Police groups, crime statisticians and a few intelligent politicians rightly say we need to clean up this whole drunken mess that’s turning our streets into war zones. We have had successful trials in Newcastle, Grafton and Wagga Wagga that have dramatically reduced the alcohol-related crime and violence. But what have O’Farrell and the previous Labor numbskulls done?
They have done nothing. They continue to sit on their flaccid fat arses influenced by gold-chained lobbyists while the over-drunk create fountains of vomit and blood in our streets.
Let’s make it perfectly clear, I have been known to throw golden throat charmers down my gullet as if Prohibition was coming at midnight so I do not speak from the moral high ground of a casual restrained drinker. Sadly I have also witnessed and recoiled in places of drinking from the sickening dull thud as alcohol fuelled fists thump into the marrow and bone of a lesser combatant.
In a week where the disturbing Four Corners program, Punch Drunk highlighted the incredible personal tragedy and social cost of drunkenness we are yet to hear from the Australian Hotel Association (AHA). This defender of watering holes and shady taverns has both state and federal governments recoiling in fear anytime someone decides to embark on some responsible legislative agenda to regulate the alcohol and gaming industry.
In a wonderfully detailed story over a year ago in the Sunday Telegraph, journalist, Jane Hansen detailed the intense lobbying and hectoring influence the AHA has had over past and present governments. The AHA dismissed it as a “sensationalised piece”. Hansen details the plus $800,000 in 2008 and $500,000 plus in late 2010 that the group paid to political parties. Hansen goes onto detail the links between the AHA and the State Liberal Party.
”Less than a year after the O’Farrell government was elected, the AHA has already locked on. At least two Liberal Party executives are on the AHA payroll including the AHA NSW Branch’s newly-appointed Chief Executive, Paul Nicolaou and former state Liberal Minister, Michael Photios.”
It is also interesting to examine the two-way trough between AHA and other groups apart from ex-politicians who seem to be doing very nicely in the apocalyptic swill. British American Tobacco, Tabcorp and Pokie manufacturers tip into the AHA till year after year. Concerned about the unbridled influence of industry groups beating an easy path to government ICAC published a November 2010 report, Investigation into Corruption Risks involved in Lobbying. It stated;
“That lobbying attracts widespread community perceptions of corruption, and involves a number of corruption risks. A lack of transparency in the current lobbying regulatory system in NSW is a major corruption risk, and contributes significantly to public distrust.”
Well aren’t ICAC a funny lot. They worry over the slightest issue. For example I think we didn’t need to worry when at a AHA fundraiser in March 2009 the bloke who then ran Scruffy Murphy’s (Sydney) allegedly paid $70K for a dinner with O’Farrell. That was alright, Barry’s a straight shooter (oh dear that’s another problem isn’t it?).
But no one is willing to step out of line against the AHA. Everyone except the Greens seems to be gutless in this state.
If you are not convinced about our “State of drunkenness” just head down to the Quay end of George Street, near where Hammer Hemmes has built his grog shacks, late on any Friday or Saturday night. You’ll see the result of twenty plus years of industry influence and the resultant gutlessness inaction of a series of lard-arsed, unprincipled politicians.