January 29, 2014
The tabloid-driven moral panic over alcohol fuelled violence on the streets, which is designed to create fear and anxiety amongst the public,usually results in more law and order: minimum mandatory sentencing, greater powers for the police, special licence conditions and lockouts and closures.
What is so noticeable is the silence around Australia's booze culture: it's costs due to its effects of alcohol abuse on individual and public health, traffic accidents, relationships and workplace productivity.
There appears to be a culture of denial at play here and an acceptance of the promotion of this drug (eg., around sport) when other drugs are banned. It's almost as if excessive drinking is an integral part of our national identity and culture. Australian society has normalised and legitimised heavy drinking. It's a ritual of manhood and male solidarity with the focus just on individual 'abuses' rather than the use or uses of alcohol in the society--a boozy culture.
What is often missing is the cultural history of alcohol and excessive drinking being a cultural problem.
There is a general public awareness of the need to curb tobacco use and obesity from a public health perspective but not alcohol use. The alcohol and hotel industry, which has enormous political and business clout, ensures that the lid is kept on alcohol-related harm. You just need to learn how to hold your grog.