Thursday, April 17, 2008

Consulting with children

Teenage children want the drinking age lowered. That's according to Teenagers’ views on solutions to alcohol misuse (Report on a National Consultation). The teens believe that the legal age for buying alcohol should be 16.

I didn't know until I saw this report that the Minister for Children had even established Children and Young People's Forum, which is comprised of children aged 12-18 (is 12 the new 'teen'?). The CYPF was formed in 2004 because "[t]here is a growing awareness of the need to involve children and young people directly in researching their lives". Apparently this idea is driven by "international best practice on participation by young people in decision-making".

This sort of thing drives me nuts. "International best practice"? Who decides what's "best practice" and what isn't? And where is this "growing awareness" taking place? I would doubt it's in the homes where most parents do their darndest to raise their children right. No, it comes from busy-body academics who love nothing better than dictating to others how to raise their children, etc. (while drawing their tax-payer funded salaries to engage in tax-payer funded 'research').

Look, I know there's a problem with drinking here and it starts at a young age. However, if instead of wasting tax-payers money on the CYPF and ridiculous research projects the government listened to parents I think they'd hear something along the lines of:
  1. Toughen the laws - make it illegal to sell alcohol to anyone without a proper state-issued ID; make it a crime on a par with drug-dealing for a legal drinker to supply alcohol to underage drinkers (excluding the family home)
  2. raise the drinking age - for the first time since I moved here I've been hearing this one a lot. 20 seems to be a minimum people think should be adopted.
This kind of consultative drivel is what you get when you create unnecessary government positions like the Minister for Children. That should just be scrapped.

I can't wait for the next gems to come from the Minister's office. I'm sure it'll be something along the lines of ... Consultation with children aged 5-11 indicates that they'd like a strictly enforced regime of three ice creams per day ...