Public calls time on late boozing

SLOPPY blokes just barely holding up the bar and bleary-eyed women risking compound ankle fractures on treacherously unstable high heels.

These two visions of drunkenness are nightly fixtures in bars across this wide, brown land.

But it seems Australians might finally want a change.

The country's most comprehensive annual alcohol poll has found three-quarters of Australians think we have a drinking problem.

It also discovered more people were embracing government efforts to curtail our boozy culture.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education data showed four out of five Australians believed pubs, clubs and bars should shut at 3am or earlier.

Last year, 64% of respondents thought governments were doing too little to reduce alcohol harms.

That figure dropped to 55% after liquor licensing crack-downs this year in Queensland and NSW.

Most people (59%) believed the industry was targeting young people and 69% thought alcohol advertising was inappropriate.

NSW Parliament will soon vote on a bill calling for alcohol advertising to be banned outright, brought by Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile.

Rev Nile pointed to his success with a bill prohibiting tobacco advertising in 1992. It started its life in NSW and eventually spread nation-wide.

"(The liquor lobby) is certainly a very powerful group that makes a lot of donations to both sides of politics. That's why we have to have a bipartisan approach," he said.

FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said the research proved voters were keen to change their relationship with alcohol.

"Alcohol has long been seen as an issue that's too hard to touch - but the poll shows this couldn't be further from the truth," he said.

Topics:  alcohol alcohol abuse drinking fred nile

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