Young Australians are alcoholics…

January 20, 2010 at 8:15 am | Posted in Youth Issues | 1 Comment
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Young Australians are growing up in a culture that revolves around alcohol. Social events, weekend past times, festive occasions, watching sport, playing sport, basically any time that a young Australian is not at work (or uni), the first thing the majority will do is have a drink, plan to go somewhere to drink or talk about how they don’t have enough money to drink and therefore cannot do anything at all.

I am no exception. I’m not by any means standing on the outside of this culture pointing the finger at those whose whole life outside of work would be nothing if it wasn’t for alcohol. I am influenced as much by this culture as every other young adult in Australia.

I believe a typical weekend that most can relate to involves maybe a couple of beers on a Friday night watching the footy, playing sport / going to the gym / pool / shops or something outside of the house on a Saturday morning, going to get a takeaway lunch mid Saturday afternoon and driving past the bottle shop on the way home. From then until sometime on Sunday morning everyone drinks. By government classification, everyone binge drinks. Sunday is a day to recover before going back to work. The cycle repeats endlessly. Different occasions, different people, different amounts of alcohol, different stories of the stupid things people do while intoxicated but the theme is the same.

The way that alcohol has become such a large part of our culture is highlighted by the conversations that sober people will have when they are discussing what they do in their own time. Invariably alcohol will be involved. The story teller will usually gloat to some extent about how much they drank or how one of their friends was so much drunker but had half as many drinks. It’s as if they expect that this ability to consume alcohol in vast amounts is a natural talent that very few possess and that they should be congratulated on their extraordinary ability. Often the story teller will recount the events in such a way to suggest that only they and their friends are “real drinkers” and everyone else does not drink as much or get as drunk as they do. Why is it that Australian society has jammed this rubbish down the throats of young people all over the country?

Take schoolies as an example, parents unload cartons of vodka rtd’s into the hotel rooms of young people who are obsessed with this idea that being drunk is the only way to socialise and the only way to have fun. Unfortunately, everything we see growing up, everything we watch on television, every story we hear the older generation tell only reinforces the truth in this idea. With a pub on every corner, bottle shops the size of supermarkets, alcohol sponsoring sport and being advertised at every major event around the country what else are we supposed to do? I would love to socialise with other people my own age in an environment that does not culminate in everyone getting drunk. Sport does. Work functions do. Any casual catch up with mates generally does. Even flying does (why someone on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney needs to have three drinks before getting off the plane in the middle of the day is beyond me but that person is on every flight).

Australians stupidly idolise alcohol and everything associated with it. It’s a deeply distressing concept to think that generations of young people need to abuse alcohol in their spare time to get some enjoyment out of life. I firmly believe alcohol is making society dumber. Who can think about whats going on in the outside world when they’re either drinking, hungover or at work. Australia needs to wake up. Life is passing so many people by because alcohol is so embedded in our society.  But like I said, I’m no saint. I drink and I get drunk and I enjoy it. Society almost forces me to.  What I don’t enjoy is that it is almost omnipresent. It is basically everywhere. Australia has too much potential to think that raising children in a culture dependant on alcohol is acceptable.

There is an alcohol problem in this country and we need help.

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Australia’s Energy Future

January 20, 2010 at 7:37 am | Posted in Mining & Energy | Leave a comment
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The most influential factor in Australia’s future will be the world’s growing demand for energy. I do not intend to discuss in this post the best way for Australia to produce energy for itself. The issue that should be at the centre of any energy related discussion in Australia is how can Australia best position itself to become a leading energy supplier in a global context.

Whether or not Sydney is powered by brown coal or wind farms is irrelevant. Assuming that the technology behind wind power will one day become viable on a large scale in both economic and production capacity terms at some stage in the future, it will still have very little comparative impact on global carbon emissions. In recent climate change debate, Australia’s contribution to the amount of carbon dioxide in the earths atmosphere has been quoted at between 1 and 3% of the total. Australia therefore needs to look to it’s ability to change the way the rest of the world produces it’s energy if it is to make a meaningful contribution to tackling the issue of climate change.

I am contending here that the best thing Australia could be doing right now in an economic, environmental and social sense is to focus on the devlelopment of our uranium resources and a globally competitive nuclear energy sector. Australia has the opportunity to drive the next stage of it’s growth as a nation on the back of a uranium boom. As stated in a report by Geosciences Australia (http://www.ga.gov.au/image_cache/GA9508.pdf):

Australia has the world’s largest (29%) resources in RAR…

(RAR – Reasonably Assured Resources)

The potential inherent in having such a large, valuable natural resource at your disposal is (you would think) obvious.

Although the majority of these resources are located in South Australia, the Queensland government still enforces a ban on uranium mining in the state. An article published in The Australian (‘Uranium Mining Divides Parties’, March 10, 2009) states that Queensland has an estimated $20 billion in uranium reserves.

On what factually supported basis can such a ban be justified when the economic benefits (and it can be suggested the environmental benefits as well) are considered.

I believe the prevailing attitudes towards nuclear energy in Australia illustrate a lack of understanding, an abundance of misinformation, an lack of appreciation of the issues the world will be facing over the next decades and no consideration for how Australia will play a role.

Australia has had a positive and economically beneficial history of exporting coal.  The risk that we run is one of being left behind in a world that is becoming increasingly conscious of the state of the environment. Technology is where the world will look for answers to it’s environmental problems and the technology behind nuclear energy appears to be the best answer currently on the table.

Please submit your vote regarding Australia’s own nuclear future on the current opinion poll by following the link above. Feel free to post any comments you may have. I thoroughly appreciate that some of the arguments put forward above may be completely at odds with some peoples personal beliefs however the purpose of these posts is to encourage people to share those beliefs and stimulate discussion.

Welcome to Australia In Depth

January 14, 2010 at 11:32 am | Posted in General | Leave a comment
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This is the first post in a series that will continue to discuss a variety of Australian current affairs from a young adults perspective.

In today’s society we are subjected to a constant barrage of information, a large percentage of which is intended to invoke concern, compassion, fear and in some instances panic. According to the general media, the threats to the Australian society of the future are imminent and numerous. Some examples include  environmental destruction, climate change, energy shortages, overpopulation, financial disaster, terrorism and nuclear threats from offshore. On a smaller scale individuals are faced with prospects of unemployment, rising interest rates, unaffordable housing, fewer university places and governments failing in the adequate provision of basic services. If any of these issues are to be overcome in a way that secures the future of our country, the people who are the future of this country need to be actively and meaningfully contributing to discussion and debate as solutions to these issues are presented and courses of action decided upon.

The purpose of this series of posts is to provoke thought and discussion among the generation of Australians who will very soon become responsible for the state of Australian society. Throughout this series no consideration or favour will be given to any sides of an argument based on political affiliation, religion, corporate association or anything else of a similarly irrelevant nature.  The focus will be entirely on problems and solutions, something which seems to become lost in many discussions of such topics.

The next post will be on the topic of Australia’s energy future. It will consider issues such as Australia’s participation in a nuclear society, the future of renewable energy, our coal industry and the relevance of Australia’s energy policy to the average member of society. I look forward to discussing these issues with you soon.

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