After my recent one-hour interview with the Member for Doncaster, Mary Wooldridge, it was discovered that the secondary supply law due to come into effect in Feb 2012 will NOT include BYO alcohol at teen parties.
In my experience of planning and protecting 700 teen events, most problems have been with drinks brought by guests and not managed by parents.
This secondary supply law omission, therefore, is a massive oversight!
Last fortnight, both parties (in Croydon and Geelong) which hit the media were BYO. In fact, most parties we hear about for all the wrong reasons are due to problems caused by BYO alcohol.
MP Wooldridge cited figures on teens overindulging at parties where parents supplied the alcohol.
I’m unsure how these figures were collated, given that police don’t keep records on how many out-of-control parties they attend.
This is something I’ve been pushing for. Wouldn’t it be better to have hard data on out-of-control parties so we can determine objectively why they’re going off the rails?
BYO parties are by far the most volatile, because no-one controls the alcohol.
The secondary supply law doesn’t cover BYO. This means that once this law is passed, we’ll see more BYO teen parties because host parents may find it too difficult to get guest parent permission for their kids to drink at these events.
Furthermore, we still don’t know what sort of permission is required (email? hand-written note?). Nor do we know how such permissions will be authenticated.
MP Wooldridge also said there’d be huge amounts of money spent on an awareness campaign. What happens then? I’ll tell you. More people will have BYO parties and no-one will be accountable again and again.
Planning to Fail
Some states already have secondary supply laws, but these have failed to control private parties. (Click here for Queensland’s latest nightmare.)
If Victoria’s secondary supply legislation also fails, as I’m sure it will, I believe we must look at teen party legislation for a solution.
A holistic approach is infinitely better. Parents must be accountable for every party they plan. Duty of care is THE most important factor. This makes far more sense than having police chase every underage partygoer (who’s drinking host-supplied alcohol) for a note from their parents.
This seems the height of impracticality to me.
What do you think?
Naomi Oakley, Founder, Safe Partying Australia.