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Issue #1719      February 17, 2016

Taking issue – Antonella

Alcohol to follow tobacco: Blanket ban on advertising

David Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat NSW Senator says that Sydney’s alcohol venues lock-out laws was a “reactionary response” to the one punch and other late night violence fuelled by alcohol and that the new law “kills businesses” and the nightlife in Sydney.

The lock-out laws were made after two deaths as a direct result of intoxication; the victims were killed by a king hit punch and as a result the lock-out laws include:

  • 3am end to bar sales in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross;
  • 1:30am lockouts (small bars/restaurants exempt);
  • 10pm closing of packaged liquor outlets; risk-based licensing scheme; freeze on granting new licenses;
  • Eight-year mandatory sentencing for alcohol-related king-hit deaths;
  • Increased on-the-spot fines for anti-social behaviour (for example, from $150 to $500 for offensive language and from $200 to $500 for offensive behaviour);
  • Increase from two years to 25 years’ maximum sentence for the illegal supply and possession of steroids.

Some anti-lock-out law protestors stated that it is killing the Australian culture. This statement is exactly the problem.

Alcohol related violence in Australia is an ideological issue, objectively shaping our attitude and prejudice that structure our daily lives regardless of whether we are aware of it.

When we consider the lock-out laws we must see the final result which has been proven to be less fights and violence in general in the CBD, such as Kings Cross and that this law has also cut unnecessary costs on the provision of services through ambulances, hospitals and hospital staff. The nurses around the area said “there’s a major improvement in the amount of people getting injured on weekends compared to a couple of years ago.”

Also, this law leads to less police on the streets as a result of the falling crime rate.

A community-based survey showed there was a significant decline from 67% to 58% and some community members stated “We simply feel safer without the excess use of alcohol on the streets”

The promotion and advertising of alcohol is pervasive such as cricket players in the Australian team branded on the chest with a beer label. How can we expect to cut social and economic harm caused by the abuse of alcohol as a part of the Australian culture. The big alcohol corporations and the hotel lobby feed off Australian youth as they promote their product any-and every-where.

The University of Wollongong revealed that on three recent one day internationals, two T20 and one Ashes Test match had a total of 5,481 ads promoting alcohol; this amounted to 10 hours and 4 minutes of ads promoting alcohol.

The Uni of Wollongong stated what many already thought: That the youth who were exposed to that amount of advertising were more likely to develop unhealthy drinking patterns and that this should be corrected by having more restrictions on the advertising of alcohol in sport.

In fact, alcohol is heading down the path of tobacco; a blanket ban of advertising.

Nevertheless, the result of the government’s decision on the lock-out laws was a positive outcome.

The Communist Party’s position is to support actions such as the lock-out laws that prioritise public health and safety: Safe streets for everyone without having the fear of an assault as a result of abuse of alcohol, and for a continued cut to the excessive ads pushing alcohol.

As was the case of the pernicious tobacco advertising, the target subjects for abuse and addiction are the young – and as far as they are concerned, the younger the better.

Next article – Taunts and threats in online racist incidents

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