NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione last year noted the extraordinary decline in violent assaults near Sydney pubs and clubs just one year after new drinking laws were introduced.
The numbers spoke for themselves. According to Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research statistics, assaults were down by 32 per cent in Kings Cross and down by a massive 40 per cent in central Sydney after new laws were put in place in 2014 for 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks.
It is vital that we never forget the tragic reasons for those new laws.
The Daily Telegraph launched our “Enough” campaign following the shocking one-punch deaths of Daniel Christie and Thomas Kelly, two innocent young men whose senseless killings outraged Sydney.
Public fury was such that the government had no option but to enforce more sensible drinking legislation.
Now from Queensland comes a horrific reminder of why those laws had to be introduced and why even the briefest of attacks can be life ending for victims and potentially life destroying for the families of victims.
Teenager Cole Miller died in hospital in Brisbane yesterday afternoon after being attacked during the early hours of Sunday morning. The alleged circumstances of the attack will be dreadfully familiar to anyone who followed the cases of Christie and Kelly and the trials and convictions of the young men who killed them.
Miller, just 18 years old, was allegedly struck once in the back of the head and then hit the pavement. Police allege that Miller and a friend were approached by two 21-year-old men who challenged them to a fight. The single deadly blow allegedly followed.
The 21-year-old pair subsequently faced Brisbane Magistrates Court today after being charged with grievous bodily harm over the assault. They are next due in court in February — most likely with additional charges.
In the immediate wake of Miller’s death, the words of Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath echoed the mood in Sydney following our own tragedies.
“No parent ever wants to get the news about their child dying, and dying at the hands of a violent incident,” she said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Miller family right now.”
As do the thoughts and prayers of all Australians. Excessive drinking, of course, is just part of Australia’s problem with young male violence. A culture of acceptance has long surrounded violence, with some still tolerating it as a form of passage into adulthood.
It isn’t. It is a passage to prison. And, for the victims, it is a passage to senseless death.