Why Is the Legal Drinking Age in Australia 18

So, would raising the legal drinking age help reduce alcohol-related harm in Australia? Let us take a closer look at the circumstances of this debate. We know that it is illegal for bar employees or bottle stores to serve or sell alcohol to people under the age of 18, but what if they are in a private home under adult supervision? In South Australia, the main legislation governing the sale and consumption of alcohol is the Liquor Licensing Act 1997 (SA). The main purpose of the Act is to minimise the harms associated with alcohol consumption in South Australia. Prime Minister Don Dunstan introduced the Age of Majority Bill in October 1970 and lowered the drinking age from 21 to 20 in 1968. [11] In 1971, South Australia had an alcohol drinking age of 18. [12] [13] Between 1836 and 1839, liquor licences were granted by the governor. This tragedy sparked a public outcry about alcohol and its role in violent crime. And with this latest submission to the Senate inquiry into alcohol violence, the public is once again debating the merits of raising Australia`s legal drinking age. Several recent studies have shown this. Australia, New Zealand and the United States have changed their legal drinking age in recent decades. The data collected during this period provide a fertile testing ground for scientists and statisticians. This allows them to test theories about how the legal drinking age affects society as a whole.

In the first half of the 20th century, the minimum drinking age in Australia depended on local jurisdiction and ranged from 18 to 21. However, during the Vietnam War, the age was lowered to 18 on the grounds that a person who could be conscripted to fight and die for his country should also have the right to drink alcohol. By 1974, all states and territories had adopted 18 as the legal drinking age. Australia`s alcohol laws govern the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The legal drinking age in Australia is 18. The minimum age to buy alcohol products in Australia is 18 years. A licence is required to produce or sell alcohol. These are also specific health-related issues. The potentially negative effects of alcohol on the developing brain are already well understood. It is also known that the brain develops beyond a person`s adolescence until the early 20s. According to many doctors and scientists, moving the legal drinking age to the early 20s would help reduce possible developmental problems in the brains of young drinkers.

Will raising the legal drinking age in Australia help reduce binge drinking, developmental problems and alcohol-related violence? A group of doctors at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians believe so. In the State of Western Australia, the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol is governed by the Liquor Control Act 1988 and the Liquor Control Regulations 1989, administered by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries. Prior to 1970, the legal drinking age in Western Australia was 21. Today, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase, provide or drink alcohol in licensed or regulated establishments, even if they are with their parents or guardians. The maximum penalty for a minor who consumes alcohol in a licensed establishment is a fine of $2,000. The law allows a minor to consume alcohol for religious purposes, such as Holy Communion. In Western Australia, it is a criminal offence for people of all ages to drink in public, for example on the street, in the park, on the beach or as a passenger in a rented vehicle, without first obtaining permission from the relevant local government authority. These permits are at the discretion of City Council – some public events have a total ban on alcohol consumption and no permits are issued. The need to introduce effective alcohol control measures for the youth population is underscored by the recent increase in alcohol-related hospitalizations and emergency departments. The need for change is also evident in the normalization of harmful alcohol-related behaviours in the high-profile annual rituals of Australian youth. A questionnaire survey of 260 teenagers aged 17-19 who were recruited by wiretap during Queensland`s Gold Coast graduation celebrations in December 2010 found that most played drinking games (74.8%) and consumed more than 10 drinks a night (64.1%), and that significant proportions had sex without protection (18.3%) and with multiple partners (13.9%).2 Studies have also found correlations between a lower drinking age and the risk of excessive drinking.

Research conducted at the University of Washington School of Medicine in the United States found that people who grew up in places with lower drinking ages were more likely to become heavy drinkers later in life. “Secondary care” is a legal term used to describe an adult who provides alcohol to a person under the age of 18. In Australia, it is not illegal for a person under the age of 18 to drink alcohol on private property. It is important for parents and other adults to familiarize themselves with their legal obligations by contacting their state or territory police or liquor licensing authority. Meanwhile, proponents of raising the minimum age cite public health concerns and a wide range of research suggesting that road accidents and other alcohol-related societal problems decrease when the minimum drinking age is higher. The earlier a young person starts drinking and the more frequently they drink, the more likely they are to develop alcohol dependence later in life.4, 5 Before making the decision to let your child drink alcohol before the legal drinking age, it is important to know the facts. This is not the first time that calls for an increase in the drinking age have been made. In 2008, there was a high-profile call to raise Australia`s drinking age to 21, followed by another in 2014.

In most cases, the call for an increase in age was made on the basis of reducing alcohol-related harm. A politically difficult policy change could lead the federal government to negotiate a coordinated agreement to amend all relevant regulations in all states to raise the legal purchasing age to 21. The approach taken in the U.S. in 1984 could be adopted, in which the U.S. government required states to pass some form of age law at age 21 before receiving road funding. 21-year-old laws in the 21st century will not find public support – young people have more freedoms than ever before, and removing the freedom to buy alcohol would alienate young voters: there is overwhelming concern in the community about harmful alcohol use and its consequences. While some young voters oppose the bill, involving youth in this discussion can be a useful way to raise awareness about alcohol-related harms. Even in the absence of a major public awareness campaign, public support for laws at age 21 increased from 40.7% in 2004 to 50.2% in 2010.12 Second, raising the legal drinking age to 21 reduces the mortality rate of youth in the population. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several U.S. states raised the legal drinking age to 21, and assessments showed a reduction in alcohol-related traffic accidents.3 In 1984, the U.S. government passed legislation allowing it to withhold funding for highways if states did not pass age laws for the age of 21. By 1988, all 50 States had acceded to it.

We have written before about the culture of alcoholism in Australia and the pressure it puts on young people. Regardless of where the country decides to set the legal drinking age, it is important that it also takes steps to provide support and rehabilitation programs to those trying to distance themselves from alcohol dependence. In addition, a study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found strong correlations between early alcohol use and alcoholism.

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