House debates

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Questions without Notice

Binge Drinking

4:05 pm

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Health and Ageing. Will the minister outline to the House any new developments in the government strategy to tackle binge drinking?

Photo of Nicola RoxonNicola Roxon (Gellibrand, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Health and Ageing) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question. I know that as a health professional and as a young woman that she has been particularly interested in our campaign to tackle binge drinking. I would like to announce to the House and draw their attention to the fact that our new binge drinking campaign was launched last Friday in Melbourne with a team of paramedics who pick up the pieces and consequences of binge drinking every day of their working lives. The campaign is called Don’t Turn a Night Out Into a Nightmare. As was promised by the Prime Minister when this was announced, the campaign is hard-hitting and in your face. We have had a number of young women contact us to say that it is a very confronting campaign, and we make no apologies for that. When we are dealing with young people, many of whom think they are bulletproof, we do need to take this very strong tactic to tackle this problem.

If there is anybody in the House who still doubts the importance of tackling binge drinking—I know that some opposite have had their doubts—I invite them to consider some of the images that have been on our televisions in the past few days as schoolies week is occurring across the country, or perhaps they might contemplate the figures that are being used in the campaign. Four Australians under 25 die due to alcohol related injuries in an average week. That is four young people we are losing every week. On average, one in four hospitalisations of people aged 15 to 24 happen because of alcohol and 70 Australians under 25 will be hospitalised due to alcohol caused assault every week. These terrible figures translate into harm and enormous hurt, and for some the grief and pain that they cause will last a lifetime. It is our dedicated police, doctors and ambulance workers who see the worst of it day in and day out and I think that we should acknowledge and thank them for the work that they are doing.

This campaign does not tell people not to drink. It does not tell them not to have a good time. It tells them to take care. It tells them to have a good time in moderation and not to turn their night out into a nightmare. We hope that it will have some impact and that everyone in this House can support it.

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.