The public in NSW have been urged by both the state premier and police commissioner to change their ways and culture of binge drinking after hundreds of arrests linked to alcohol fuelled violence during Operation Unite recently.
The national blitz on alcohol fuelled crime and misconduct, labelled Operation Unite yielded 540 arrests in NSW alone and hundreds more in Queensland, Vic and other parts of the country.
Following the wild weekend which saw hundreds arrested and injured, a 23 year old man remains in a critical condition in hospital after his head was stomped during an attack at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Saturday.
Although this year there were less arrests than last year in NSW, police say the number of out of hand drinkers is still too high and obviously the messages about sensible drinking aren’t getting through to people. Police also say more officers on the street will not solve the problem either, a change in drinking culture is needed.
An article on Abc.net.au explains more about the weekend filled with violence and arrests,
The Premier Barry O’Farrell says the whole community needs to change its attitude towards booze.
“The community needs to send a very clear message that it is unacceptable to drink yourself silly,” he said.
“Whether in backyards or on beach, whether at barbecues or in other parties, we need individuals, family and friends to get a message to try to change a culture.”
The problem is cultural because there are societies where alcohol is cheap and easily obtainable but people rarely get violent as a result of drinking a lot, for example Vietnam. Unfortunately unchecked aggression and random violence have deep roots in Australia.
According to the co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol, Professor Mike Daube the New South Wales government needs to do more to tackle the issue of problem drinking.
He accused the state governments of listening to the arguments of pubs, bottle shops and licensees who convince them (the government) to do nothing to address the problem of alcohol fuelled harm.
One expert from the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak said that alcohol is just too cheap and easily available. There are also too many outlets with trading hours that are too long and conditions that are too liberal. He went on to explain:
“We do know what to do about it,” he said.
“The problem is that the politicians, whoever forms government, aren’t prepared to do the things that we know work, and we presume the drinks industry stops them doing it.
“It comes down to price and availability. Alcohol is too cheap and it’s too available. There are too many outlets, the hours are too long, the conditions are too liberal.
“Almost every family in Australia is touched by at least one member with a severe alcohol problem.
“Why won’t the politicians do something to protect the community?”