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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 582..


Individual factors show that perpetrators and victims are overwhelmingly male. Studies on behaviour reveal that people suffering from personality and behaviour disorders are more likely to be aggressive when intoxicated. According to Dr Caldicott, emergency medicine consultant at the Calvary hospital, personality is a key element that separates aggressive drunks from others. He says:

I think the reality is that the sort of people who are going out and hitting other people when drunk are the sort of people who could go out and hit other people when sober.

Intoxication is often the objective for many people during a night out. Dr Pilgrim argues that policies aiming to prevent the intention to get drunk may realistically not be as effective as strategies to manage the drinking environment. The World Health Organisation also notes that drinking venues that are poorly managed are associated with higher levels of violence. Here in the ACT we have made good steps to tackle the problem. The liquor reforms in 2010 changed liquor licence fees to reflect a venue's risk to community safety. The ACT criminal justice statistical profile of September 2013 shows a downward trend in the number of assaults since 2010.

But these drunk young men crippling or killing other young men on our streets are the tip of the iceberg of alcohol violence. The 2012 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Australia's health 2012, estimates that 70,000 Australians a year were victims of alcohol violence and that 24,000 people were victims of alcohol-related domestic violence. The report goes on to look at child abuse related to alcohol and states that almost 20,000 children were victims of alcohol-related child abuse in 2006-07. In homes and communities across our nation, alcohol violence is harming many women and children every day.

The report also tells us that 20 per cent of Australians drink harmful levels of alcohol and estimates that two per cent of the national disease burden is alcohol related. The cost of social problems caused by alcohol is estimated at $15.3 billion. The National Health and Medical Research Council has stated that alcohol is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of drug-related death and hospitalisation in Australia.

What needs to be done? Let us start with the current inconsistent tax on alcohol which makes cheap alcohol available. This needs to be reformed by the federal government by bringing in volumetric alcohol pricing. Furthermore, the promotion, advertising and marketing of alcohol, particularly through sport and entertainment and especially targeting young people, requires greater control. These are the kind of measures which have been so effective in managing tobacco and they now need to be applied to alcohol.

Anthony Wedgwood Benn—death

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (6.36): I rise tonight to celebrate the life of the great socialist and British Labour politician Tony Benn, who passed away on Friday aged 88. Tony Benn was a member of parliament between 1950 and 2001, a 47-year parliamentary career that was only interrupted when his father died, forcing him to take up a peerage in the House of Lords.


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