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The Aussies! Where ever they roam there is sure to be big groups and and a good time. When I visited Ireland a few years back there were plenty of Aussies roaming the streets of Dublin. It seemed that they were always together in a big group and even if two Australians didn’t know each other they would treat each other like long lost cousins. Most of the Aussies I  met in Ireland were extroverted and always at the pubs having a good time with their friends. Even an Australian man from The Department of Public Health, Milton Lewis, in his article, “Alcohol in Australia: The intertwining of social and personal histories” admits that ” Like most Australian men of my generation, I grew up with an understanding that alcohol and cigarettes were a ritual of manhood and subsequently went through my student days and into my early adulthood drinking heavily.” From this experience, in my mind, Australia had a reputation for drinking and a good time, however I was surprised to find out this isn’t the case….

The drinking age in Australia is 18 years however minors can drink legally in private homes with parent permission.

In her blog called “C’est Christine” an American woman visits Australia and tells of her experience in the country  while working as a bartender. In her blog post on March 31, 2o11 called “The Australian Alcohol Conundrum”  she talks about her similar expectations to mine. When she arrived in Australia she still saw pubs filled with Aussies and a good amount of imbibing. What surprised however was the expensive drink prices and the overall lack of drunk people in bars. After taking her required six hour alcohol education course to become a bartender, Christine learned a bit more about the Australian drinking culture.  What surprised her was the stricter rules of imbibing in Australia because of her preconceived notions that Australian had a relaxed drinking culture. First of all the limits placed on driving while under the influence are less leaninte. In the United States our legal limit is .08 Blood Alcohol Content but in Australia the legal limit is .05. Remember how I said beer is as cheap as water in Germany, well not in Australia. The Australian government doesn’t allow specials on alcohol or drinking games in bars to prevent people from getting too drunk and causing trouble. This is because Australia has a big problem with binge drinking among young people, the prime minister even said that binge drinking problems were at epidemic levels. So he put 53 million dollars in a campaign to combat this national problem. Also in Australia a bar can be severely fined if they serve an intoxicated person, 11, 000 dollars to be precise. Christine has experienced these restrictions while working in a bar in Australia, for example they have heavy security in bars to make sure things don’t get too out of hand and they  also have to be careful about serving people who are intoxicated.

These rules are so strict because drinking is a big part of Australian culture and is present at almost every outing. For example for a girls night out you need a bottle of wine, for a sporting game you need cans of beer and if you don’t drink people become suspicious of you. Therefore binge drinking has become a big problem in this country and is now being dealt with. So that is why when young Australians go out and travel they let loose because they have a chance to experience nightlife without all these rules. It must be hard to have alcohol be such an inherent part of your culture but not have your laws match that mentality. Our young people in America also do this  but it seems different because alcohol is more shunned in our community.


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