If the party stops as soon as the grog is turned off, it wasn’t much of a party

8 thoughts on “If the party stops as soon as the grog is turned off, it wasn’t much of a party”

  1. Matt McDonald says:

    Didn’t see any such stupidity at White Night in Melbourne last night… not even at 2am, when most licensed venues were closing for commercial reasons, and there were still at least 200,000 people on the streets of the CBD.

    But I always thought that Sydney crowds were more likely to “herd think” and act up in places like the Cross, the Rocks etc… maybe the weather has something to do with that ? Plus bigger average sized venues selling cheap lager and overlooking obvious preloading ?

  2. Dr David Moss says:

    Huon has hit the nail on the head here. I like a drink as much as the next person but Australia has a drinking problem and CBD early morning intoxication levels lead to violent and dangerous environments. The evidence is overwhelming, as is the evidence that the minor restrictions such as the current lock-out laws are very successful. And not just in Sydney. They work even better in regional town CBDs. I live in Byron Bay and we had a HUGE problem with violence and rape in the early hours, which has improved greatly with the same lock-out laws. Except in Byron, revellers have adjusted and bow see the safety of being in town late but not as pissed. Also the businesses are supportive.

    The “greater good” and rights of the larger community generally out-weight the rights of the few in this situation, who think it’s OK to facilitate getting more intoxicated and hitting the streets at 4 or 5 am.

    Remember these lock out laws mean drinks are not available in bars after 3am. That’s all. It’s not prohibition as the alarmists misleadingly allude to. For christ sake go home to bed or stay in town and have a coffee.

    I should add that I am a doctor with Emergency Department work across many city and regional hospitals, including St Vincents. If you saw what I saw on some nights you wouldn’t hesitate to endorse the lock-out laws or even extend them.

  3. Niall Connaughton says:

    Australia has some odd nanny state, puritan attitudes towards alcohol. In Europe it’s much more accessible to have a glass of wine or beer with food for lunch or dinner. You can sit in public parks and enjoy a bottle of wine or some pimms without worrying that you’ll get harassed by the fuzz. And before the Eurostar pulls out, you’ll hear people opening champagne they’ve bought at the supermarket (yes, the supermarket, shock horror, not the shop that’s 2 metres outside the door of the supermarket). But I never saw someone plastered over their lunch, never saw a drunken fight on a sunny day in the park, and certainly no messy scenes on the trains.

    Somehow Australia has the idea that alcohol’s main purpose is to get smashed on. Licensing laws, public drinking bans and lockout laws all reinforce the concept that the only reason you’d start drinking is because you’re intending to drink till you can’t drink any more. We can’t be trusted to drink responsibly, so the government will make sure we’re not given the opportunity to drink irresponsibly. Except there’s always opportunity.

    I don’t enjoy drunken mess or violence, but Australia doesn’t deal with its alcohol problem at the source (the mentality of those causing the problems). Instead the way we do it is very much an edict handed down to the flock on Sunday morning that alcohol is a tool of violence and misbehaviour.

  4. Tim, Dale and Nick Knappstein says:

    Well written Huon. The success of restricted times for late night (no early morning) purchase of alcohol is proven. It is indeed sad that the situation is such that we need to do something to control binge drinking and bad behaviour. We totally agree if you need to buy alcohol after 3 am you are probably drinking it for the wrong reasons.

    Making fine wine is our life’s work. Knowing people sensibly enjoying wine with good company and food is our reward. We despair when we see a culture of binge drinking and the disasterous results from it and that the wine industry and others are blamed.

    How we educate the public to respect alcohol and themselves is the challenge. No one forces wine or drugs into our bodies. We all have free will and we are all responsible for our own actions.

    Society is struggling to find a solution to stop the binge drinking and bad behaviour culture and create one of respect – for our bodies, mind, family and community.

    Those who think banning alcohol completely is the answer are wrong – you only have to look at what happened during prohibition to see what that will do. Education and a culture of respect is the answer – but If we knew how to achieve it we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  5. Harshal Shah (@HarshalShah) says:

    Do you think it would make a difference to attitudes if law-makers distinguished between wine, beer and spirits in their rule-making around sale and availability of alcohol? Perhaps service, availability and consumption of certain type of alcohol is fueling the reported bad behaviours and violence?

    1. Huon Hooke
      Huon Hooke says:

      I doubt it, Harshal. People will abuse whatever type of alcohol they have access to, if that’s their intention. However, to generalise, wine is the drink of moderation, the most civilised alcoholic drink. It’s generally drunk with food and in moderation. Lower-alcohol drinks I believe are less prone to abuse than hard spirits, simply because you need to ingest a lot more volume to achieve the same result. That has two positive effects: it slows absorption of alcohol, and more drinkers will reach satiation before they get inebriated.

  6. mountainstirrer says:

    Huon, it’s not just about the Cross, it’s the attitude of the authorities to any facility that sells alcohol. Why should I, a nearly 60 year old person, not be allowed to buy a bottle of wine to take home or elsewhere after 10pm. Why do the police have a go at a wine bar/restaurant because their wine by the glass blackboard menu is visible fro the street, Treat us with some respect! No one wants to see people get hurt but a one rule fits all approach to alcohol and violence is not the way to do it.

  7. Mick says:

    As a small buisness in the outskirts of the “entertainment district” with 1 pub within 500m of us and 600 residential appartments around us, why should we loose our late night trade due to young people not going out late in the cbd for dinner before heading out. Only had to watch “the project” on Monday night in regards to soccer violence and the “fun adrenaline rush you get before you smash someone ” that it is not only alcohol being an issue with violence. Education has always been a better answer. If you take a look at smoking – has the increase in hospitalisation slowed down the national smoking rate or the education of people regarding the dangers of smoking..
    Whats been done in sydney cbd is done but lets not spread to the entire state without proper debate and unbiased analysis

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