More police on the beat the answer to drunks' violence
What have the NSW Police been drinking? An email from Chief Inspector Haberley to Sydney bottle shops asks that they take full-strength products off the shelves on Australia Day.
Haberley argues: "Australia Day (has) become a day for binge drinking" that can lead to violence.
But rather than intimidating bottle shops, the police should focus on making their presence more obvious on the day.
It's absurd to think that a booze sale ban before 2pm will significantly change people's drinking behaviour.
Even the most hopeless drunk has the next 11 days to hoard the cheap whiskey they feel they need to get through our national holiday.
And the ban presumes that any booze-fuelled violence starts outside of licensed venues which will still be able to serve drinks throughout the day.
Not that stupid bans on Australia Day are without precedent. In 2007, the organisers of music extravaganza The Big Day Out attempted to introduce an Australia Day ban on attendees wearing the Australian flag as capes.
Their theory: The flag generates a pseudo-mob identity that can lead to loutish behaviour. Like the flag ban, the police's proposal has prompted many to shout the regularly used and undefined term for when Australian culture is under attack - "unAustralian".
There aren't many traditions Australians can genuinely call our own. Surely having a couple of cold stubbies on our national holiday is one of them. And getting drunk and violent isn't.
On Australia Day most of us have a drink or two but we don't break out into an unruly mob because we know our limits and stop, or we don't know our limits and fall asleep in the sun and get a tan that we feel for the following week.
Rather than attacking a great Australian tradition, NSW Police should be seeking to foster a culture of personal responsibility for our actions.
But it's clear NSW Police don't think this way. They blame bottle shops for allowing violent idiots to become drunken violent idiots.
Until individuals take responsibility for their own behaviour, anyone prone to violence isn't going to be well behaved regardless of whether they buy beers before 2pm on January 26.