Monday, October 10, 2011

Australia Revisited

Every once in a while, it seems that a vocal minority of Australians want to raise their country's drinking age (currently 18) to 21.  Recently, this issue has been revisited due to the nation's notorious drinking problem, in a land where binge drinking is an art form among all ages.  But many Australians are not at all convinced that raising the drinking age will solve anything. 

A case in point is the New South Wales Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, who originally suggested that the drinking age should be raised but is now against the idea.  He knows that it would not fix anything, and that the real problems have other solutions.  For example, Professor Sandra Jones (University of Wollongong) notes that raising the prices of alcohol (i.e. through taxes and/or a price floor), reducing overall availability, and reducing advertising would all go a long way to reducing Australia's drinking problem, citing the nation's experience with cigarettes.  But more fundamentally, the problem is largely a cultural one that raising the drinking age simply won't do jack to fix.  And all they have to do to is come to America to see what we mean.

For more info about Australia's drinking age debate, see our previous post about this issue.