Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been seen sculling a beer, just one year after making a public stance on binge drinking. In 2014, he wrote an opinion piece in The Courier Mail, which stated “The [problem is] the binge drinking culture, which has become all too prevalent among youngsters. Alcohol has and always will be part of life in our country – and most countries in the world. Our challenge as a people is to ensure that we get the balance right again.”
So, when the unpopular Australian leader was filmed downing a schooner of beer in under 10 seconds at a university football party in Sydney over the weekend, it soon headlined the national news and social media. Some people have commented that it was just a political stunt to make Abbott appear as “an ordinary man” in the hope of changing the polls around. Others have said that it clearly goes against his stance on binge drinking, and the fact that it was so easy for him to succumb to the pressure of pub goers chanting “scull” does not make him a positive role model for youngsters. Whatever one’s thoughts, does a Prime Minister sculling one beer mean he should be put under such huge public scrutiny?
However, in saying that, it should be noted that former Prime Minister Julia Gillard was put in the firing line time and time again for even less trivial matters, such as what she wore and the way she styled her hair. Surely there are more pressing matters, like the threat of terrorism and the rise of living cost pressures making it impossible for some people to make ends meet, that should be getting people’s attention. Also, the media is not totally to blame in this situation. While it is true that journalists are the ones reporting these “stories”, but if they did not receive traction from readers, viewers or listeners, these articles would not make it to the nation’s newspapers, magazines, television or radio broadcasts. Abbott’s beer drinking did not become one of the top stories of the day on its own, but had the help of hundreds and hundreds of people commenting and sharing the articles through social media to help it achieve trending status.
Why are people becoming so critical of others? Is it because of the emergence of social media, making it so people can hide behind their posts? Are people so upset with their own lives that it makes them happier to bring others down? Surely, the time has come to rally together as a nation, as a world, to say enough is enough – as a community, people should no longer waste time concentrating on trivial matters and putting others down for these petty things. There is so much going on at the moment that needs the nation’s attention. Instead, focus attention on trying to beat terrorism, finding a cure for cancer, jobs for the unemployed and homes for the homeless. Then, media outlets will follow, leaders will do their jobs better, and terrorism may be become a thing of the past, a cure for cancer may be found, and future children and grandchildren may not even know what being unemployed or homeless means. It can happen.
Opinion Written by Rebecca Brown