s an awful lot of hand-wringing these days over the binge drinking epidemic. Well, here’s a really obvious thought. Maybe all those teenagers and 20-somethings are only living up to the example we’ve set them on all kinds of fronts.

Don't blame me, blame the lousy example set by the baby boomers. Pic: David Caird

Think about it. Society today is full of bingers. We’re all bingers. We consume anything and everything in ever-increasing proportions, usually to the point of excess and often to the point of vulgarity.

Forget the obvious cases of food and booze for a minute. Take entertainment. Remember the days when you’d passively sit back and wait for your weekly instalment of TV drama? That is sooo 2005.

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  • Lucys husband says:

    06:15pm | 27/10/11

    Teenagers boozing? They’ve got nothing compaired to thepunch staff at their most recent booze junket. Read more »

  • Stone age liberal says:

    01:38pm | 27/10/11

    As an ex-North American (Canadian, not American), I have to say I miss Halloween, it is a lot of fun for the young ones and to be honest not a lot of effort. Halloween is actually a derivitive of All Hallows Eve which has a mass (although originally derived from… Read more »


I would like to propose a toast.

Another victim of alcohol-fuelled violence. Pic: Glenn Daniel

Here’s to the jerks that stabbed a Sydney bouncer in the neck and the partygoers who bashed four police who were just trying to do their jobs.

Here’s to the arsehole back in 2005 that chipped my tooth and broke my hand while I was out trying to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

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  • Janeen Fleming says:

    08:17pm | 30/06/11

    Alcohol fueled violence is not acceptable. It should be punishable and I think the corporal Punishment wouldn,t steem this Behaviour But in some cases extreme reprimand and jail terms for the vary violent crimes is suitable. Laws aren,t going to stop people or curfews from alcohol fueled violence. People will… Read more »

  • Michael says:

    02:30pm | 03/02/11

    So because YOU hate alcohol, it should be illegal. But because YOU love pot, it should be legal. Get a job and contribute before you sprout your TCH laced opinion. Read more »


During the last six months I’ve had to stop drinking. Pregnancy and alcohol are a “no-no,” and I haven’t felt like it anyway.

Prohibition: OK, maybe that's a step too far. Pic: File

Enforced “dryness” has been interesting. It’s made me think twice about who I want to socialise with and also made me reflect on the drinking habits I’ve established over the last few years.

When you’re not drinking and hanging out with people who are, and “getting on it,” the scene quickly becomes intensely boring.

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  • David says:

    05:48am | 04/06/10

    I’m off the drink for a year at age 35. I drank 1 or 2 drinks every day before this, which horrified my doctor, but I didn’t think it was a problem. I guess in theory it isn’t, I mean, many cultures healthier than ours drink every day. But I… Read more »

  • Shane says:

    06:19pm | 28/03/10

    Yeah I agree, I am so over journalists showering us with their “knowledge of parenting” when they’ve got a 6 month old baby.  I find it offensive to say the least. When you’ve got more kids than me, had more problems than me with those kids, (illness, stealing, failing at… Read more »


It was around 11 in the morning and Aunty Mavis came to the door. It had been raining: her wig was askew and her badly drawn on eyebrows were running down into her eyes. As usual, she had a bottle of Stone’s Green Ginger wine in a string bag.

It was just before lunchtime and my sisters and I were sitting around the Formica table in my grandparents’ kitchen shelling peas onto newspaper, preparing for a baked dinner. She came in and was drinking with Nanna who was peeling potatoes in the sink. Grandad was out the back, drunk, listening to the races.

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  • Front says:

    04:49pm | 18/03/10

    Dear Valentin - Those of us who are addicted to life, or sobriety,  are thus all in denial.  Life is addictive, pleasurable, we take it every day and it is eventually unsustainable. Can you understand where I’m coming from? Front Read more »

  • Ben says:

    05:38pm | 26/02/10

    The problem with using the description of Alcoholism as an illness that the “sufferers” have no control over always tends to be an effort to deflect responsibility.  At some stage, there was a choice involved to jump on the wagon and so I don’t think it is comparable to other… Read more »


Remember the Alanis Morissette song Ironic?

Image from an Australian federal government anti binge-drinking campaign.

It was pretty popular around the time I was introduced to alcohol and it also rang in my ears as I read that researchers at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK are advising an “alcohol allowance” to help prevent today’s teens from “falling into …the binge drinking trap”.

That’s right. They believe it’s inherently safer for teenagers to be given alcohol rations from their parents than be left to their own devices, hooking up with friends and buying from pubs or off-licences with a fake ID.

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  • Joan Taylor says:

    06:40pm | 16/04/12

    This is a very good article Read more »

  • Zulkefly says:

    02:48pm | 06/01/12

    Would like to think that if teenagers are given the 411 on what alcohol drinking entails, they would be gradually- and by gradually I mean, very slowly - learn the ropes of it.  I mean, come on, we will get to drink even for one time in our lives, might… Read more »


Those of us who enjoy the occasional night on the razz often have a special outfit that we like to wear when hitting the town. Some years ago I worked in a newsroom which had a communal purple silk tie which was shared around like the yellow jacket in the Tour de France. When worn it became code for: I am leaving the office, and may be some time.

Fevola in full flight at last year's Mad Monday

Carlton’s Brendan Fevola is in a league of his own when it comes to his fashion regimen. This elite A-grade sorting superstar seems reluctant to leave the house unless he’s frocked up, literally, in a pink petticoat, felt bowler hat with flowers in it, and a foot-long sex toy which he either hangs out the front of his pants or waves above his head.

He did it at the end of last year’s season, snapped by a casual punter who recognised him as he stood looking like something out of A Clockwork Orange on a Melbourne CBD street corner in broad daylight.

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  • Bob says:

    01:20pm | 21/09/09

    We now have photographic proof that Fevola is both a wanker and a dickhead. If he really had a foot why doesnt he use it as a rule Read more »

  • Don says:

    03:58pm | 14/09/09

    Most sporting teams at end of season events, each dress another member of the team. Its called Dress a Mate - quite a common thing now a days. So that’s why they’re usually in crazy outfits and women’s clothing - lets be honest wouldn’t you do the same to your… Read more »


Australia’s binge drinking culture sure is a divisive issue. But to put it simply we have two options. Stand by and do nothing and risk the $16bn alcohol toll escalating further out of control, or do something to break the cycle and make us a safer country.

Are shock ads such as this one enough?

Last week, when I asked the readers of The Punch for a solution, there were some comments which suggested that I wanted to turn Australia into a nanny state.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. And just so we’re crystal clear I don’t want to or ever plan to introduce prohibition.

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  • Paul says:

    03:15am | 08/02/12

    Yes – I can’t rebemmer who, but someone recently wrote a great piece about the actual experience of being in poverty – it’s extremely boring and often very stressful, and most alcohol drinkers find a snifter of something strong helps relieve or at least dilute the intensity of both of… Read more »

  • sean says:

    09:33am | 02/11/09

    teenagers drink. some drink alot, some dont drink at all. there is no amount of compaigning any government can do about it to stop it. there is an undeniable link between alcohol and violence, but the fault does not lie with alcohol. it instead lies with the person who is… Read more »


BEN Cousins still drinks. I discovered this in Fred Pawle’s excellent piece on the AFL’s favourite recreational drug user in this month’s GQ magazine. I also learned that the Louis Vuitton drawstring (tracksuit) pants he wore in the photo shoot cost $1460, but I won’t get into that except to say footballers have changed.

It would not be such a revelation that Cousins still enjoys the odd beer had he not spent the slabs of his career heading out for a quiet drink after the game, only to emerge four days later on the front of The West Australian in the same jeans, white thongs and Elwood t-shirt. In his final season at West Coast, he was spending more time with bikies than at training.

We’ve been led to believe Cousins’ transformation from druggie to role model is complete, but Pawle’s article proves he has a long way to go. When asked if he still has a drink, Cousins’ reply was sheepish. “Yeah…I have to be careful with that sort of stuff,” he said.

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  • Drum says:

    08:33am | 16/11/12

    AFL is a losers game. It will never be national because unlike Melbourne, the rest of the country doesnt find the AFL appealing. Too many dramas in the AFL. They are attention seeking brats with too much money and bored as hell. I call for a Royal Commission into the… Read more »

  • Wita says:

    05:33am | 08/08/12

    Some lovely diuoevs clueing. A thoroughly enjoyable crossword.Peter, I think you’ll find Bonds and many other manufacturers make 18A and that they are advertised in catalogues from Target and other stores. Read more »


Newsflash: smoking is bad for you.  So, apparently, is drinking to excess.  And, wait for it, regularly gouging on fatty foods is no good either.  It’s shocking, I know.  Better go get a coffee to help get over it all; but do make it one of those low fat, caffeine free types so as to look after yourself.

Yeah yeah, we know.

Maybe, however, you happen to be one of the 99 per cent of people who knew these things to be the facts of life already.  You may still engage in one or some of them, but you do so knowing that there are risks.

This informed consent that you grant yourself is under threat.  A new buzz-phrase is sweeping the bureaucracy and is being visited upon us all.  It’s called “preventative health”.

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  • Andrew Michaels says:

    02:24pm | 03/09/09

    Simon you are such a disappointment. Your lack of any real conviction shows in this essay. Have you forgotten that your own party advocated for a rise in cigarette tax in Turnbull’s budget in reply speech.  Rather than be a follower of where you think popular sentiment is going and… Read more »

  • jason edwards says:

    02:20pm | 03/09/09

    Simon - The issue is not wether the government crosses any lines by delivering important health messages, but the ability of the government to cut that message through to the general public. Why on earth would you ague that the government should not use the tools it has control over… Read more »


Tougher penalties for alcohol-related offences were the most popular response to a call from Family First Senator Steve Fielding for new ideas on tackling binge drinking in Australia.

But that was from those who agreed it was a problem in the first place. Many were also of the view Australia’s relationship with alcohol is just fine, and there was some mirth at Senator’s shock at a staff member who confessed to drinking 12 “jagerbomb” cocktails the night before playing cricket.

“12… 12… IS THAT ALL HOW SOFT ARE YOU!” was the response of one proud binger.

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  • Willy says:

    10:58pm | 13/05/10

    I agree with your statement fully.  The true problem isn’t the drinking per se, but the action of the individual.  Most laws are set in accordanance as such, and “being wasted” does not excuse you for your actions in a court of law, but as you pointed out may actually… Read more »

  • acker says:

    04:44pm | 13/10/09

    I like option “8” 8. Recharge the booze industry for the cost But I also think that a 2am to 10am TOTAL BOOZE SALE BAN should be looked at and 24 hour Casinos such as Crown should also be forced to shut between 2am - 10am If you want to… Read more »


Gary Reinbach died a couple of days ago in the UK of alcoholic liver failure, aged just 22.

Not worth the trouble - the NHS's verdict on Gary Reinbach. Picture: Stuart Clarke/The Times.

His life could have been saved with a liver transplant, but Gary didn’t qualify because he wasn’t well enough to leave hospital to prove he could clean himself up and deserved a second shot at growing up.

Obviously the allocation of donor organs has to comply with a set of criteria, such is the limited supply. But it seems amazing to me a 22-year-old could be told he wasn’t worth being on the list.

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  • Yara Valerio says:

    05:35pm | 20/08/12

    i so agree stephen and or a guide to jhelp lead this child on the rightb path. It is heartbreaking to realize so many things when there is no longer a single thing to do. Read more »

  • Yara Valerio says:

    05:21pm | 20/08/12

    very well said Hayley , we are all the same , same rights. We are only human beings, Taking control or choosing weather he does or not deserve the liver was a decision taken with power another human DO NOT have. How sad and how selfish humans can be. Read more »


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