Who would have thought it? Australia’s Labor Party, the Ruddites, and the ANC Youth League have something in common. Both of them campaign against youth binge drinking and both of them are given to enjoying a drink or two. Or three.
The Daily Telegraph, Australia’s equivalent of the Citizen, is featuring this story on members of Young Labor* who left their hotel rooms in Canberra in a “disgraceful” mess during a Young Labor conference. One witness said:
“Both nights the behaviour was appalling — drinking, raucous and boisterous conduct throughout both nights, littering the property and leaving several of their ‘partying’ rooms in disarray. Despite countless warnings on arrival, from staff and security on both evenings, they continued to arrogantly ignore requests.”
These kinds of revelations are the sort of thing that the Rudd government could do without. Currently under fire for failing to halt petrol price increases, the increase in tax on alcopops in an attempt to stop youth binge drinking has come in for criticism. Some charge that young Australians will simply switch to other forms of booze, though the fact that Aussies consume more Bacardi Breezers and Smirnoff Spins than any country in the world will have lent credibility to the campaign:
“Australians drink an average 15,7 litres of alcopop beverages, compared to 7,7 litres in New Zealand and just 2,1 litres in the US, according the figures compiled by Impact Databank.”
The behaviour of Young Labor makes the Ruddites look like a bunch of hypocrites, much in the same way that the ANCYL’s boozing and mooning in Bloemfontein diminish the credibility of its campaign to ban sales of alcohol on Sundays. When Fikile Mbalula first mooted the idea back in February, the fetchingly and intriguingly named chairperson of the South African Liquor Traders’ Association, Saint Madlala, said:
“They [ANCYL] should avoid the temptation of treating us like drunkards. They should not disregard us.”
The ANCYL, once a rich source of insults for my books, has been issuing disappointingly lucid statements since the election of Julius Malema, but it has found its inner dominee and it is not going to let him go. Still, it would be nice if, for once, politicians and political parties could actually practise what they preach, instead of reminding us that while all of us may be equal, some are more equal than others.
* For some reason, there is no u in Australia’s Labor party.