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    It's not surprising that AFL, NRL and cricket all have lucrative sponsorship deals with alcohol companies. But new research has quantified the amount of alcohol ads we watch on our screens during the AFL and NRL finals series, and the two codes' grand finals. The study found alcohol advertising. We drink at the Town and Country, where the atmosphere is great. I love to have a beer with Robert, 'cause Robert's me mate. Former prime minister Bob Hawke has thousands of new virtual drinking mates after being captured on video sculling a glass of beer handed to him by a cricket spectator at the. All eyes in the casino industry this week will be on an extraordinary lawsuit alleging poker machines are misleading, deceptive and encourage gambling begins an extraordinary day legal test, against Aristocrat and against James Packer's Crown Resorts, the biggest casino operator in the country.
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And more to adults, some of whom would possibly think either consciously or subconsciously "if it's OK for Bob to knock one back, then it's alright for me". As a public figure and one with an acknowledged weakness for the booze , there's always the chance he's going to be recognised and filmed. So I guess, whther he likes it or not, by taking on the big job, he took all that comes with it, for life. I'm sure he's still happily accepting all the post-political life trimmings, like the free travel So maybe the right thing would have been to accept the beer, and then drink it slowly while conversing with the crowd.

This would show that the beer is not the objective, but an offering or "olive branch", and part of a social ritual of comradeship, so be savoured and enjoyed in the company of new or old friends. Then, having consumed the one drink responsibly, he could bid his new friends farewell and move on with dignity intact and everyone still thinking he's a top bloke. Look at Bill Clinton - he's shown the common sense to play it pretty straight for the crowds, but I reckon he's no angel.

But whatever he's been up to, it's been away from the public eye. But that's all pretty easy for me to say punching away at my keyboard without the baying crowd This article mirrors my thoughts on this episode. Yes, I shared the video, why? I guess it was pretty childish behaviour, but when you're 82 aren't you allowed to be?

Not a good example for children, but it was never meant to be. I'm just going to put it down to being a funny video of an old man acting like a kid. Would've had the same impact for me if he was skateboarding or listening to hip hop. An 82 year old who can scull a schooie in one fell swoop I hope that I can still do that when I'm that age.

Good on you Bob! It depends on the beer. Some beers should be sipped and savoured; others are better gulped down in one go in the hope you won't taste it.

If Hawke is regularly seen rolling drunk in public, your article may have a point. Instead, a mostly revered ex prime minister stops to have a very quick beer with some young fans. When was the last time he did that? Without denying former Prime Minister Hawkes enormous contributions to society, and continuing cultural relevance, I cannot believe that he has such relevancy today that seeing him scull an alcoholic beverage would prompt the youth of today to do the same.

On that note, whatever your age, if your excuse for continued binge drinking is that you once saw an ex-politician do the same, then I think we can all agree that the politician in question is not to blame. We hold individuals responsible for their own actions in our society.

On that note, there is a world of difference between sculling a singular beverage and alcoholism, and I think its time we stopped simplifying the issue and instead, looked at the significant differences between consumption of alcohol and abuse of alcohol and stop treating one as the equivalent of the other. The mere act of consuming alcohol is not problematic. Its the continued, habitual overconsumption of alcohol, especially if it is consumed to deal with psychological or emotion problems, that ought to be addressed.

I felt more comfortable with Bob as PM for the 8 years he ran the county even though he was off the grog than I did when God bothering Kev did. Are these people for real? Jesus Aunty, isn't this a story best left for ACA? I just hope at 82 I can down a pot without having to fill my 'Depends'! Did you know there are 24 hours in a day?

There are 24 cans in a slab? There's billboard in Melbourne sponsored by the alcohol industry that says 'alcohol doesn't cause violence, people do'. That's like saying alcohol doesn't lead to hangovers, socialising does. The alcohol industry is no better than the cigarette industry. Being a drinker, having been out on many a drunken adventure, and having worked in numerous bars in numerous countries I agree with the billboard - alcohol doesn't cause violence. After sculling the beer did Bob go and smash the empty glass over someone's head - NO.

He smiled and enjoyed the company of others. I am sick and tired of people blaming the alcohol or drug for their behaviour.

If it was true then half of the world would be out assualting people on a daily basis. Lets take responsibility back to the person not try to pass the buck. Tobacco has no safe level of use, alcohol does. Also alcohol does not lead to hangovers, unless you drink too much. One glass of wine with dinner does not cause violence, hangovers or anything else. The alcohol industry promotes itself, as does any other industry.

It is up to each individual to be responsible for their own behaviour. I disagree with ron and Fiona. I too have been in many a bar and have seen many a bar fight, often involving people in whose mouth butter wouldn't melt when sober. With a skinful, they become brawlers. Sure, not everyone is affected this way by alcohol, but too many are for alcohol to be let off the hook.

The stats don't lie: None of this has anything with Bob Hawke slamming down one beer, though. I think Louise Maher must be a one on the Enneagram. Not everything needs to be relegated to the confines of, right or wrong, good or bad.

When I saw it I warmed to the idea that when I'm over 80 there is still such quality of life that I too might share the experience of "fun". As far as I'm concerned, old people can do whatever the hell they want, the bulk of the time no one's paying any attention to them anyway. I work in the industry and I hold out a special respect for the ones who party on. It's an inspiration to others.

I already know what I'm going to be doing if I make it that far. His academic achievements were complemented by setting a new world speed record for beer drinking: This whole non-issue of "binge drinking" is a beat up in itself.

It's no different now than what it was when I was young. It just gets more publicity these days from the wowsers. Cheers Bob, I'd have a beer with you any day. It set a terrible example. This morning I visited the local kindergarten where some the little boys were skulling their milks.

Lousie I actually heard the piece when it went to air. Please forget the fairly floss let ACA etc. You've saved me the effort.

I always thought Hawke was a mug lair in the old vernacular but the episode Louise describes won't change anyone's opinion of him. As far as I'm aware he never held himself up as a role model nor did anyone do it on his behalf. Louise risks falling prey to creeping wowserism.

That shoulld be against anyone's politics. I had a pint with Bob Hawke when he was PM, he drank a cup of coffee, slowly. I shook his hand warmly. Sorry for that comment saying they would not do that. Read what he did for us during a very bad time. He was a great PM! Hawke was one of the great reforming PMs precisely because he could communicate with people and bring them along what the current mob is sadly lacking.

He gets people and they get him. While Hawke was mingling with the swarmy army and Aussie fans in the outer, Julia and Winston were sitting in the members clapping like people who find clapping to be a coordination challenge. All power to Bob. Hope he's still doing this when he's Anyone who wants to appear regularly in the media has a responsibility to alter their behaviour to set a good example. If this was the first we'd ever heard of him since he left office, then his behaviour should be overlooked.

But if he still wants to court the media, he has to avoid this kind of behaviour. Australia is obsessed with alcohol. I use the word obsessed on purpose. It never occurs to most people that the two, in reality, have nothing to do with each other.

Anyone who thinks otherwise has never given it up for a month. Alcohol is a rite of passage, a panacea for ills, a social lubricant and a chance to get smashed. It permeates our lives and our relationships. We all know where our nearest local is, but not necessarily our nearest post office. We know what someone's favourite drink is, but not their favourite food. We all know it's bad, but we believe it's just a bit of harmless fun. The truth is if we convince everyone else to give up alcohol for 1 month, Australia would become a better place.

In just one month. But it'll never happen. Louise, thanks for the thoughtful article. Pity some of the comments it attracted aren't quite so thoughtful. Binge drinking is a huge problem for our society and unfortuately it is either implictly encouraged by most of our media and pollies like Bob who likes to be considered a 'man of the people' but in truth never was or explicitly as in the gushing words spoken about the recent Summernats in Canberra where drinking and most of the other worst aspects of Australian society were celebrated and encouraged.

A man sculls a beer at the cricket. Call the commissioner Robin - to the Batmobile! Frankly we need more politicians willing to have a beer with the people.

This was a strength for Hawke, and even for Howard. You might hate their views, but you had to respect them for it and with Hawkey you'd be happy to have a drink with him with Howard it might be a walk instead. Today's cardboard cutout 'I turn up at sporting events because my minders tell me it is important' pollies are easy to see through and inspire the reverse of respect for doing so.

Why bother, get rid of them and save some money for things that matter. Been enjoying your online writing Ms. You have put a good case for the intrinsic need for connection we have for our leaders and how we are so sadly missing that.

Reading further through the comments Maybe Hawke's beer could be the start of a new anti binge drinking campaign Drink like this man and you could end up as a politician! Bob Hawke is Bob Hawke he is no different now than he was before he became Prime Minister in other words having a beer and occassionally scolling one is a small part of what makes him who he is.

Australians loved him for it before he became PM and after. Although he was on the wagon after he became PM there was never any shortage of reports concerning his early days at UNI.

So no there is no obligation on him to "set a good example" even though I think he is setting a good example simply by being himself and not trying to be someone he is not. There are quite a few in public life who could learn from that example. Let's not be too precious. He was just having some fun. It was refreshing to see a political figure with a personality. When did the definition of 'binge drinking' become 'Less than a standard drink'?

Yep we are wowsers for questioning binge drinking He could have toaseted people or just had a sip. Bet you piss heads will get all upset now. Seeking something to say about an 82 year old man at the Cricket downing a beer with some gusto is just unbelevable. Writing a whole colomn about it in company with a multitude of other commentators whose substance use is never questioned and whose personal habits are never scrutinised is just hypocritical nonsense.

Feigned indignation and shock by some is testament to the vacuous lunacy this proffession decends to , concocting outrage and sensitivity were none resides. Shame on you hopeless drivelling idiots and childish interpreters of what we need to know. You think, sorry you wouldn't know how to think,idiots.

Really Louise, was it such a slow news day that this is what you had to turn in? Downing 1 beer at the cricket on an extremely hot day for an 82 year old man is hardly an incitement to teenage binge drinking. Even if he knew he was being filmed or should asume that he is there is nothing wrong with downing a beer like he did.

Try engaging in some real journalism Louise. At 82 he should be up for Australian of the year. Good on you Bob. A bloke at a wedding once turned water into wine when they ran out, are you going to start picking on him too? All I can think of with this particular piece of flummery is "Good Lordie" Where was the concern with the corruption and degredation of the youth of Australia when the lists and prices of the wine stocks that were published for the purpose to fill the cellars of "The Lodge" and "Kirribilli House" during a previous administration.

To me these days it seems that the presenters working at the ABC have to file at least one piece of anti labor nonsense per day. As for the patrons of the SCG seeking out the longest seving labor PM, at least he could relate to the average punter there and without the benefit of being a drive presenter with the ABC.

For gods sake Louise get a life! I am sick to death of moralistic do-gooders forever looking at ways to curb the ways in which we can have fun in this country. Bob Hawke downing a beer at the SCG going to lead masses of kids into binge drinking. The vast majority of kids in Australia would barely know who Bob Hawke is never mind see him as a role model.

More I'm worried that you might have seen the video clip of the song where Slim downs a few with Duncan and his mates at the Town and Country and start suggesting that he was leading the charge in binge drinking.

Sure Bob and Slim and millions of other males used beer as their drug of choice. In fact, for the working class there wasn't much choice when these guys were young.

They grew up in a world modern kids could not understand. Imagine a world without TV, iPods, Smartphones. A world in which "good" girls didn't get pregnant before marriage and men were the breadwinners and wives the homemakers. It was a time of great hypocrisy in social mores - the age of wowsers, censorship and 6 o'clock closing in Victoria.

It was an age when there was a working class and the bosses were the enemies. Most of these men were the sons of men who had served in the Second World War and still had haunting memories of the Great Depression. The working class mentality admired a certain type of masculinity that involved hard womanising and drinking. Think of the movie "Sunday to Far Away". Bob and Slim were product of their times and "Up Yours" sort of blokes.

It should be remembered that Bob Hawke played a significant part in liberating the working class. I guess both Bob and Slim's response to criticism that the were promoting binge drinking would be - "up Yous" A few beers at a party or the footy or the cricket was the social norm.

Anyone who thinks Bob is an exquisite example of the Australian male is a bum. Binge drinking though is not a new phenomina within our culture, it was and is an afliction of some of our greatest, from early residents and explorers to todays sporting heroes and the hardest working. Controlling stressful environments or lifestyles is not only an individual problem but a national one.

Yesterdays image of drunks flowing onto streets prior to the 6 o'clock shutdown has now morphed into drunks flowing onto streets prior to or after midnight. Whether it be a city nightclub, an outback mining camp or the wet mess on some military base, come stumps, those endeavouring to bring normality to their lives and environment become just another "pi head" devaluing their health and increasing the risk of harm.

Examples of gluttony by past has beens like Hawke, at the ripe old age of 82 indicate to our up and coming generations just what mistakes in judgement we made in the 70's and 80's. Hi Louise, Drugs of dependence such as alcohol, nicotine and others have a fairly insidious effect on the reasoning abilities of the brain.

It can cause you to do things without your own consent, it interferes with your will power. Its amazing how many posts here are saying "calm down, it was only one beer" , which may be true but is a very weak point. What people are really saying is "I don't want to talk about the binge drinking".

Bob Hawke is the best person to decide if drinking a beer is a good idea or not. Bob Hawke was never a good role model. Not in his drinking, not as a father, not in his treatment of his ex wife or people who disagreed with him. I never had any respect for him and nothing he's ever done has changed my opinion. As Prime Minister of this country, Bob Hawke was the first to make steps towards reconciliation with indigenous Australians, made huge inroads into gender equality, including establishing the Sex Discrimination Act, established the AEC and Medicare, gave us a national anthem even though its a crap one, its better than God Save the Queen and integrated the Australian economy with the global economy amongst many other things.

He was the longest serving Labor Prime Minister and spent the entire time sober. Since retiring form politics he has recieved 7 honorary doctorates.

If this is a poor role model, I'm not sure what a good one would be. Unbelievable - its a beer for goodness sake - a lovely way to remember an Aussie legend doing what he does.

If we cant simply say 'good onya Bob' and move on we've lost the plot!! Its little wonder people complain about the stage managed nature of Australian politics, when people like Louise Maher are so quick to attack anyone who does not conform to some pre-determined standard of political correctness. Surely people are smart enough to make up their own life decisions, they do not need to be 'protected' from footage showing someone drinking a beer.

Louise, I showed my 13 year old son the video of Bob Hawke and your article. As a family we have discussed various issues including binge drinking with him Does he want to binge drink because of watching the video of Bob Hawke? Does he think your opinion piece is an absurd response to the video?

If you really want to help with binge drinking write a proper report about it Mr Hawke was famous for his drinking and it still captures the public imagination of what an 'Aussie Larrikin' should be about. He's just the kind of chap I'll be celebrating this Australia Day: Additionally, the symbols in Dolphin Treasure are not evenly distributed across the five reels, so the symbols do not show up the same number of times on each reel.

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The Gaming Technologies Association - the group representing poker machine manufacturers - said the industry firmly stood by the integrity of its products, "which are heavily regulated and comply with strict standards". Croatia , Portugal and quelle surprise France complete the top five.

The UK, where The US consumes more wine than any other country — 3,,, litres in — but that's just 9. Caribbean nations also score highly, with winter sun tourists surely helping Aruba, the Cayman Islands and Sint Maarten crack the top At the other end of the scale are, unsurprisingly, Muslim countries. Pakistan consumes the least per capita: Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and Bangladesh follow.

Three times more wine is consumed in the Falkland Islands population 2, each year , litres than in the whole of Pakistan population ,, We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.

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In , the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Czechs drank That's the equivalent of pints — or one every 35 hours. But, given that minors are unlikely to be contributing to that figure, it's safe to assume that the average beer drinker probably guzzles quite a bit more. Snapping at the Czech Republic's heels are the usual pretenders. Austria and Germany come third and fourth, Poland sixth and Ireland seventh.

There are some surprises, however. In second place is the Seychelles , a lofty ranking which we'll put down to the hot climate and the large number of holidaymakers. Namibia , meanwhile, takes fifth spot — surely that's down to colonial ties with Germany. Giving that drinking large quantities of lager can sometimes feel like our national sport, it's also surprising to see the UK down in 27th overall, with a consumption rate of just Time to raise your game, folks.

When it comes to overall alcohol consumption, a new top dog emerges. Belarus is the world's booziest nation, with the average Joe or Sergei consumes We also recently worked out which countries quaff the most wine per capita. I don't wake up feeling ill any more. I feel much healthier in life and want to continue feeling this way and live a longer healthier life.

I believe antibiotics aren't usually a bar to drinking. There are a couple of antibiotics which have their performance affected by alcohol but not most. I'm sure many doctors just give a blanket warning about mixing the two out of habit, or an excess of caution or laziness.

But taking a break from booze isn't a bad thing anyway. If you get nothing out of drinking just quit. Professional sport in Australia has been contaminated by the unholy trinity of drugs, alcohol and gambling. It no longer represents the human aspirations of natural grace and fitness. Instead, it is now a cynical, exploitative industry, excessive and unattractive in all physical and social respects.

Booze and gambling have moved in to fill the void after cigarette advertising was banned. They deserve the same treatment. For everyone's sake, this should be an election issue. As the Cancer Council has recognised, we are dealing here with "a lack of government backbone. Amy, Only alcoholics can not quit drinking. Surely this below is not true as you are saying Australians don't have a will to stop. If they don't have a will to stop they also don't have a will to start drinking.

Amy, Australia is viewed by many overseas nations as having a very serious cultural problem with alcohol abuse. Big business has had a free hand for far to long and a complete ban on all alcohol advertising is long overdue. Case in point, look at the Australian cricket team with VB logo emblazoned over their uniform, the logo is bigger than the Australian crest. Gambling advertising should also be banned however alcohol is by far the greater evil in this country, ask anyone working in policing ,health care or social welfare.

Personal responsibility is where it starts and finishes. Stop regulating our lives and treating us all like idiots. You're right, Alfie So why not place ads for booze in children's programs and lets see how the parents deal with it? BTW, why don't you ask the alcohol industry to show some responsibilty? Nah, that would be too hard, wouldn't it. Of course, industry lobbyists can help by pestering the politicians with generous donations, of course to lower the minimum drinking age.

It doesn't matter what all those scientists and medicos say about the effects of alcohol on brain tissue. They're only a self-interested elite trying to make themselves more important in society, aren't they? Are you an advertising industry executive, Alfie, to be able to tell us so definitively just what 'the target demographic" for alcohol advertising and products is.

Remember the "alcopops", alcohol flavoured with sweet and fruit juices designed to tempt the young, undeveloped plate? They were advertised and sold to a "target demographic". Wasn't it so noble of the alcohol industry to withdraw them voluntarily as a social wrong? I expect parents NOT to be sucked in by advertising and I expect them to pass the skill on to their kids.

My kids have never? When my eldest turned 18 there was no sudden binge drinking and I don? What I am saying is it? Children are the target demographic-in-waiting. Brand 'em quick, and get them onto alcopops on their 18th birthday. Why couldn't they be a target demographic?

Immerse them in advertising from an early age, and they'll associate drinking with being adult, cool, etc etc. Sounds like an excellent strategy to me. Yes, but which governmental regulations have specified that children are not the target market?

If regulations are so bad then why are you clearly in favour of some but not others? But they are the target demographic. People who already drink. In order for next year's sales to be maintained, or, even better, to increase, you have to get the next batch reaching the age limit threshold to take it up. The best way to do that is to convince them before they start. Know any underage kids who drink? Or try this experiment: I think you'll find they're already well imprinted and primed for their 18th birthday.

I drank heavily as a kid. It wasn't because of advertising that I started and it wasn't goverment health messages or a lack of advertising that made me stop.

In fact, sweet alcoholic drinks are specifically aimed by the alcohol industry at under-age teenagers aka 'children'. Do you have direct evidence supporting your fact? How is this "aiming" actually carried out? Alcohol has been used and abused for millenia. Go back to Dickensian England Gin Joints Alcohol companies advertize with their market in mind. And you believe that is children's programming? Alcohol advertizers go for existing drinkers and try to get them away from the competition.

Have a look at the actors portraying the drinkers and you will SEE the market. Five middle-aged blokes go fishing for a week Five 25 year olds are blokes playing cricket and have a Brand Y afterwards.

Five blokes go on holidays with their wives and "mysteriously" discover they are all at the same resort I see very few any? THIS is where it differs quite markedly from cigarettes and gambling ads. The reason why we can't ask the alcohol industry to take responsibility is because it is legally obliged to act immorally in order to maximise profits.

Basically we human beings who possess morality are being forced to compete against powerful legal entities that almost by definition have no morality. It looks like it'll be a losing game for us unfortunately. Violence on the streets and in the home, deaths on the road and from misadventure, health problems, all from alcohol abuse causing untold cost to society including those who act responsibly.

Act like an idiot and you will treated as such. That would be fine were it not for the fact that so many of us are idiots. Just look at how many drivers drive too close to the vehicle in front for proof positive that the average adult is feckless. If one's circle of friends is intolerant of not drinking alcohol, not enough care went into picking them.

Maybe people are questioning why you have changed your normal state not so much the fact that your aren't drinking but the fact that 'normally' you do. I totally agree with your comment Michael. Adults do not need to be influenced by peer group pressure.

We have the option to say no, the ultimate decision lies with us. Unfortunately though not many people have the confidence and strength to set boundaries nor the self discipline that is required. A lot of people have the need to "fit in" to social norms or shall I say "stereotypes" either male or female. I would say it may be due to a lack of education that would enable people to read between the lines and question what this form of persuasion intends to do.

Saying no is a sign of strength not of weakness. This is going to sound incredibly harsh Marie but there is already a solution for the problem you mention. It's called Darwinian selection. People who do not have the strength to do what is right and instead follow the idiots will invariably end up being removed from our gene pool.

Amy, There does not need to be an argument for a blanket ban on alcohol advertising. You only have to ask "Why is there alcohol advertising? Alcohol advertizing is almost exclusively aimed at getting established drinkers onto another brand. Can you name an ad that you feel is after non-drinkers?

Whilst you can see the "lure" in a lot of gambling ads ": Get rich; demonstrate your good judgementt" and Cigarettes "Be like cowboys, car drivers, smooth operators and yachties. Try smoking", I reckon you will be extremely hard-pressed to find a single ad aimed at the not-yet-a-drinker.

If you can I'll be surprized indeed. Yes, alcohol ads all over our screens inextricably link sport, enjoyment and alcohol. More than that, they sell the link to children. True champions drink beer -- I'll do that. So lets' get rid of them. Forget this nonsense about nanny statism: Of course the sports will bleat about loss of revenue, as they did when they lost their massive tobacco sponsorships.

They did all right then. Sport doesn't need a strong commercial aspect to survive. That's a myth peddled by those who do absurdly well out of it. Australian cricket, for instance, had no "strong commercial aspect" in the days of Bradman or even Benaud; players short of the top tier got out early and made room for new talent. Now they prosper on inflated Shield salaries, county contracts and the IPL. We did all right in the old days -- arguably better than we do now.

So, we restore a proper set of priorities and protect the kids. Ah, the old protect the children cry. Maybe the best way to protect our children is to stop molly coddling them. In the same way that excessive cleanliness and over-protection of children has led to massive increases in asthma and allergies, so to will the removal of any reference to adult passtimes in sport lead to children who will infact be less responsible drinkers.

Haven't the failures of the nanny state already shown that when young adults have been releieved of any responsibility for so much of their lives by the Government, they will drink irresponsibly? No the changes we need are social ones, not governmental decrees. As a parenting expert you make a good lawyer. In one corner we have the DrinkWise campaign saying kids absorb and follow bad examples.

In the other corner we have you saying let it rip. Haven't the failures of the nanny state already shown.. No doubt you have examples. Until you do many people have found the successful plain packaging of smokes, seat belts, gun control and drink drinking laws more compelling.

I must have a different Nanny. Amy, Is the glass half full or half empty on this subject? There does not need to be any research on drinking and advertising and sport. We are a nation of obese sports watchers. And less money is going into the Olympics. The affected sporting codes screamed blue murder when their tobacco sponsorship and advertising was going to be taken away, predicting their imminent downfall. As we now know, this did not happen.

Is there any reason to believe removal of alcohol money would be any different? Leaving aside feeling the need to use excuses to avoid drinking socially, what kind of person would still insist on offering drinks to someone identified as driving?

You know there's a problem when you go to a primary school age kids party, walk in the door, and a bottle is thrust into your hand.

Your article mentioned cricket - the same arguments prevailed when smoking sponsorship was banned, and the same predictable 'outrage'. Cricket seems to be doing fine without the sponsorship of tobacco companies despite the huge cries of doom when first mooted. The issue distilled is: The culture of drinking will change as it has for smoking if there is a will to do so.

Usually it requires crystallization in government and public minds the damage it is doing to the community at large and that seems to have started. It will be hard though, as alcohol is the refuge of the stressed, and there's plenty of that in our lives. In consequence the significant negative reaction whenever the national drinking culture is reviewed Advertisers and the industry bank on that.

I recollect when I was young, people bragged publicly about being caught for drunk driving and there were huge numbers doing so. For some time now, it was been socially unacceptable and one is now stigmatised by drink driving, offenders massively reduced comparatively. Its far from perfect, but better than it was - there was change for the better. Maybe that's the most realistic outcome we can hope for here. So there is hope - as with being offered a drink, it's a matter of not putting your wishbone where your backbone ought to be!

And not having the herd mentality of sheep - like most successful change, it starts with the individual. Resistance is not futile! What was confusing though is that an advertisement comes up during this substitution that asks fans if they are drinking, whether they too should? So in essence a public announcement encouraging people to cut back their drinking is sponsored by a beer company.

Big sport is pro sport and it has been ruined by the way money and people within the sporting cultures are manipulated. Drugs, cheating, betting, fixing, doping, profiting, all come from an extreme win-at-all-costs mentality. Papers and TV are full of speculation, coaches, stars, scandals, breakdowns and, regrettably, suicides. My reaction is primitive enough, but I do not frequent places and sports, do not buy or use products, do not attend, do not follow the headline trail, of any of these areas that offend, particularly gambling and fast food ads.

If it offends or intrudes, do not favour it; and tell the media if you care. Oh the bells chime to the sound of the 'Nanny State', never believed I would include those words in a stance I would embrace.

Step back a bit, while excessive drinking causes problems for most people, if not all people. I would suggest if you find all the adds or a predominance of adds is promoting Alcohol for a given TV event, then there may be a problem, just as there may be a problem with excessive adds promoting Gambling and now, any adds promoting Nicotine.

Think about the percentage of time taken up by advertising when you watch commercial TV. I timed it at a third on one show alone, granted it may not be the typical percentage but I'm not going to waste too much effort watching and timing adds, it is a lot though.

We used to regulate the percentage of advertising time allowed on TV, that would be my preference for Nanny to focus on, that and the percentage of alcohol and gambling adds allowed to promote an event or show. The Govt is impotent against the power of the grog drug pushers apparently. Just push the problem on to the police but completely ignore the obvious and that is to instigate very tough alcohol laws. Curb it, you cant drive over. Yeah I'd like to see it banned.

So all that money that goes to sport won't be so much, diddums. Sports people get paid too much anyway. I don't watch NRL, they're just not my kind of guys, but I do like a beer, and it is a problem. I flicked over to the NRL for a few seconds the other day and they've got those glaring VB signs on the pitch. You have to significantly adjust your eyes to focus on the game. One of my earliest employers was very distrustful of me when I refused to partake with him.

I have only contempt for those whom imbibe, or use substances. It demonstrates a personal weakness, and a lack of self control. Abusers are to often responsible for terrible acts of destruction, which might otherwise not have been possible.

Peddlars of addictions should be executed, for the sake of the common good. BY W Self-regulation by businesses never works. We live in an Orwellian world where unhealthy consumer products, alcohol, gambling, junk food simply pay money to associate themselves with sport and healthy lifestyles. Until governments can extract themselves from the clutches of vested interests as in the case of tobacco advertising we have to do the best we can to counter relentless untruths aimed at our kids.

See that nice guy who smiles and says. See those junk food logos plastered across our team guernsey? Well the nutritionists employed at the club dont actuality feed the players junk food and liquor.. Parents constantly have to swim against the tide just so someone can mislead and make more money.

The protection afforded to those vested interests is the true meaning of nanny state. When I started my first job, in the mining industry, in the late 70s I became a figure of ridicule and was somewhat ostracised from the mainstream of the employees because I didn't want to drink till I fell over every day after work like most of the crew and it seems this neanderthal attitude hasn't changed. Is this perhaps some sort of societal legacy left over from the "rum-culture economy" of early colonial days?

Part of it, Mick, especially back then, was the remnant of the culture that was imposed with the "six-o-clock swill" laws. Not so much the "rum" colony days as the Post-war self-medication of damaged ex-servicemen.

Those were the days of fifty pubs along the length of George Street and drunken business suits lying in doorways or asleep on the train at six thirty. I am pretty sure the alcohol industry doesn't sponsor sport because of the warm fuzzies involved, but because it is a good business decision and increases theri profits.

Of course advertising affects consumption patterns, otherwise advertisers wouldn't do it. I agree with the peer pressure to drink. I very rarely drink alcohol, although occasionally have a small beer or a glass of wine times a year. I find many people are very pushy about wanting me to drink, but have gotten good at saying no.

Has cut me out of a lot of social situations though, and made people assume I'm a prude or a wowser, whereas it's just I don't like the feel of being at all drunk, can't predict the effect of alcohol the effect of one glass of wine drunk slowly with dinner can vary from head spins to nothing , and as a drink it is way more costly than tea.

Whilst at university college in the 80s, I opposed funding free alcohol at social events, arguing instead that food should be fully subsidised because everyone had to eat but not everyone has to drink alcohol. You can imagine the furore that created.

On Fridays after work, I am still constantly pressed to have a beer or a glass of wine as if I have transgressed some social protocol by sipping coke instead. The fact that most of us were driving home after that still doesn't seem to worry anyone except me. I have always found this feature of our Aussie Culture rather regressive. I allowed my children little sips of alcohol during family gatherings and encouraged them to be responsible with regard to alcohol consumption.

As young adults now they themselves find it repulsive that their university mates seem to be unable to do without alcohol as if they've been utterly deprived of any alcohol in their entire lives and are desperate to make up for it in the first 30minutes. Both boys and girls seem desperate to prove their maturity by imbibing quantities and mixtures of drinks and then stagger about before throwing up on themselves. Pretty darn mature, I'll say. In a few more years they'll be doing the same along Kings Way and Sth Melbourne no doubt.

Despite all the best efforts over the past 30yrs to limit alcohol advertising, to warn people abt the dangers of drink driving etc it seems that we as a society are pretty much on the same page we were 30yrs ago when it comes to alcohol consumption. You can't blame advertising for that.

It's in our culture it seems. Not an aspect we should be particularly proud of If you did an "IQ" test on the crowd at a Rugby League match, I'm sure that the alcohol issue would be the least of their concerns?

As for the TV audience maybe a little better with the sound turned off? I never was a big drinker but many years ago I gave alcohol away altogether because I never did find an alcoholic beverage that I could honestly say that I liked.

Whenever I am out with friends who drink I will have either one alcoholic drink or none. After than I drink water looks like gin or dry ginger ale looks like scotch.

Anyone who presses me to drink more is no friend of mine and easy to resist as a result. Just as cigarettes are bad, so in alcohol, and advertising for the latter should be banned everywhere.

George Orwell had a wonderful view on advertising in his book "keep the aspidistra flying" "Advertisers treat the public like swine" If you want to change drinking culture, stop being such a wus about not drinking. If you don't want to drink, don't drink and don't apologise for it. If someone asks why say 'why not? Or tell them it's none of their business because it's not. But pretending to drink because you feel peer pressure about it is pretty pathetic when you think about it.

All of this stuff is voluntary taxation: We demand services and won't pay for them We demand Govts "do something" about things we disapprove of. Govt says OK fine, we'll can tax the bejesus out of B to pay for A. The solution is quite simple: Go to local sport instead of the flash ones or pay a bigger ticket price , stay away from the pokies, and save up for your own hip replacements.

I guess that their mates with alcohol businesses might suffer so they are helping them out. Seems that we are pushing the proverbial barrel up hill for sure.

Hey, why not allow all drugs and alcohol to play an even bigger part in our sport? Seems patriotic to me, and good business too.

I for one would love to watch a drunk diver in the Commonwealth games or one of our proud Aussie athletes to run the metres in 6. It would be a proud moment for us. And as for the fans, well the more drunk the better, right? Adds to the atmosphere the alcohol salesmen would tell us. I don't believe that advertising is the issue. It seems to me that the less we smoke, the more we drink.

Years of turning around attitudes towards smoking has only increased the more we drink. Substituting one addiction for another is not uncommon. Drinking has become a normal coping strategy, as well as a social expectation which shows me that advertising only increases a massive mental health problem.

Alcohol now is advertised in the catalogues that used to just be for grocery specials. And shopping dockets often advertise a discount on grog. We aren't heading anywhere worth going with alcohol. I've been a non-drinker for 16 years. I never developed the taste for alcohol, or the so called enjoyment or being under the influence.

Even at 34 I still get curious looks when I turn down an offer for an alcoholic drink. Those that can't deal with my 'drinking problem' don't warrant my friendship, but those that do, enjoy my ability to get them home safe at night for the cost of my entry if there is a cover charge and soft drinks all night.

I stopped drinking to pursue an elite athletic career, funnily enough, but even post athletic career I still do not drink. Being a non-drinker can become as much a part of who you are as can being a drinker. It's funny, when I see a gang of drunken yobbos doing somehting silly and anti-social, I blame the yobbos. When, for want of a better expression, a lefty looks at the smae thing , they blame society.

We must not succumb to the leftish mindset that individuals do not count. We must resist all attempts at regulation that treats adults like children. The better reaction is to come down extremely hard on public drunkeness.

The funny thing here is that the yobbos you're talking about are overwhelmingly of the right-wing 'I can do what I like' mindset. The damage alcohol does to individuals is picked up by society. Advertising works or companies would not waste time and money on it.

So here we have a organisations dedicated to making individuals drink alcohol in the name of profits despite the damage it does and expecting society to pick up the tab. Want to reduce or eliminate drinking, make the industry pick up the tab for all the liver damage, the drunk driving accidents etc.

Stop socialising the costs and privatising the profits. Oh yeah, don't advertise it at sporting events. One other thing that does concern me though. We have stomped on smoking, so the next product in the gun sites is alcohol. Beer, wine and spirits, like big tobacco, will eventually lose and be curbed. What are we going to do then? There isn't a drinking problem in Australia there is a repressed, angry, violent, lack of perspective, selfishness epidemic that seems to bubble out when people drink.

If people can't control themselves when they're drunk it means they're a moron not that alcohol is to blame. Together with tobacco, alcohol is the most pernicious recreational drug consumed in the West.

But few amongst the general public in Australia, the UK or the USA even refer to alcohol as a drug, or, evidently, even recognise that alcohol is a drug. Instead of talking about 'alcohol and drugs', as is commonplace, we need to talk about 'alcohol and other drugs', or about 'drugs including alcohol'.

The way we use language matters. It's not being pedantic. It's being accurate, precise and honest. By referring to alcohol on the one hand and to 'drugs' on the other, we are saying that alcohol is OK - but, of course, real 'drugs' are not.

This is exactly what Big Alcohol wants us to believe. Alcohol is a drug. Until we can get that simple, basic message across we will get nowhere. Amy asks; "As a society, should we be taking more personal responsibility for how much we drink, rather than blaming it on advertising? Is the media guilty of the same crime?

If we made a serious attempt to treat each other with respect and never take advantage by influencing people to act against their own interests, would everything be better? Well, of course it would, but what would all the sleazebags do for a living? We are an emotional animal. Without effective social control mechanisms, many of us are very disruptive. Both tell us they love us. Those who control both mechanisms refuse to be held accountable to humanity's highest ideals, so it is absurd to consider either an ultimate answer for fostering reason.

Nevertheless, just because our first two attempts at fostering a reasoned society have not been fully effective does not mean we should not keep trying. But we have stopped trying - haven't we. CBA was a sponsor of schoolboy rugby league a few years back.

A few controversies and they decided the sponsorship didn't fit the image they wanted to project. There are more controversies in senior sport. Breweries etc have a limited number of opportunities for advertising so will pump more into those few options. Banks etc face no such limitations and can afford to be more choosy and bargain harder. As a supporter of Cronulla my fear is that fewer funds will result in marginal clubs being squeezed out rather than the pain being shared by all.

Amy, Opinion and subjectivism is the bain of journalism. Everyone had an opinion and I wish they would not give it. Because Opinion is just that, opinion. This research, was it objective research because you don't need research to find the answer. The TV networks have taken over from actually going to a game, so the game is played on a screen in everyone's living room. And where is alcohol consumed? In the living room. Go to a pub and no one is there. All you have to have is a will Amy.

Have you got one? My father was a Teetotaller because his father was an alcoholic. Now when I was born my father bought a bottle of beer, and that was in He put it on the bench as he was a motor mechanic. The next year he bought another bottle in when my sister was born. Those two bottles stayed there for decades. When he moved house in the s those two bottles were still there, some 30 years later. I don't agree with the premise that we have a problem with alcohol per se.

I'd argue that we have a problem here with anti-social behaviour being considered acceptable when drunk. It's all written off as part of the sports and alcohol-driven 'mateship' and 'larrikin spirit' Aussie identity. Limiting alcohol advertising isn't going to fix that underlying cultural problem. But sure, it's more comfortable to blame alcohol than to look in the mirror to deeply.

I grew up out bush in the early 80's. The town I grew up in had no television and basically the only radio most people could get was the ABC Radio National. We had one pub and the town Community Club which was the base for all of the sports clubs in town.

This was before Alcopops and RTD's were in vogue and everyone either drank locally made beer or spirits like Bundy rum etc. The drinking problem back then was no different to the current one as the young ones in town used to party on like there was no tomorrow.

The only difference is that in the country where I grew up, once the pub closes, there is no 24 hour licenced venues, but that didn't stop drinking as most people had BYO stashes and continued drinking through the night at bushies or at someones house. The main difference there is that it was out of sight out of mind. My point is that even without the advertising, people will still drink to excess and still possibly end up problem drinkers.

I think young people don't drink as much as we did. In most places, quite possibly. We, on the other hand, got Norm, our fitness model. Norm's music sounded a lot like Cazaly, as in "Up There". Cazaly sounded a lot like a beer commercial. So I guess we're talking about advertising here, peers? If the yoof of today don't drink as much as you did it may be because they have other preferred chemical holidays.

My impression though is that binge drinkers start younger now though. Perhaps I need to cut back on my tabloids. Of course advertising is effective and therefore its impacts should be considered. However, Australia has such a drinking culture, it could be argued that the advertising is only linked to the choice of brand to consume, not the actual consumption.

A lot more needs to be done, tag teaming awareness campaigns, like QUIT did for smoking with shifts in community values. Extension of existing TAC anti drink driving message to a controlled drinking message could be a start.

You do make a fuss Amy. Let them serve you a glass of wine, be the hosts. You don't have to drink it. If you really want to make yourself the centre of attention just tell them you're a self-diagnosed recovering alcoholic and that the next glass of wine could prove fatal.

Or just stop going to engagement parties where boofheads are likely to make an appearance. Alcohol advertising is a minor annoyance. Most remotes have a mute button if they get unbearable. I find mute buttons more annoying than ads. The ads have zero impact on the amount I drink. Who is affected by them?

People with real alcohol problems? So what exactly is the Cancer Council's beef with alcohol? Are they concerned with direct causation of some cancers or the flow on from increasing obesity? What kind of numbers are they talking about? Are they above a bit of free publicity? If there was a causal link between advertising and binge drinking there should have been a drop-off when restrictions on alcohol advertising were brought in, no?

Would banning advertising altogether have any noticeable impact on drinking levels in our affluent society? I very much doubt it. Either connoiseurs or binge drinkers, those are our only choices? That's rubbish isn't it? They weren't good years for those clubs. Let them advertise if you dont like it, think its bad for society then take out some add space of your own.

Grab some prime time veiwing, prehaps during a sporting event and let people know. People smoke, drink, gamble, take illegal drugs do heaps of crazy stuff and most, from my experience, will tell you that they enjoy it. Can it ruin lives and relationships you bet it can. Should we regulate or ban it no I dont think so.

We should be able to make our own moral decisions and act upon them. We cannot stop people from taking substances that are harmful to there health. We need to educate the young and provide surport for any that become addicted. Raising the minimum cost per unit of alcohol another of the health lobby's proposals will more severely affect pensioners and others whose budgets have less flexibility.

People who can afford to drink premium wines won't be affected to any great extent. While alcohol causes a lot of problems, it also helps a lot of people cope with life. It is inhumane to deny this simple pleasure from those in the lower income brackets. After all, none of us knows when and why we will die, only that we will die. Humans have required mind-altering and mind-numbing chemicals to cope with life for eons, so if the health lobby wants to deny us alcohol, then can they suggest suitable, less damaging alternatives?

I agree that the ads on sporting telecasts are too frequent and repetitive, whether for alcohol or other products, but it is hard to see an alternative: Yes we do have a problem with peer group pressure and alcohol consumption.

I experienced it here at home, in Japan and in Europe. I fear it maybe universal and not just Australian issue. I was surprised to see an ABC commentator suggest personal responsibility as a solution. Going slightly off topic, can a legal person explain why intoxication is used as a defence in our law courts please? It seems that a plea of diminished responsibility is always used by violent people when they have done dreadful harm to their victims.

Hope to hear an expert view. I am not sure anyone blames advertising for their alcohol problems. The vast majority do not think they have a problem with alcohol anyway let alone admit that they were influenced by TV.

I think the crux of the argument, is there too much alcohol advertising in sport, is probably supported, but the issue is far deeper than that. Many people and communities not interested in sport have problems with alcohol. Australia has a problem with Alcohol. People drink to get drunk, not to enjoy a beer, but to enjoy the numbness and carelessness that comes from alcohol.

It's the same problem heroin and vicodin addicts have. Life hurts too much, I want to not feel it. I want to not be afraid. I recall being in Berlin for New Year's Eve not too many years ago. The drinking age there is 16, beer advertising is largely unrestricted, there are no rules banning street drinking - and it's entirely legal to purchase fireworks and set them off in a public place.

I didn't see a single act of violence. Yes, apparently every year there are accidents with the fireworks and people get inured, but the actual behaviour of people towards each other was celebratory and polite.

Can you imagine if we tried something like that in an Australian city - with everyone from 16 up drinking outdoors in the one space? There'd be utter CHAOS - no amount of police could control the kind of violent rampage that would result.

In Australia we can't even stage an Australia Day fireworks evening without a small riot or two, and that's despite street drinking laws, restrictions on alcohol advertising and a higher drinking age. But here's the rub. We actually don't have a particularly high rate of alcohol consumption. Germany, Italy and most of continental Europe all consume more alcohol per person per year than we do, and have increased rates of liver disease to match. That doesn't mean alcohol isn't related to violence over there - at an individual level it still is - but despite drinking more than us, alcohol doesn't cause the breakouts of mass violence that it does in Australia.

We don't have higher crime rates in general - but put us in a crowd and give us alcohol and watch the chaos fly. With Italy you could say that's because binge drinking is very rare - they drink a lot, but it's around the dinner table, and even in Rome the only pubs you'll find are those catering to UK and Australian expats.

But the Germans get binge drunk like we do. AND their overall consumption utterly dwarfs ours. So it isn't even just a matter of us binge drinking - it's that when large groups of Australians binge drink, chaos ensues.

We've developed such a bad reputation over this that if you go to the Octoberfest beer festival in Munich, despite almost everyone there drinking to excess, it's not unusual for them to deny entry to Australians, and you can guarantee that if you say you're from Australia that security will be keeping a very nervous eye on you. This is why I don't think more advertising restrictions will help. We have a problem with alcoholic violence that's worked its way into the nature of our culture.

I know that it's fashionable to hate academics these days, but it would be an excellent use of public money to gather our best sociologist, research psychologist, historian, political philosopher and research medical doctor into a cross-discipline group, and give them a 5 year research grant, with all the resourc.

What would you think of tobacco advertising today, Oh Very Young? Plus ca change, plue le meme. Just a generation later. The next will be criticising junk food, casinoes, or on-line ganbling I'm surprised that you can be so limited in your overall perspective, given that you have access to publish on The Drum.

But I guess that's that's just the contemporary, young-adult, the-present-is-absolute-and-thus-it-will-always-be mindset. Your journey, your REAL journey, begins about now. Drinking and gambling don't bother me. Spectator sport is what I think we should be stamping out. If we didn't dumb down our populations with sport, drinking and gambling wouldn't be such a problem.

Good article by Amy. It is pathetic when the drinking problem is diverted to teenagers when it is a problem for all ages. It is actually more dangerous than many of the illegal drugs, especially when driving. Have we forgotten that alcohol is a drug? When we drink and drive we are actually drugged and driving. It is the most dangerous recreational drug and it is a social drug that is entrenched in our culture. Probably more than half the population use it every week and many addicts have it everyday.

Alcohol and sports sponsorship? Mining and drinking culture have an implicit connection. Miners, rightly or wrongly, blamed the thirst whipped up from their work. I work in the mining industry, hence I have a fair amount of exposure to it.

However, contrary to the common perception, I do not drink! I did not drink even from the days when I was studying Mining Engineering.

A very interesting statement was brought to my attention in my mine survey class. The text book actually alerted the readers to the fact that non-drinkers are up to no good! It concluded that either there is something wrong with the weirdo, or he is a scheming bastard!

Still, to these days, I did not take up drinking just to prove that I am not a scheming weirdo. I am a bloody skeptic! Drink to get drunk is probably a common cause for the unruly behaviours.

Deep down, I believe some of the ugly scenes portrayed the culture of "diminishing responsibilities". So it was alright to load up with alcohol when you just survived you last days in school? I believe we have problems If they think there's such a thing as 'pleading the influence of alcohol' they really need to get legal advice. Voluntary intoxication through alcohol has long been explicitly held first in court cases, then confirmed by legislation not to provide any legal excuse for any crime.

The shorter sentence isn't because of the alcohol - it's because the guy's a first time offender, with solid community references indicating that he probably hasn't done anything like that before.

Thanks Amy for your piece. This subject matter is important and complex, going to the heart of Australia's drinking culture. I am reminded of how the displeasure of my friends at my decision not to embibe at a particular event was explained to me. My economist friend said it was like economic "free rider" theory. The only reason there is "a good time" to be had at all is because everyone does there bit to bring their best humour and "upbeatness", therefore creating the "craic".

By not drinking I was free riding on the party they have created! The 'great' Aussie alcohol culture was largely imported from Britain by the first fleet and subsequent fleets. Alcohol was dirt cheap and mostly kept the underclasses submissive and sozzled. Since I gave up a month and a half ago I don't get to the weekend and have to have drinks on Friday,Saturday and Sunday nights. I think better and have fewer headaches. I saw it with my father many times on fishing sorry, drinking trips when I was 10 years old.

The government cannot change this culture. Such change must come from individuals and then groups of people who take stands against alcohol abuse. I think the advertising alcohol conglomerates are very clever and know how to market to their targets. Limitation on drug advertisement in professional and amateur sports is a great idea. I don't think that any legal jurisdiction in Australia will accept a plea of 'diminished responsibility' due to intoxication any more.

The laws have changed. I realised when quite young that both of my parents had alcohol problems and am only an occasional and usually moderate drinker myself, a trait enhanced by my ex-wife's late-discovered drunken excoriations. But alcohol use seems so ingrained in human experience that you really can't anticipate the result of attempts to control it. The over-taxing of alco-pops must be a case in point. It seems to have resulted in kids 'charging-up' on spirits and mixers before going out.

The problem is that their doseage ie alcohol to fluid ratio is now uncontrolled. Now I see kids lining up to get into clubs who are so drunk they can hardly stand, girls crying head-in-hands, vomiting in the gutter at the start of a night out.

Interestingly, a young acquaintance recently return to Australia after several years in London says that he never sees such things there, that it would be considered just too completely uncool to be seen out legless drunk.

But maybe that just becomes an issue of 'drugs of choice'. Amy, we only have to go to our history books to visit the acquired culture of drinking, which I believe started with rum, which soon became the currency of choice. It's all their fault. What a passive bunch of victims we have become.

A generation or so ago, we all used to play sport on the weekend, at the end of a solid week's work. Now we just watch sport and like some cargo-cult bet on it, in the hope that we will win big time and not have to work for a living. And meanwhile, we can ignore the health warnings about alcohol consumption and delude ourselves that we are only a social drinker. The government is only too happy to reinforce these passive perceptions of self.

We are now called the working poor, who can never stand on our own two feet without the help of a government program. As David Thoreau said, "Most folks live lives of quiet desperation. A good start would be to switch off the TV whenever Waterhouse and the drug pushers appear, promoting their various social poisons. For the sake of your kids' future happiness, the Channel 9 button should be permanently locked in the off position.

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I suspect the serious answer is zero. Just shows how bereft we are for real news in this country - and does lend weight to the view of the increasing tendency of the ABC to trivialise the news. How lucky we truly are if this is all we have to make the national commentary. For what it's worth, as I reluctantly allow myself to be drawn in to comment, it seems to me this was more an individual gesture from Hawke to the person's spontaneous generosity.

To raise it as a component to binge drinking is drawing a pretty long bow. Part of the article's final line says it all: Something's working for him - half his luck!

And his business really - he's no longer a public entity, though I am sure Bob's equally legendary ego is enjoying this publicity! It would be grossly unfair to deny the humanity of anyone, be that ex-PM, or not. Whilst Hawke is not my pin-up hero and I'd decline of even shaking hands with, he is entitled to have a beer in public, just like anyone else. I think Bob Hawke is like all heavy drinkers they still keep on thinking that they have something to prove - like their stupid manhood.

Most intelligent males know that proving your manhood has nothing to do with sculling beer. An already damaged person from alcohol abuse, Bob Hawke a Rhodes Scholar, lives the high life on the generosity of the Australian Taxpayer through his Parliamentary Pension. He could have had a reputation as a gentleman and honerable statesman, but still likes to portray himself as a grassroots human being, which he was as a Union Leader.

Annie, I thought BH had made his statement regarding his manhood. He has proven that over and over again. But not by drinking. Not even a PINT. Not lines of Beer. It was a bit of fun on a great day for Aussie cricket. Now Ms Maher can you honestly say that you have never 'downed' one at all for anything remotely fun? It is this sort of faux moralisation of everything that this country is becoming far too accustomed in that quite frankly drives me mad!

If you really are concerned with binge drinking in Australia, then why not write about the fact that alcohol advertising is basically plastered all over every Australian commercial sports broadcast or the fact that current laws to perturb youth binge drinking are basically like use to a Keatingism "being flogged by a wet newspaper".

Or even the fact that young people year olds cannot go out anywhere and turn to binge drinking as a way to be "cool". If you really want to address a problem, address the core of it and debate solutions, instead of debating trivial things like this. Seems there are two deep ends and you just choose which end you want to go off. I think it is extremely important that our politicians know the price of beer. I don't think there is any other politician people would rather drink with.

Come on Louise, get off your high horse. For every wowser like you there were another million Australians that thought it was great. Good on ya Bob, skoll, skoll, skoll, skoll, skol Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not sure how many of today's crop of 16 year old binge drinkers really look to Robert James Lee Hawke as a role model, Louise. So perhaps Hawke wouldn't be such a bad role model.

Sculling back one beer is not the end of the world. I'm also not sure that teenagers these days would even know who Bob Hawke is. I honestly dont believe teens would look at this video and think 'this is a retired politician', 'this is an old man' more likely. You argue for oppressive self-censorship. I do not want to live in your world. Hawke was offered a beer and downed it.

You inflate its significance and offer drunkards the excuse that "Hawke drinking a beer fast made me do it. Are we a country of victims?

Get a grip Louise. Bob Hawke sculling a single glass of beer at the cricket, at a match that was also an historic win for the Aussies, is not the end of civilisation. The reason people loved it so much is because he demonstrated that he is not above the great mass of average people who make up this country. At no time did Hawkie demonstrate signs of intoxication, and furthermore it was probably watered-down, flavourless mid strength beer if bought at a major sporting event.

Binge drinking can be a big problem especially if you're one of the people out at the pub who arent drunk and I agree a culture needs to change.

That is the rapidly advancing culture that demonises all people based upon their social choices because of the idiotic actions of a few who drink too much and cant compose themselves with some level of civility when on the turps. It is possible to enjoy a few, even perhaps a few too many on occasion and still behave in a responsible way.

My 2c Can sculling one glass of beer be described as binge drinking? NO Do former prime ministers have a responsibility to set a good example? NO Should they always presume someone might be filming them if they are in a public place?

YES And if so, should they modify their behaviour to avoid the risk of offence? NO Young people binge drink for many reasons, peer pressure, it being a 'rite of passage', not having enough experience to know when to stop, and let's face it, when you're young it can seem like fun.

It certainly was for me. Most of us will grow out of it, most of us will survive fine. A few won't, l'm not sure anything a government can do will stop it. It all comes back to personal responsibility, some people have it, some don't, even as teenagers.

In an age when young people or virtually all people feel disenfranchised and alienated from their 'leaders', it's a surprising and heartening to see an important man who has the common touch. Maybe all our pollies should get on the sauce during parliament.

It would make question time more interesting if there was a lingering threat of someone glassing someone else. The proposed Pokies Tax angers people because they feel treated like children. The Alcopops tax made teenagers buy straight spirits instead. I'm glad Hawke sculled the beer. It gets us thinking and talking about drinking, and what's good and what's bad.

If you try to hide drinking culture, and just lecture people, it can have completely the undesired effect. The Alcopops Tax did not work, as major outlets sold straight spirits - with a free mixer, resulting in a stronger mix than a premix drink, getting stronger as the mixer ran out.

A Puritan is a person who is convinced that someone, somewhere is having fun and they can't bear it! I am not a Hawke fan, but he has been a good PM in retirement and is not bitter, like his successor. Give him a break and let him enjoy his life - he is not old!

I respect him, because he was my PM and he did nothing during his stewardship to impugn the office. That's a compliment from a Liberal. After watching the clip, I kind of feel sorry for the poor old guy, it looked to me that he was peer pressured into it. Not that its an excuse to bow to peer pressure. But seriously how many elderly gentlemen would you try to get to skull a beer normally?

Then again I guess compared to the current crop of political leaders, Bob is a rocking old dude! Our culture of binge drinking is a legacy of our English forefathers which stem from their Anglo Saxon heritage. If you look at other European countries France, Germany, Italy for example their consumption may be on par with us or the UK but the difference is in the education of booze and how its integrated into the lifestyle.

Here in Aus we have the belief that you need to get drunk when you drink, but if we educated our children about the booze we consume there wouldn't be an issue. Example - sitting down with your teenager at dinner and sharing some wine or beer with your meal.

You don't just say "here's some booze" you explain why you are drinking with your meal. The flavors of so and so in this alcohol complements the meal and so on. If you appreciate what you are consuming for the quality of the product that knowledge will be passed onto your kids any they will appreciate booze for its quality and not its effects. On a side note, pubs should have more variety on tap, not just 8 different types of cheap larger.

Ever been to Oktoberfest in munich? Tell me again how the krauts are sensible drinkers , tooo funny mate. Do you know why a lot of younger Australians have more of a fondness for Bob Hawke than say, Paul Keating?

It's not because he drinks beer - it's because he's honest about it. One of my mates puts it like this: I just don't think I could trust a guy who I couldn't sit down and have a couple beers with. Hawkey has form, Early in at the SCG, he downed a beer in rapid fashion handed to him from the english supporters. Much to wild applause and cheers from the crowd. No doubt there are probably a few more occasions where Bob has shown his liking for knocking one back for the crowd.

What a beatup and, indeed, a churlish, wowser article. How does the author know that Hawke considered the ml of beer handed to him a "challenge"? What if he was just thirsty?

One documented case of sculling a ml glass of beer is not binge drinking, or most of us are branded as binge drinkers for life - nonsense. Hawke deserved praise for getting off the grog when he did, allowing him to provide responsible leadership to the country. There is no indication that he once again would have a drinking problem. Well past retirement he now deserves some slack. For me personally it reminded me of the good times we were having when he was P.

I know there were bad things also but it reminded me of the good stuff. We were proud to be Aussies,the Silver Bodgie showed us we could party hard and work hard,there was a sense that we were really going somewhere. Now what do we have,if you call yourself an Aussie your likely to be called an invader or racist by some treehugger or asylum seeker advocate. We have a Labor party that seems more interested in social engineering and inflicting taxes on us for no real gain.

All we hear is don't drink,don't smoke. So an old P. When the sculling of a beer produces anguished soul-searching like this article, it is clear that the battle is over, the wowser has won, and Australia has become a truly safe, responsible and boring country.

Hi Louise, Have you considered this might not have been an issue until you decided to make it one? Andrea Petkovic can't dance. What's wrong with the world today? OOOooo the little nitpickin ninny nannies are out in force again. More figger wagging for those of us who drink.

Next minute we'll have compulsory breath testing before being allowed to join a conversation So Bob Hawke skulled a beer at the cricket I wish the nannies would get their heads out of our rear end and get a life. Sick to death of it!!! They must all live perfect lives, or, seriously, it would be a bit arrogant to constantly berate other people's life choices..

But you just stick to you mantra of denial. They never bother quoting the amount of tax receipts from Drug A. You should have been taught that from an early age. I think anyone who starts carrying on about Hawkie having set a bad example with his recent sculling of a single beer is getting way too serious. It was just a bit of harmless fun. Hawkie was a legend. Oh Hawkie, I miss the golden days or should they be silver days?

Don't they only sell light and mid-strength beer at the cricket nowadays? The total alcohol content in that glass would probably have been less than one standard drink. Even by the increasingly diminishing definitions of binge drinking that would hardly count as such.

Thank god you woke up by the end of the article - He's 82, given great service to the country - I think he can do what he likes without the fun police being involved. Louise, It must be a very slow day. What a waste of electrons and disk space. We have a binge drinking culture on the rise and an elder statesman engaging in stereotypical macho behaviour that he thinks somehow proves he's a real bloke.

On one level it is meaningless but on another it applauds pouring masses of alcohol down your throat as really aussie behaviour. The truth is that many Australians cannot handle their alcohol but feel they should be able to in order to prove themselves. So on they go for many years until hopefully they get a wake up call and realise that alcohol in large quantities is dangerous and damaging.

But for some it is too late. Bob Hawke used to have a serious problem with alcohol, it's a not a good look. Teenagers dying in alcohol induced fights is a problem. Women and children being bashed by drunken husbands is a problem.

We have problems in our culture and focusing on people dying in Africa doesn't make it ok. Surely God, if involved, would have prevented any beer drinking. But didn't God invent alcohol in the first place? Alcohol doesn't start fights. Stop waving away any sense of personal responsibility for ones actions.

How does this equate to binge drinking or ANY form of macho sterotypical behaviour? The engaging in what you call stereotypical macho behaviour that he thinks somehow proves he's a real bloke is only YOUR stereotypical view. Not necessarliy anyone elses. I did not degrade the author.

I think her article is politically correct rubbish. My comment was not made to degrade the author. Her argument was illogical at best. I am sick to death of policitally correctness and wowsers trying to stop rational mature idividuals enjoying themselves by either by the imposition of "progressive" ideologies or by placing a person on a pedestal they dont want to be on and then criticising them for not being a saint. The article trivialises the real issue of alcohol realted injury and damage.

I stand by my comment, The article is a trivial waste of electrons and disk space. I'm with you there Simon. My patience is exhausted with wowsers and nanny state advocates. Obtuse observations like this are worth consideration. Hawke always liked a joke, even an offensive one.

His showing off in the old pissup style is a joke in poor taste, but it's only one of many. Most would see it as a reason to reject rather than embrace such behaviour and if so, a lesson is learned, better than that learned by the writer.

So, no excess pissing up, no jokes in bad taste and no boofhead criticisms from narks Bob Hawke is retired and entitled to live his life as he sees fit, without being overly subject to scrutiny. I he alowed to drink a beer? Is he allowed to drink a beer quickly, if he wants to?

It's not like we see Bob Hawke appearing in community service advertisements warning about binge drinking. More concerning is that someone took it upon himself to record it, I'm guessing without permission of Bob Hawke, and to post it to the internet, again presumably without any such permission. If he'd stopped for 'a bit of a chat', as you suggest, it may not have appeared on the internet - and certainly not been as popular.

The issue really isn't about Bob Hawke and his behaviour, but rather about people performig or manufacturing stunts to post on teh internet, and the pruruient fascination of those who make such matters popular viewing.

The person who posted this would not have had the same response if the video didn't feature both Bob Hawke and a beer being sculled. While it is part of the "Aussie Bloke" thing to do , find it a little sad that an old man [particularly an old PM] feels that he still has something to prove. I think you are reading too much into it by suggesting he felt he had something to prove. A far more reasonable assumption is that he was just being himself, and having a lark.

Leave the pop psych at home, and let Hawkie be Hawkie. I think you are reading into it to much. He sculled a beer, it is something that politicians dont tend to do as they are expected to be reserved all the time and for that reason the video is awesome. The demonisation of Bob Hawke's actions at the SCG is simply another attack in the war on men and masculine behaviour.

Louise's contemptable and venomous article reduces Bob Hawke's motivation to a capitulation to peer pressure at best or outright senility at worst, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of issues of leadership, masculinity and independance. Binge drinking is a serious health issue, but I think we can safely assume that the at-risk youth demographic don't consider Bob Hawke to be their aspirational role model. I really think that Bob Hawke looked exactly what a habitual drunk looks like He is definitely NOT a person that I would choose to look up to An old has been still seeking media coverage Bob behaved like a typical Aussie bloke.

He always has emulated what Australia is, not what a few would like it to be. This could be why he was one of our most liked politicians. For all the wowsers out there - having a drink is not a problem, its how one behaves whether sober or drunk that is one of the main issues. Nowhere does it mention that he acted in appropriately - apart from the wowser factor. If he has a drink which is still legal and behaves appropriately afterward then good on him and let it go.

Good on him, it's refreshing to see a iconic figure not bowing to the ridiculous invasive standards yearned for by wowsers. Makes me reconsider the Labor party in a better light!

I don't have a problem with this but it would of been irresponsible if he put the cup upside down on his head after he finished. A very old man who was PM in the distant past has a beer - and you see an issue in that? Is there a serious thought that some impressionable adolescent is going to think this act means binge drinking is okay?

Peer pressure from an 82 year old? And please, binge drinking is not exclusive to young people. And there are many who are older and should be wiser that do. And it's not just beer either. Yes, even sophisticated wine drinkers can be thoroughly obnoxious after a few.

Indeed, some manage that before the first sip! I disagree with your arguement that Mr Hawke would have received a warmer reponse if he had a chat. This is a classic example of actions speaks more than words and maybe the curent MPs should listen to this. If Mr Hawke stopped and chatted, would it of made as much publicity?

This form of ockerism is unique to Australia I applaud Louise's article which quite uniquely moves me in two contrary ways. On the one hand I applaud Hawke's spontaneous individuality and larrikinism. Hawke's matey like-ability is welcome in our over-populated world where there is so much pressure to conform and be the same. On the other hand our culture is intoxicated by everything to do with alcohol.

Indeed despite being one of the two most destructive and legal drugs, alcohol is commonly perceived as not being a drug - it is euphemistically and absurdly referred to as 'drinking'. Yet alcohol has made Australia a recreational drug taking society and is a daily habit for many.

Of more concern than the behaviour of our octogenarian ex-PM is an advertisement featuring Peter Cosgrove telling Aussies to have a beer for the Diggers on Anzac Day. Until Australia grows up to perceiving alcohol as a recreational drug, this problem is only going to grow.

Hey Bozo I'm not being rude, that's your given name , acknowledging the many problems of alcohol doesn't make you a wowser. The true kill-joys are those drunken bogans who spoil the party for everyone else. Louise,anybody that would criticize an 82 yr old the pleasure of still being able to scull a beer at that age to quote the silver bodgie,"would have to be a bum". Let the "icon" drink however he likes. Better than being photographed with his leering elderly features - puckering up to kiss a pretty politician.

Louise, As much as I disapprove of binge drinking and the violent yob culture it fosters in this country, I think you answered all of your own questions raised in the article with the last line you wrote. If I'm lucky enough to get to 82 I'm going to be the most curmudgeonly, prickly, badly dressed old fart you've ever seen Neither embrace nor decry Bob Hawke's actions Interesting how one beer became It's an interesting question: Part of me thinks: Bob did the responsible thing and swore off the booze when he "had his finger on the button" so to speak.

Now does he really owe anyone anything? Then again, he is a role model to some, no matter what he may think. And more to adults, some of whom would possibly think either consciously or subconsciously "if it's OK for Bob to knock one back, then it's alright for me". As a public figure and one with an acknowledged weakness for the booze , there's always the chance he's going to be recognised and filmed.

So I guess, whther he likes it or not, by taking on the big job, he took all that comes with it, for life. I'm sure he's still happily accepting all the post-political life trimmings, like the free travel So maybe the right thing would have been to accept the beer, and then drink it slowly while conversing with the crowd. This would show that the beer is not the objective, but an offering or "olive branch", and part of a social ritual of comradeship, so be savoured and enjoyed in the company of new or old friends.

Then, having consumed the one drink responsibly, he could bid his new friends farewell and move on with dignity intact and everyone still thinking he's a top bloke. Look at Bill Clinton - he's shown the common sense to play it pretty straight for the crowds, but I reckon he's no angel.

But whatever he's been up to, it's been away from the public eye. But that's all pretty easy for me to say punching away at my keyboard without the baying crowd This article mirrors my thoughts on this episode. Yes, I shared the video, why? I guess it was pretty childish behaviour, but when you're 82 aren't you allowed to be? Not a good example for children, but it was never meant to be. I'm just going to put it down to being a funny video of an old man acting like a kid. Would've had the same impact for me if he was skateboarding or listening to hip hop.

An 82 year old who can scull a schooie in one fell swoop I hope that I can still do that when I'm that age. Good on you Bob! It depends on the beer. Some beers should be sipped and savoured; others are better gulped down in one go in the hope you won't taste it. If Hawke is regularly seen rolling drunk in public, your article may have a point. Instead, a mostly revered ex prime minister stops to have a very quick beer with some young fans. When was the last time he did that? Without denying former Prime Minister Hawkes enormous contributions to society, and continuing cultural relevance, I cannot believe that he has such relevancy today that seeing him scull an alcoholic beverage would prompt the youth of today to do the same.

On that note, whatever your age, if your excuse for continued binge drinking is that you once saw an ex-politician do the same, then I think we can all agree that the politician in question is not to blame. We hold individuals responsible for their own actions in our society. On that note, there is a world of difference between sculling a singular beverage and alcoholism, and I think its time we stopped simplifying the issue and instead, looked at the significant differences between consumption of alcohol and abuse of alcohol and stop treating one as the equivalent of the other.

The mere act of consuming alcohol is not problematic. Its the continued, habitual overconsumption of alcohol, especially if it is consumed to deal with psychological or emotion problems, that ought to be addressed. I felt more comfortable with Bob as PM for the 8 years he ran the county even though he was off the grog than I did when God bothering Kev did.

Are these people for real? Jesus Aunty, isn't this a story best left for ACA? I just hope at 82 I can down a pot without having to fill my 'Depends'! Did you know there are 24 hours in a day? There are 24 cans in a slab?

There's billboard in Melbourne sponsored by the alcohol industry that says 'alcohol doesn't cause violence, people do'. That's like saying alcohol doesn't lead to hangovers, socialising does. The alcohol industry is no better than the cigarette industry.

Being a drinker, having been out on many a drunken adventure, and having worked in numerous bars in numerous countries I agree with the billboard - alcohol doesn't cause violence.

After sculling the beer did Bob go and smash the empty glass over someone's head - NO. He smiled and enjoyed the company of others. I am sick and tired of people blaming the alcohol or drug for their behaviour. If it was true then half of the world would be out assualting people on a daily basis. Lets take responsibility back to the person not try to pass the buck. Tobacco has no safe level of use, alcohol does. Also alcohol does not lead to hangovers, unless you drink too much.

One glass of wine with dinner does not cause violence, hangovers or anything else. The alcohol industry promotes itself, as does any other industry. It is up to each individual to be responsible for their own behaviour. I disagree with ron and Fiona. I too have been in many a bar and have seen many a bar fight, often involving people in whose mouth butter wouldn't melt when sober. With a skinful, they become brawlers. Sure, not everyone is affected this way by alcohol, but too many are for alcohol to be let off the hook.

The stats don't lie: None of this has anything with Bob Hawke slamming down one beer, though. I think Louise Maher must be a one on the Enneagram.

Not everything needs to be relegated to the confines of, right or wrong, good or bad. When I saw it I warmed to the idea that when I'm over 80 there is still such quality of life that I too might share the experience of "fun". As far as I'm concerned, old people can do whatever the hell they want, the bulk of the time no one's paying any attention to them anyway. I work in the industry and I hold out a special respect for the ones who party on. It's an inspiration to others.

I already know what I'm going to be doing if I make it that far. Booze and gambling have moved in to fill the void after cigarette advertising was banned.

They deserve the same treatment. For everyone's sake, this should be an election issue. As the Cancer Council has recognised, we are dealing here with "a lack of government backbone. Amy, Only alcoholics can not quit drinking.

Surely this below is not true as you are saying Australians don't have a will to stop. If they don't have a will to stop they also don't have a will to start drinking. Amy, Australia is viewed by many overseas nations as having a very serious cultural problem with alcohol abuse. Big business has had a free hand for far to long and a complete ban on all alcohol advertising is long overdue. Case in point, look at the Australian cricket team with VB logo emblazoned over their uniform, the logo is bigger than the Australian crest.

Gambling advertising should also be banned however alcohol is by far the greater evil in this country, ask anyone working in policing ,health care or social welfare. Personal responsibility is where it starts and finishes.

Stop regulating our lives and treating us all like idiots. You're right, Alfie So why not place ads for booze in children's programs and lets see how the parents deal with it? BTW, why don't you ask the alcohol industry to show some responsibilty?

Nah, that would be too hard, wouldn't it. Of course, industry lobbyists can help by pestering the politicians with generous donations, of course to lower the minimum drinking age. It doesn't matter what all those scientists and medicos say about the effects of alcohol on brain tissue. They're only a self-interested elite trying to make themselves more important in society, aren't they?

Are you an advertising industry executive, Alfie, to be able to tell us so definitively just what 'the target demographic" for alcohol advertising and products is. Remember the "alcopops", alcohol flavoured with sweet and fruit juices designed to tempt the young, undeveloped plate? They were advertised and sold to a "target demographic". Wasn't it so noble of the alcohol industry to withdraw them voluntarily as a social wrong?

I expect parents NOT to be sucked in by advertising and I expect them to pass the skill on to their kids. My kids have never? When my eldest turned 18 there was no sudden binge drinking and I don? What I am saying is it? Children are the target demographic-in-waiting. Brand 'em quick, and get them onto alcopops on their 18th birthday.

Why couldn't they be a target demographic? Immerse them in advertising from an early age, and they'll associate drinking with being adult, cool, etc etc. Sounds like an excellent strategy to me. Yes, but which governmental regulations have specified that children are not the target market?

If regulations are so bad then why are you clearly in favour of some but not others? But they are the target demographic. People who already drink. In order for next year's sales to be maintained, or, even better, to increase, you have to get the next batch reaching the age limit threshold to take it up.

The best way to do that is to convince them before they start. Know any underage kids who drink? Or try this experiment: I think you'll find they're already well imprinted and primed for their 18th birthday.

I drank heavily as a kid. It wasn't because of advertising that I started and it wasn't goverment health messages or a lack of advertising that made me stop. In fact, sweet alcoholic drinks are specifically aimed by the alcohol industry at under-age teenagers aka 'children'. Do you have direct evidence supporting your fact? How is this "aiming" actually carried out?

Alcohol has been used and abused for millenia. Go back to Dickensian England Gin Joints Alcohol companies advertize with their market in mind. And you believe that is children's programming? Alcohol advertizers go for existing drinkers and try to get them away from the competition. Have a look at the actors portraying the drinkers and you will SEE the market. Five middle-aged blokes go fishing for a week Five 25 year olds are blokes playing cricket and have a Brand Y afterwards.

Five blokes go on holidays with their wives and "mysteriously" discover they are all at the same resort I see very few any? THIS is where it differs quite markedly from cigarettes and gambling ads.

The reason why we can't ask the alcohol industry to take responsibility is because it is legally obliged to act immorally in order to maximise profits.

Basically we human beings who possess morality are being forced to compete against powerful legal entities that almost by definition have no morality. It looks like it'll be a losing game for us unfortunately. Violence on the streets and in the home, deaths on the road and from misadventure, health problems, all from alcohol abuse causing untold cost to society including those who act responsibly. Act like an idiot and you will treated as such. That would be fine were it not for the fact that so many of us are idiots.

Just look at how many drivers drive too close to the vehicle in front for proof positive that the average adult is feckless. If one's circle of friends is intolerant of not drinking alcohol, not enough care went into picking them.

Maybe people are questioning why you have changed your normal state not so much the fact that your aren't drinking but the fact that 'normally' you do. I totally agree with your comment Michael.

Adults do not need to be influenced by peer group pressure. We have the option to say no, the ultimate decision lies with us. Unfortunately though not many people have the confidence and strength to set boundaries nor the self discipline that is required. A lot of people have the need to "fit in" to social norms or shall I say "stereotypes" either male or female. I would say it may be due to a lack of education that would enable people to read between the lines and question what this form of persuasion intends to do.

Saying no is a sign of strength not of weakness. This is going to sound incredibly harsh Marie but there is already a solution for the problem you mention. It's called Darwinian selection. People who do not have the strength to do what is right and instead follow the idiots will invariably end up being removed from our gene pool.

Amy, There does not need to be an argument for a blanket ban on alcohol advertising. You only have to ask "Why is there alcohol advertising? Alcohol advertizing is almost exclusively aimed at getting established drinkers onto another brand. Can you name an ad that you feel is after non-drinkers? Whilst you can see the "lure" in a lot of gambling ads ": Get rich; demonstrate your good judgementt" and Cigarettes "Be like cowboys, car drivers, smooth operators and yachties.

Try smoking", I reckon you will be extremely hard-pressed to find a single ad aimed at the not-yet-a-drinker. If you can I'll be surprized indeed. Yes, alcohol ads all over our screens inextricably link sport, enjoyment and alcohol. More than that, they sell the link to children. True champions drink beer -- I'll do that. So lets' get rid of them.

Forget this nonsense about nanny statism: Of course the sports will bleat about loss of revenue, as they did when they lost their massive tobacco sponsorships. They did all right then. Sport doesn't need a strong commercial aspect to survive. That's a myth peddled by those who do absurdly well out of it. Australian cricket, for instance, had no "strong commercial aspect" in the days of Bradman or even Benaud; players short of the top tier got out early and made room for new talent.

Now they prosper on inflated Shield salaries, county contracts and the IPL. We did all right in the old days -- arguably better than we do now. So, we restore a proper set of priorities and protect the kids. Ah, the old protect the children cry.

Maybe the best way to protect our children is to stop molly coddling them. In the same way that excessive cleanliness and over-protection of children has led to massive increases in asthma and allergies, so to will the removal of any reference to adult passtimes in sport lead to children who will infact be less responsible drinkers.

Haven't the failures of the nanny state already shown that when young adults have been releieved of any responsibility for so much of their lives by the Government, they will drink irresponsibly? No the changes we need are social ones, not governmental decrees. As a parenting expert you make a good lawyer. In one corner we have the DrinkWise campaign saying kids absorb and follow bad examples. In the other corner we have you saying let it rip.

Haven't the failures of the nanny state already shown.. No doubt you have examples. Until you do many people have found the successful plain packaging of smokes, seat belts, gun control and drink drinking laws more compelling.

I must have a different Nanny. Amy, Is the glass half full or half empty on this subject? There does not need to be any research on drinking and advertising and sport. We are a nation of obese sports watchers. And less money is going into the Olympics. The affected sporting codes screamed blue murder when their tobacco sponsorship and advertising was going to be taken away, predicting their imminent downfall. As we now know, this did not happen.

Is there any reason to believe removal of alcohol money would be any different? Leaving aside feeling the need to use excuses to avoid drinking socially, what kind of person would still insist on offering drinks to someone identified as driving? You know there's a problem when you go to a primary school age kids party, walk in the door, and a bottle is thrust into your hand.

Your article mentioned cricket - the same arguments prevailed when smoking sponsorship was banned, and the same predictable 'outrage'. Cricket seems to be doing fine without the sponsorship of tobacco companies despite the huge cries of doom when first mooted.

The issue distilled is: The culture of drinking will change as it has for smoking if there is a will to do so. Usually it requires crystallization in government and public minds the damage it is doing to the community at large and that seems to have started. It will be hard though, as alcohol is the refuge of the stressed, and there's plenty of that in our lives. In consequence the significant negative reaction whenever the national drinking culture is reviewed Advertisers and the industry bank on that.

I recollect when I was young, people bragged publicly about being caught for drunk driving and there were huge numbers doing so. For some time now, it was been socially unacceptable and one is now stigmatised by drink driving, offenders massively reduced comparatively. Its far from perfect, but better than it was - there was change for the better. Maybe that's the most realistic outcome we can hope for here. So there is hope - as with being offered a drink, it's a matter of not putting your wishbone where your backbone ought to be!

And not having the herd mentality of sheep - like most successful change, it starts with the individual.

Resistance is not futile! What was confusing though is that an advertisement comes up during this substitution that asks fans if they are drinking, whether they too should? So in essence a public announcement encouraging people to cut back their drinking is sponsored by a beer company. Big sport is pro sport and it has been ruined by the way money and people within the sporting cultures are manipulated.

Drugs, cheating, betting, fixing, doping, profiting, all come from an extreme win-at-all-costs mentality. Papers and TV are full of speculation, coaches, stars, scandals, breakdowns and, regrettably, suicides.

My reaction is primitive enough, but I do not frequent places and sports, do not buy or use products, do not attend, do not follow the headline trail, of any of these areas that offend, particularly gambling and fast food ads.

If it offends or intrudes, do not favour it; and tell the media if you care. Oh the bells chime to the sound of the 'Nanny State', never believed I would include those words in a stance I would embrace. Step back a bit, while excessive drinking causes problems for most people, if not all people. I would suggest if you find all the adds or a predominance of adds is promoting Alcohol for a given TV event, then there may be a problem, just as there may be a problem with excessive adds promoting Gambling and now, any adds promoting Nicotine.

Think about the percentage of time taken up by advertising when you watch commercial TV. I timed it at a third on one show alone, granted it may not be the typical percentage but I'm not going to waste too much effort watching and timing adds, it is a lot though. We used to regulate the percentage of advertising time allowed on TV, that would be my preference for Nanny to focus on, that and the percentage of alcohol and gambling adds allowed to promote an event or show. The Govt is impotent against the power of the grog drug pushers apparently.

Just push the problem on to the police but completely ignore the obvious and that is to instigate very tough alcohol laws. Curb it, you cant drive over. Yeah I'd like to see it banned. So all that money that goes to sport won't be so much, diddums. Sports people get paid too much anyway. I don't watch NRL, they're just not my kind of guys, but I do like a beer, and it is a problem. I flicked over to the NRL for a few seconds the other day and they've got those glaring VB signs on the pitch.

You have to significantly adjust your eyes to focus on the game. One of my earliest employers was very distrustful of me when I refused to partake with him. I have only contempt for those whom imbibe, or use substances. It demonstrates a personal weakness, and a lack of self control.

Abusers are to often responsible for terrible acts of destruction, which might otherwise not have been possible. Peddlars of addictions should be executed, for the sake of the common good.

BY W Self-regulation by businesses never works. We live in an Orwellian world where unhealthy consumer products, alcohol, gambling, junk food simply pay money to associate themselves with sport and healthy lifestyles.

Until governments can extract themselves from the clutches of vested interests as in the case of tobacco advertising we have to do the best we can to counter relentless untruths aimed at our kids. See that nice guy who smiles and says. See those junk food logos plastered across our team guernsey? Well the nutritionists employed at the club dont actuality feed the players junk food and liquor..

Parents constantly have to swim against the tide just so someone can mislead and make more money. The protection afforded to those vested interests is the true meaning of nanny state. When I started my first job, in the mining industry, in the late 70s I became a figure of ridicule and was somewhat ostracised from the mainstream of the employees because I didn't want to drink till I fell over every day after work like most of the crew and it seems this neanderthal attitude hasn't changed.

Is this perhaps some sort of societal legacy left over from the "rum-culture economy" of early colonial days? Part of it, Mick, especially back then, was the remnant of the culture that was imposed with the "six-o-clock swill" laws. Not so much the "rum" colony days as the Post-war self-medication of damaged ex-servicemen. Those were the days of fifty pubs along the length of George Street and drunken business suits lying in doorways or asleep on the train at six thirty.

I am pretty sure the alcohol industry doesn't sponsor sport because of the warm fuzzies involved, but because it is a good business decision and increases theri profits. Of course advertising affects consumption patterns, otherwise advertisers wouldn't do it.

I agree with the peer pressure to drink. I very rarely drink alcohol, although occasionally have a small beer or a glass of wine times a year. I find many people are very pushy about wanting me to drink, but have gotten good at saying no. Has cut me out of a lot of social situations though, and made people assume I'm a prude or a wowser, whereas it's just I don't like the feel of being at all drunk, can't predict the effect of alcohol the effect of one glass of wine drunk slowly with dinner can vary from head spins to nothing , and as a drink it is way more costly than tea.

Whilst at university college in the 80s, I opposed funding free alcohol at social events, arguing instead that food should be fully subsidised because everyone had to eat but not everyone has to drink alcohol. You can imagine the furore that created. On Fridays after work, I am still constantly pressed to have a beer or a glass of wine as if I have transgressed some social protocol by sipping coke instead.

The fact that most of us were driving home after that still doesn't seem to worry anyone except me. I have always found this feature of our Aussie Culture rather regressive. I allowed my children little sips of alcohol during family gatherings and encouraged them to be responsible with regard to alcohol consumption.

As young adults now they themselves find it repulsive that their university mates seem to be unable to do without alcohol as if they've been utterly deprived of any alcohol in their entire lives and are desperate to make up for it in the first 30minutes.

Both boys and girls seem desperate to prove their maturity by imbibing quantities and mixtures of drinks and then stagger about before throwing up on themselves. Pretty darn mature, I'll say. In a few more years they'll be doing the same along Kings Way and Sth Melbourne no doubt. Despite all the best efforts over the past 30yrs to limit alcohol advertising, to warn people abt the dangers of drink driving etc it seems that we as a society are pretty much on the same page we were 30yrs ago when it comes to alcohol consumption.

You can't blame advertising for that. It's in our culture it seems. Not an aspect we should be particularly proud of If you did an "IQ" test on the crowd at a Rugby League match, I'm sure that the alcohol issue would be the least of their concerns? As for the TV audience maybe a little better with the sound turned off? I never was a big drinker but many years ago I gave alcohol away altogether because I never did find an alcoholic beverage that I could honestly say that I liked.

Whenever I am out with friends who drink I will have either one alcoholic drink or none. After than I drink water looks like gin or dry ginger ale looks like scotch.

Anyone who presses me to drink more is no friend of mine and easy to resist as a result. Just as cigarettes are bad, so in alcohol, and advertising for the latter should be banned everywhere. George Orwell had a wonderful view on advertising in his book "keep the aspidistra flying" "Advertisers treat the public like swine" If you want to change drinking culture, stop being such a wus about not drinking.

If you don't want to drink, don't drink and don't apologise for it. If someone asks why say 'why not? Or tell them it's none of their business because it's not.

But pretending to drink because you feel peer pressure about it is pretty pathetic when you think about it. All of this stuff is voluntary taxation: We demand services and won't pay for them We demand Govts "do something" about things we disapprove of. Govt says OK fine, we'll can tax the bejesus out of B to pay for A.

The solution is quite simple: Go to local sport instead of the flash ones or pay a bigger ticket price , stay away from the pokies, and save up for your own hip replacements. I guess that their mates with alcohol businesses might suffer so they are helping them out. Seems that we are pushing the proverbial barrel up hill for sure. Hey, why not allow all drugs and alcohol to play an even bigger part in our sport?

Seems patriotic to me, and good business too. I for one would love to watch a drunk diver in the Commonwealth games or one of our proud Aussie athletes to run the metres in 6. It would be a proud moment for us. And as for the fans, well the more drunk the better, right? Adds to the atmosphere the alcohol salesmen would tell us. I don't believe that advertising is the issue.

It seems to me that the less we smoke, the more we drink. Years of turning around attitudes towards smoking has only increased the more we drink. Substituting one addiction for another is not uncommon. Drinking has become a normal coping strategy, as well as a social expectation which shows me that advertising only increases a massive mental health problem. Alcohol now is advertised in the catalogues that used to just be for grocery specials. And shopping dockets often advertise a discount on grog.

We aren't heading anywhere worth going with alcohol. I've been a non-drinker for 16 years. I never developed the taste for alcohol, or the so called enjoyment or being under the influence. Even at 34 I still get curious looks when I turn down an offer for an alcoholic drink.

Those that can't deal with my 'drinking problem' don't warrant my friendship, but those that do, enjoy my ability to get them home safe at night for the cost of my entry if there is a cover charge and soft drinks all night.

I stopped drinking to pursue an elite athletic career, funnily enough, but even post athletic career I still do not drink. Being a non-drinker can become as much a part of who you are as can being a drinker. It's funny, when I see a gang of drunken yobbos doing somehting silly and anti-social, I blame the yobbos. When, for want of a better expression, a lefty looks at the smae thing , they blame society. We must not succumb to the leftish mindset that individuals do not count.

We must resist all attempts at regulation that treats adults like children. The better reaction is to come down extremely hard on public drunkeness. The funny thing here is that the yobbos you're talking about are overwhelmingly of the right-wing 'I can do what I like' mindset. The damage alcohol does to individuals is picked up by society. Advertising works or companies would not waste time and money on it. So here we have a organisations dedicated to making individuals drink alcohol in the name of profits despite the damage it does and expecting society to pick up the tab.

Want to reduce or eliminate drinking, make the industry pick up the tab for all the liver damage, the drunk driving accidents etc. Stop socialising the costs and privatising the profits. Oh yeah, don't advertise it at sporting events. One other thing that does concern me though. We have stomped on smoking, so the next product in the gun sites is alcohol. Beer, wine and spirits, like big tobacco, will eventually lose and be curbed. What are we going to do then? There isn't a drinking problem in Australia there is a repressed, angry, violent, lack of perspective, selfishness epidemic that seems to bubble out when people drink.

If people can't control themselves when they're drunk it means they're a moron not that alcohol is to blame. Together with tobacco, alcohol is the most pernicious recreational drug consumed in the West. But few amongst the general public in Australia, the UK or the USA even refer to alcohol as a drug, or, evidently, even recognise that alcohol is a drug.

Instead of talking about 'alcohol and drugs', as is commonplace, we need to talk about 'alcohol and other drugs', or about 'drugs including alcohol'. The way we use language matters.

It's not being pedantic. It's being accurate, precise and honest. By referring to alcohol on the one hand and to 'drugs' on the other, we are saying that alcohol is OK - but, of course, real 'drugs' are not. This is exactly what Big Alcohol wants us to believe. Alcohol is a drug. Until we can get that simple, basic message across we will get nowhere.

Amy asks; "As a society, should we be taking more personal responsibility for how much we drink, rather than blaming it on advertising? Is the media guilty of the same crime?

If we made a serious attempt to treat each other with respect and never take advantage by influencing people to act against their own interests, would everything be better? Well, of course it would, but what would all the sleazebags do for a living? We are an emotional animal. Without effective social control mechanisms, many of us are very disruptive. Both tell us they love us. Those who control both mechanisms refuse to be held accountable to humanity's highest ideals, so it is absurd to consider either an ultimate answer for fostering reason.

Nevertheless, just because our first two attempts at fostering a reasoned society have not been fully effective does not mean we should not keep trying. But we have stopped trying - haven't we. CBA was a sponsor of schoolboy rugby league a few years back. A few controversies and they decided the sponsorship didn't fit the image they wanted to project. There are more controversies in senior sport. Breweries etc have a limited number of opportunities for advertising so will pump more into those few options.

Banks etc face no such limitations and can afford to be more choosy and bargain harder. As a supporter of Cronulla my fear is that fewer funds will result in marginal clubs being squeezed out rather than the pain being shared by all.

Amy, Opinion and subjectivism is the bain of journalism. Everyone had an opinion and I wish they would not give it. Because Opinion is just that, opinion. This research, was it objective research because you don't need research to find the answer.

The TV networks have taken over from actually going to a game, so the game is played on a screen in everyone's living room. And where is alcohol consumed? In the living room.

Go to a pub and no one is there. All you have to have is a will Amy. Have you got one? My father was a Teetotaller because his father was an alcoholic. Now when I was born my father bought a bottle of beer, and that was in He put it on the bench as he was a motor mechanic. The next year he bought another bottle in when my sister was born.

Those two bottles stayed there for decades. When he moved house in the s those two bottles were still there, some 30 years later. I don't agree with the premise that we have a problem with alcohol per se.

I'd argue that we have a problem here with anti-social behaviour being considered acceptable when drunk. It's all written off as part of the sports and alcohol-driven 'mateship' and 'larrikin spirit' Aussie identity. Limiting alcohol advertising isn't going to fix that underlying cultural problem. But sure, it's more comfortable to blame alcohol than to look in the mirror to deeply. I grew up out bush in the early 80's.

The town I grew up in had no television and basically the only radio most people could get was the ABC Radio National. We had one pub and the town Community Club which was the base for all of the sports clubs in town.

This was before Alcopops and RTD's were in vogue and everyone either drank locally made beer or spirits like Bundy rum etc. The drinking problem back then was no different to the current one as the young ones in town used to party on like there was no tomorrow. The only difference is that in the country where I grew up, once the pub closes, there is no 24 hour licenced venues, but that didn't stop drinking as most people had BYO stashes and continued drinking through the night at bushies or at someones house.

The main difference there is that it was out of sight out of mind. My point is that even without the advertising, people will still drink to excess and still possibly end up problem drinkers. I think young people don't drink as much as we did. In most places, quite possibly. We, on the other hand, got Norm, our fitness model.

Norm's music sounded a lot like Cazaly, as in "Up There". Cazaly sounded a lot like a beer commercial. So I guess we're talking about advertising here, peers? If the yoof of today don't drink as much as you did it may be because they have other preferred chemical holidays. My impression though is that binge drinkers start younger now though. Perhaps I need to cut back on my tabloids. Of course advertising is effective and therefore its impacts should be considered.

However, Australia has such a drinking culture, it could be argued that the advertising is only linked to the choice of brand to consume, not the actual consumption.

A lot more needs to be done, tag teaming awareness campaigns, like QUIT did for smoking with shifts in community values. Extension of existing TAC anti drink driving message to a controlled drinking message could be a start. You do make a fuss Amy. Let them serve you a glass of wine, be the hosts. You don't have to drink it. If you really want to make yourself the centre of attention just tell them you're a self-diagnosed recovering alcoholic and that the next glass of wine could prove fatal.

Or just stop going to engagement parties where boofheads are likely to make an appearance. Alcohol advertising is a minor annoyance. Most remotes have a mute button if they get unbearable. I find mute buttons more annoying than ads. The ads have zero impact on the amount I drink. Who is affected by them? People with real alcohol problems?

So what exactly is the Cancer Council's beef with alcohol? Are they concerned with direct causation of some cancers or the flow on from increasing obesity? What kind of numbers are they talking about?

Are they above a bit of free publicity? If there was a causal link between advertising and binge drinking there should have been a drop-off when restrictions on alcohol advertising were brought in, no? Would banning advertising altogether have any noticeable impact on drinking levels in our affluent society?

I very much doubt it. Either connoiseurs or binge drinkers, those are our only choices? That's rubbish isn't it? They weren't good years for those clubs. Let them advertise if you dont like it, think its bad for society then take out some add space of your own.

Grab some prime time veiwing, prehaps during a sporting event and let people know. People smoke, drink, gamble, take illegal drugs do heaps of crazy stuff and most, from my experience, will tell you that they enjoy it. Can it ruin lives and relationships you bet it can. Should we regulate or ban it no I dont think so. We should be able to make our own moral decisions and act upon them. We cannot stop people from taking substances that are harmful to there health. We need to educate the young and provide surport for any that become addicted.

Raising the minimum cost per unit of alcohol another of the health lobby's proposals will more severely affect pensioners and others whose budgets have less flexibility. People who can afford to drink premium wines won't be affected to any great extent.

While alcohol causes a lot of problems, it also helps a lot of people cope with life. It is inhumane to deny this simple pleasure from those in the lower income brackets. After all, none of us knows when and why we will die, only that we will die. Humans have required mind-altering and mind-numbing chemicals to cope with life for eons, so if the health lobby wants to deny us alcohol, then can they suggest suitable, less damaging alternatives?

I agree that the ads on sporting telecasts are too frequent and repetitive, whether for alcohol or other products, but it is hard to see an alternative: Yes we do have a problem with peer group pressure and alcohol consumption. I experienced it here at home, in Japan and in Europe. I fear it maybe universal and not just Australian issue. I was surprised to see an ABC commentator suggest personal responsibility as a solution.

Going slightly off topic, can a legal person explain why intoxication is used as a defence in our law courts please? It seems that a plea of diminished responsibility is always used by violent people when they have done dreadful harm to their victims. Hope to hear an expert view. I am not sure anyone blames advertising for their alcohol problems.

The vast majority do not think they have a problem with alcohol anyway let alone admit that they were influenced by TV. I think the crux of the argument, is there too much alcohol advertising in sport, is probably supported, but the issue is far deeper than that.

Many people and communities not interested in sport have problems with alcohol. Australia has a problem with Alcohol. People drink to get drunk, not to enjoy a beer, but to enjoy the numbness and carelessness that comes from alcohol. It's the same problem heroin and vicodin addicts have. Life hurts too much, I want to not feel it. I want to not be afraid. I recall being in Berlin for New Year's Eve not too many years ago. The drinking age there is 16, beer advertising is largely unrestricted, there are no rules banning street drinking - and it's entirely legal to purchase fireworks and set them off in a public place.

I didn't see a single act of violence. Yes, apparently every year there are accidents with the fireworks and people get inured, but the actual behaviour of people towards each other was celebratory and polite. Can you imagine if we tried something like that in an Australian city - with everyone from 16 up drinking outdoors in the one space?

There'd be utter CHAOS - no amount of police could control the kind of violent rampage that would result. In Australia we can't even stage an Australia Day fireworks evening without a small riot or two, and that's despite street drinking laws, restrictions on alcohol advertising and a higher drinking age.

But here's the rub. We actually don't have a particularly high rate of alcohol consumption. Germany, Italy and most of continental Europe all consume more alcohol per person per year than we do, and have increased rates of liver disease to match.

That doesn't mean alcohol isn't related to violence over there - at an individual level it still is - but despite drinking more than us, alcohol doesn't cause the breakouts of mass violence that it does in Australia.

We don't have higher crime rates in general - but put us in a crowd and give us alcohol and watch the chaos fly. With Italy you could say that's because binge drinking is very rare - they drink a lot, but it's around the dinner table, and even in Rome the only pubs you'll find are those catering to UK and Australian expats.

But the Germans get binge drunk like we do. AND their overall consumption utterly dwarfs ours. So it isn't even just a matter of us binge drinking - it's that when large groups of Australians binge drink, chaos ensues. We've developed such a bad reputation over this that if you go to the Octoberfest beer festival in Munich, despite almost everyone there drinking to excess, it's not unusual for them to deny entry to Australians, and you can guarantee that if you say you're from Australia that security will be keeping a very nervous eye on you.

This is why I don't think more advertising restrictions will help. We have a problem with alcoholic violence that's worked its way into the nature of our culture. I know that it's fashionable to hate academics these days, but it would be an excellent use of public money to gather our best sociologist, research psychologist, historian, political philosopher and research medical doctor into a cross-discipline group, and give them a 5 year research grant, with all the resourc.

What would you think of tobacco advertising today, Oh Very Young? Plus ca change, plue le meme. Just a generation later. The next will be criticising junk food, casinoes, or on-line ganbling I'm surprised that you can be so limited in your overall perspective, given that you have access to publish on The Drum. But I guess that's that's just the contemporary, young-adult, the-present-is-absolute-and-thus-it-will-always-be mindset.

Your journey, your REAL journey, begins about now. Drinking and gambling don't bother me. Spectator sport is what I think we should be stamping out. If we didn't dumb down our populations with sport, drinking and gambling wouldn't be such a problem. Good article by Amy. It is pathetic when the drinking problem is diverted to teenagers when it is a problem for all ages.

It is actually more dangerous than many of the illegal drugs, especially when driving. Have we forgotten that alcohol is a drug? When we drink and drive we are actually drugged and driving. It is the most dangerous recreational drug and it is a social drug that is entrenched in our culture. Probably more than half the population use it every week and many addicts have it everyday. Alcohol and sports sponsorship?

Mining and drinking culture have an implicit connection. Miners, rightly or wrongly, blamed the thirst whipped up from their work. I work in the mining industry, hence I have a fair amount of exposure to it. However, contrary to the common perception, I do not drink! I did not drink even from the days when I was studying Mining Engineering.

A very interesting statement was brought to my attention in my mine survey class. The text book actually alerted the readers to the fact that non-drinkers are up to no good! It concluded that either there is something wrong with the weirdo, or he is a scheming bastard!

Still, to these days, I did not take up drinking just to prove that I am not a scheming weirdo. I am a bloody skeptic! Drink to get drunk is probably a common cause for the unruly behaviours. Deep down, I believe some of the ugly scenes portrayed the culture of "diminishing responsibilities". So it was alright to load up with alcohol when you just survived you last days in school? I believe we have problems If they think there's such a thing as 'pleading the influence of alcohol' they really need to get legal advice.

Voluntary intoxication through alcohol has long been explicitly held first in court cases, then confirmed by legislation not to provide any legal excuse for any crime. The shorter sentence isn't because of the alcohol - it's because the guy's a first time offender, with solid community references indicating that he probably hasn't done anything like that before.

Thanks Amy for your piece. This subject matter is important and complex, going to the heart of Australia's drinking culture. I am reminded of how the displeasure of my friends at my decision not to embibe at a particular event was explained to me. My economist friend said it was like economic "free rider" theory.

The only reason there is "a good time" to be had at all is because everyone does there bit to bring their best humour and "upbeatness", therefore creating the "craic". By not drinking I was free riding on the party they have created! The 'great' Aussie alcohol culture was largely imported from Britain by the first fleet and subsequent fleets.

Alcohol was dirt cheap and mostly kept the underclasses submissive and sozzled. Since I gave up a month and a half ago I don't get to the weekend and have to have drinks on Friday,Saturday and Sunday nights. I think better and have fewer headaches.

I saw it with my father many times on fishing sorry, drinking trips when I was 10 years old. The government cannot change this culture. Such change must come from individuals and then groups of people who take stands against alcohol abuse. I think the advertising alcohol conglomerates are very clever and know how to market to their targets.

Limitation on drug advertisement in professional and amateur sports is a great idea. I don't think that any legal jurisdiction in Australia will accept a plea of 'diminished responsibility' due to intoxication any more. The laws have changed. I realised when quite young that both of my parents had alcohol problems and am only an occasional and usually moderate drinker myself, a trait enhanced by my ex-wife's late-discovered drunken excoriations. But alcohol use seems so ingrained in human experience that you really can't anticipate the result of attempts to control it.

The over-taxing of alco-pops must be a case in point. It seems to have resulted in kids 'charging-up' on spirits and mixers before going out. The problem is that their doseage ie alcohol to fluid ratio is now uncontrolled.

Now I see kids lining up to get into clubs who are so drunk they can hardly stand, girls crying head-in-hands, vomiting in the gutter at the start of a night out.

Interestingly, a young acquaintance recently return to Australia after several years in London says that he never sees such things there, that it would be considered just too completely uncool to be seen out legless drunk. But maybe that just becomes an issue of 'drugs of choice'.

Amy, we only have to go to our history books to visit the acquired culture of drinking, which I believe started with rum, which soon became the currency of choice. It's all their fault. What a passive bunch of victims we have become. A generation or so ago, we all used to play sport on the weekend, at the end of a solid week's work. Now we just watch sport and like some cargo-cult bet on it, in the hope that we will win big time and not have to work for a living.

And meanwhile, we can ignore the health warnings about alcohol consumption and delude ourselves that we are only a social drinker. The government is only too happy to reinforce these passive perceptions of self. We are now called the working poor, who can never stand on our own two feet without the help of a government program.

As David Thoreau said, "Most folks live lives of quiet desperation. A good start would be to switch off the TV whenever Waterhouse and the drug pushers appear, promoting their various social poisons. For the sake of your kids' future happiness, the Channel 9 button should be permanently locked in the off position. If you have inside knowledge of a topic in the news, contact the ABC. ABC teams share the story behind the story and insights into the making of digital, TV and radio content.

Read about our editorial guiding principles and the enforceable standard our journalists follow. The murky and confusing world of political favours means George Brandis' new London gig isn't as safe as it used to be. The major parties face a huge dilemma in how to tackle Nick Xenophon's popularity, but his fledgling party has problems of its own.

For many Hindu and Sikh women who've experienced domestic violence in the last decade, their suffering has ended only with death.

These are their stories. According to the Australian Medical Association, alcohol remains the biggest single drug-related problem in this country. Alcohol advertisers 'exploit sports broadcast loophole'.

Comments Comments for this story are closed. Alert moderator Mr Zeitgeist: Alert moderator Curious party: Alert moderator Azrael the Cat: Alert moderator Arthur 1: I have been a smoker for 64 years,although I don't anymore,and I was a very heavy drinker for almost 50 years,only moderate now,but fortunately I have never been a gambler,The smoking and drinking were expensive,but I had friends who gamblers,and they were always broke,one lost his house,there was nothing we could do to help,as his debt ran into a few hundred thousand dollars Alert moderator billiytansy: Alert moderator Hung One On: Alert moderator Bean Counter: Alert moderator Jimmy Necktie: Alert moderator Peter the Lawyer: Any way Alert moderator JRM: Alert moderator Monty B: Alert moderator The Blue Smurf: Alert moderator Another Michael: Doesn't seem to me that you are offeringa solution Jimmy Alert moderator Jimmy Necktie: Alert moderator Alison Cann: Alert moderator Arthur Chesterfield-Evans: No drink no mate.

Thats Aussie Alert moderator Another Michael: Who needs mates of drunken thugs anyway. He's nearly 60 now, probably couldn't change even if he wanted to Alert moderator Steven: Health , police, road trauma, the public servants to administer it, etc,etc Alert moderator maus: W Alert moderator sdrawkcaB:

Tests The matches will

Austria and Germany come third and fourth, Poland sixth and Ireland seventh. There are some surprises, however. In second place is the Seychelles , a lofty ranking which we'll put down to the hot climate and the large number of holidaymakers.

Namibia , meanwhile, takes fifth spot — surely that's down to colonial ties with Germany. Giving that drinking large quantities of lager can sometimes feel like our national sport, it's also surprising to see the UK down in 27th overall, with a consumption rate of just Time to raise your game, folks.

When it comes to overall alcohol consumption, a new top dog emerges. Belarus is the world's booziest nation, with the average Joe or Sergei consumes We also recently worked out which countries quaff the most wine per capita. The proud title of most fervent vino guzzler goes to Andorra. Given that just 69, people call the Pyrenean principality home, according to the UN, that's an impressive Or the equivalent of 76 bottles. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.

While each of the reels appears to be the same size, the first four reels in fact have 30 symbols, while the fifth, and last reel to stop spinning, has 44 symbols, making it harder to win on the final reel.

This, according to Maurice Blackburn, encourages the perception that gamblers have had "near misses" when they lose. Additionally, the symbols in Dolphin Treasure are not evenly distributed across the five reels, so the symbols do not show up the same number of times on each reel. The third issue in the case is Dolphin Treasure's information provided to players about the payouts, or "return to player", is misleading.

In different Australian states and territories, the return rates are somewhere between 85 and 90 per cent. Dolphin Treasure's machines in Victoria say the theoretical return is The 85 per cent return figure is calculated over the lifetime of a machine and includes jackpots that occasional players rarely win.

If you play multiple games - as the machines encourage - the return to the player often ends up approaching zero, because you lose an average of Calling it a 'return to player' is just false. Industry sources said both defendants are treating the case with the "seriousness it deserves", but believe they have walked within the boundaries of the law. The Gaming Technologies Association - the group representing poker machine manufacturers - said the industry firmly stood by the integrity of its products, "which are heavily regulated and comply with strict standards".

Mr Costello said the Australian public was "never asked if they wanted our pubs and clubs to be laden with the world's most dangerous and addictive poker machines. So let's see what Federal Court Justice Debbie Mortimer thinks after a trail-blazing three-week trial. Neither of these features, it will be argued in court, is made clear to punters.

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