Surprising scale of Australia’s drinking problem


ABOUT a million Australian children are harmed as a result of their carer’s drinking, a report on the nation’s relationship with alcohol shows.

The Annual alcohol poll of 2017, released by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) on Thursday, found one-third of Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence.

One in five parents with a child under 18 reported their child had been harmed or put at risk of harm due to someone else’s drinking.

FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said the results of the national poll should act as a wake up call for governments.

“These troubling findings are really a reflection of the extent of alcohol harm in Australia; the 15 lives lost and 430 hospitalisations caused by alcohol every single day,” Mr Thorn said.

An overwhelming majority, 78 per cent, of Australians are concerned about excess drinking and most (92 per cent) believe alcohol is linked to family and domestic violence.

Mr Thorn says it’s time governments stop ignoring alcohol’s contribution to family violence, which is what they have been doing by making it easier for people to access alcohol by increasing the number of outlets, increasing their trading hours, and allowing a highly competitive market to drive alcohol prices.

“Government’s have deliberately turned a deaf ear to this aspect of the family violence crisis we have in the nation,” he says.

Framing the problem of domestic violence as simply just a gender equality issue, he says, suggests there is one solution.

“It’s not just about the women, our research shows about a million kids each year are harmed by their carers drinking, and children are just completely overlooked in the debate about family violence.”

The poll conducted by Galaxy Research also reveals a strong desire for “booze-free” sport remains.

Mr Thorn says TV programming is saturated with sport and because of lucrative sponsorship deals “millions of kids” are exposed to alcohol brands.

“It’s a complete misnomer this whole idea that there are children viewing times, children are watching television at the same hours of adults,” he said.

“Exposure to alcohol advertising is harmful to children, and we will continue to fight for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport.”


— 35 per cent of Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence.
— 21 per cent of parents of children under the age of 18 years report their child has been harmed or put at risk of harm because of someone else’s drinking.
— 44 per cent consume alcohol to get drunk.
— 92 per cent think there’s a link between alcohol and family and domestic violence.
— 78 per cent believe Australia has a problem with excess drinking.
— 81 per cent believe more needs to be done to reduce alcohol-related harm.
— 68 per cent support a ban on alcohol advertising on TV before 8.30pm.