Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Month Of Australian Miserablism

It seems that since the their government passed legislation enforcing plain packaging for tobacco, Australian prohibitionists have gone into overdrive. Barely a day passes without some new misery being contemplated for the poor unfortunates who find themselves living there.

In order to log it for posterity, here's a brief rundown of what has emerged from the authoritarian antipodean dustbowl in just a month.

We've seen plans to progressively ban tobacco entirely.
The 2000 Smoke Free Generation initiative has secured the backing of Tasmania's independent upper house, the Legislative Council, and will be scrutinised by the state government. 
The Legislative Council is calling for a ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000. The initiative, brought to Australia by a University of Singapore academic, means that, from the year 2018, young people who would have then come of legal age, no longer could smoke.
The same day, it was proposed to quadruple the price of wine.
THE price of cheap wine could be increased fourfold to combat the rising cost of death and injury fuelled by alcohol. 
A government inquiry has been told wine is cheaper than bottled water and raising the price is the best way to fight the 32,600 deaths and 813,000 hospital visits caused by alcohol each year.
In New South Wales, they are targeting nightclubs by planning to ...
-Ban shots (no more birthday shots)
-Ban cocktails (no more mojitos)
-Ban doubles (no more scotch on the rocks)
-Ban glassware (no more bottled wine or beer)
-Restrict sales to no more than 4 drinks per person at a time (no more shouting your mates)
-Force venues to stop serving drinks an hour before close.
From here

 While elsewhere, others are calling for plain packaging for McDonald's and Burger King.
“What it is necessary to do is to create a neutral environment for consumers, because at the moment we have an environment that is obesity-promoting,” said Bebe Loff, director of the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights at Monash University.
The Australian Medical Association got stuck in too last week.
THE legal drinking age should be lifted to 25 to stop young people becoming addicted to alcohol and limit the violence associated with drunkenness, the head of the nation's peak medical organisation says. 
AMA president Dr Steve Hambleton said the human brain was still developing until the age of 25 and exposure to alcohol earlier could change a person's addictive potential.
And, just in case alcohol is actually available anywhere in the future, there are calls to reduce the drink drive limit ...
Across Australia, the general driving and riding population has a legally allowed blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of .05, which has been in force for over 30 years. But technology, attitudes and knowledge have improved. So isn’t it time to reconsider this BAC limit?
... which has only re-energised commenters who want breathalysers on every street corner for pedestrians.
Personally, I believe Australians have developed a binge drinking culture. And, that Point Zero 5 ought be made mandatory for ALL public places. That way, drunkards walking the streets could be issued with a penalty. Over time, we would develop a view that drunkenness is not OK - anywhere.
In case you were wondering, Point Zero 5 (0.05) is a drink driving (or, indeed, walking) limit more severe than that in force in the UK.

There is the odd blip of common decency Down Under - like that highlighted by Snowdon today - but, for the most part, all that walking around upside down seems to have finally seen the blood rush pressure mash their heads up.

Best of luck, My Choice Australia, you're gonna need it.


Sam Duncan said...

“The initiative, brought to Australia by a University of Singapore
academic, means that, from the year 2018, young people who would have
then come of legal age, no longer could smoke.”

Bzzzt! Wrong! It means that they could no longer smoke legally. They'll still smoke in their droves, just you watch. And you'll have the coppers run ragged rounding them up, and the courts jammed full with prosecutions. All for an activity that everyone did within my own lifetime.

As Ayn Rand so ably pointed out, this is the whole idea:

“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any goverment has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them (...) Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? (But) create a nation of lawbreakers and then you cash in on the guilt.”

Just as with bus lanes, congestion zones, cap & trade, and pretty much everything else the modern regulatory state gets up to, this isn't about us, it's about them, and keeping them in the manner to which they've become accustomed.

“Over time, we would develop a view that drunkenness is not OK - anywhere.”

Over time, you would develop a view that the people who thought this up are a bunch of interfering puritanical knobheads who can think of nothing better to do with the awful majesty of the law than harrassing the people who pay their damn wages.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

"Bzzzt! Wrong! It means that they could no longer smoke legally. They'll still smoke in their droves, just you watch."

Sam, you haven't been paying attention. Didn't you hear that banning products does NOT cause a black market? A tobacco control professional said so, so it must be true. ;)

pubcurmudgeon said...

"Wine is cheaper than bottled water" - now where have we heard that before? They'd have to pervert the stats even more to make it true for wine and not just beer!

Jax said...

Isn’t it strange that the countries or areas where one would most expect a vociferous outcry and open rebellion against restrictions like smoking bans and, now, other measures further down that non-existent “slippery slope” have been the ones who have most passively rolled over and accepted them? The citizens of the “freedom state” of California? The residents of the “city that never sleeps” – New York? The straight-talking, brawny Aussies? The “warrior nation” fearsome haka-dancing New Zealanders? It seems like those images were nothing but bluster and “front” after all. How surprising is it that there’s more resistance, argument and downright foot-stamping going on in the traditionally uptight, orderly and rule-keeping societies such as Britain, Germany and Switzerland. Perhaps it just goes to show that the “anger of a quiet man” is far, far stronger and more powerful - and runs much more deeply - than the raucous rantings over other, less important issues, of some of the louder nations who might now be pretty accurately described, as my mother would have put it, as “all mouth and no trousers.”

Michael McFadden said...

Dick, just in case any of your readers are unfamiliar with him, there IS an Australian out there who recognized the craziness coming when it was little more than a bud growing out of the ground ten years ago.

Go to and read Di Pierri's "Godber Blueprint" and then download and settle in for a somewhat more in-depth (heh, quite a BIT more in-depth!) analysis of the entire movement that he offers in "Rampant." Too bad more of his countrymen didn't listen to him when he wrote it: he pretty much knew EXACTLY where it was heading.