By Andrew Starke
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called on state governments to limit opening hours of pubs and clubs as part of a harder line against street violence.
According to a report in The Australian, the PM is against venues being able to sell alcohol until 7am and contends that it is now time for a “better national approach’ to liquor licensing.
PM Rudd has no direct responsibility for liquor licensing laws but is known to periodically venture into social policy commentary, having previously criticised poker machines and binge drinking.
"I’m certainly up for the possibility of discussing with the premiers and the chief ministers how this can be done better," Rudd told ABC radio.
Asked directly about the fact that clubs and pubs could stay open until 4am or 5am, Rudd said: "I think we need to be drawing a harder line with that.
"I’m not a wowser. I think people should be allowed to go out to party and have a drink and some good times with their friends." But he said: "We’ve got to draw a line somewhere."
According to The Australian, Rudd said licensing issues were complex and only part of the problem.
He said youth organisations dealt with young people put into wheelchairs by street violence and that society had to "take a big breath" and ask itself what it could do to address the issue.
"I think licensing laws is one part of it," he said. "I don’t have a prescription … but I believe it’s a national discussion we’ve got to have across all the premiers.
He also said society was witnessing a major change in family structures, with young people facing family breakdown and often spending more time with their friends or on the internet than they spent with their families.
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