2011/11: Should the legal drinking age be increased to 21?

Introduction to the media issue

Video clip at right:
On February 8, 2010, Kevin Rudd was a guest on the ABC’s public discussion program Q & A. The audience was young people. The then prime minister indicated he personally favoured increasing the legal drinking age. If you cannot see this clip, it will be because video is blocked by your network. To view the clip, access from home or from a public library, or from another network which allows viewing of video clips.

What they said...
'There is clear evidence a higher drinking age reduces deaths and accidents by 12 per cent. It also reduces violence by at least the same percentage, and other alcohol-related harms'
Professor John Toumbourou, chair of health psychology at Deakin University

'Eighteen-year-olds can vote to change government, get married, have children, enter into legally-binding contracts and are treated as adults by the justice system...'
Queensland premier, Anna Bligh

The issue at a glance
On June 23, 2011, the Western Australian Health and Education Standing Committee presented its report on alcohol misuse and management to the Western Australian Parliament. The report, titled 'Alcohol: Reducing the Harm and Curbing the Culture of Excess', made a series of recommendations.
The report's eighteenth recommendation is that there should be community input on whether Western Australia should raise the legal age at which alcohol can be purchased and consumed to 20 or 21 years.
A variety of medical authorities have supported the proposal, while it has been opposed in a number of quarters, including by the liquor industry and hoteliers.