Feb 8, 2013

Bottoms up: the non-crisis of Australia’s alcohol consumption

The constant claims about the dangers of rising alcohol use in Australia don't match reality. Crikey fact checks some of the statements made by the wowser lobby.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Another day, another report on the evils of alcohol. In a Fairfax article, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre yesterday declared “young women are now abusing alcohol at levels similar to men”.

Michael Thorn of FARE — an organisation about which Crikey will have more to say in coming weeks — was asked to weigh in, and condemned the “increase in drinking levels among women”. He then, at least in his quoted remarks, complained about “the way alcohol is promoted as a social norm” (not that it is a social norm, and has been so for millennia, but is promoted as such), which sent a bad message to young people — “parents drinking, the actions of their peers and the messages they’re getting about alcohol through advertising”.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

51 thoughts on “Bottoms up: the non-crisis of Australia’s alcohol consumption

  1. paddy

    What can I say but cheers Bernard. Such an excellent piece.

  2. Coaltopia

    Excellent article, yes, thanks BK.

  3. wilful

    I quite enjoy this little hobby horse of yours BK, always quite amusing. Far more amusing and easy to agree with than your ones about compulsory voting and unrestricted free speech.

  4. Holden Back

    Now you’ve gone and introduced facts into the debate – again! – just not fair.

  5. Phen

    Nice. I was just contemplating a Friday arvo beer too!

  6. StarrWinkle

    Personally I think 2 drinks a day Every Day is a lot, and few people would keep it up. If I drink I drink to get drunk – sounds bad right? So I drink maybe once every few weeks or sometimes go months without drinking. Drinking habits change with age and incomes and lifestyles.

    The “cost to society of vice” accounting is always very dodgy. For a start do they subtract the savings that come with premature deaths? Old people are a huge expense to society. If you don’t do that you aren’t genuine. It’s common for them to claim income earned is a benefit to society – yeah those people who knock on your door selling solar are a net financial benefit to society. A lot of jobs are scratching each other’s backs, if one dies there’s one less back to scratch. Crazy accounting.

    Good to see people hitting back against the nannies.

  7. zut alors

    I’m guessing that Fairfax article wasn’t placed adjacent to a pitch from one of their brewery advertisers.

  8. Rohan

    We’ve grown increasingly anally retentive about health over the last couple of decades. Mostly it’s a good thing, and reflects improvements in science and the level of societal awareness around activities potentially harmful to quality and longevity of life.

    But the annoying flipside is organisations like FARE making shit up to remain relevant. I see a lot of parallels with those peddling denial about our falling crime rates.

  9. Jimmy

    StarrWinkle – “Personally I think 2 drinks a day Every Day is a lot” You have to remember these a standard deinks you are talking about, It’s about 1.5 Stubbies or a decent glass of wine.
    A beer when you get home from work and a wine with your tea and you are well over.

  10. mikeb

    @jimmy. A standard drink is around 0.7 of a stubby (depending on the alc% and stubby volume) so when you look at a stubby label it will say “contains 1.4 standard drinks” – or similar. Wine is only around 100ml per standard which isn’t very much at all. A glass of red at my house would probably top 3 times that amount!

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details