Mapping Australian public opinion on alcohol policies in the new millennium Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Drawing on 16 items in the 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS), the paper explores the degree to which Australian public opinion towards different alcohol policies cohere or diverge, and the social location of support for and resistance to more restrictive alcohol controls. Variations in support for particular policies by demographic groups, across states and territories and among those with difference drinking patterns are explored. The extent and direction in which attitudes have changed over time was determined. DESIGN AND METHODS: Sixteen items from the 2004 NDSHS were subjected to factor analysis. Both a single factor and a four-factor solution were derived and became the dependent variables for state/territory comparisons and multiple regression analyses determining the predictive power of respondents demographics and drinking behaviour. Trends over time in alcohol policy attitudes used the 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2004 NDSHS. RESULTS: More severe penalties against drink driving and stricter laws against serving customers who were drunk had the strongest support while policies that controlled accessibility to alcohol such as reducing trading hours received the least support. For all policies support was greater among females, older respondents and those drinking less. The individual's drinking pattern was as strong, and in some cases a stronger predictor of support than gender and age. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: While support for the majority of the alcohol policies decreased over the 11-year period since 1993, attitudes may be influenced and changed over a shorter period of time.

publication date

  • May 2009