Secondary supply laws were introduced into Western Australia in November 2015. In order to ensure the public are educated about these laws, the WA Government needs to allocate more funding for a sustained and comprehensive education campaign about not supplying alcohol to minors on a private premise without parental permission and the reasons why.
In this context, here are my 5 tips for parents:
1. No alcohol under 18 is the safest choice.
2. Alcohol can affect brain development of minors.
3. Adult role modelling strongly influences adolescent behaviour.
4. Parental non-supply of alcohol to minors reduces the consumption of alcohol.
5. The penalty for secondary supply to minors is a fine of $10,000.
Many parents are not clear about gaining permission from other parents to provide alcohol to minors at parties. Direct communication between the host and the parent or guardian of the minor is always best. A telephone call, text message or email conversation can be more effective than a permission slip (as signatures can be forged easily). This is also a good way for parents to connect and to know that their child will be in a safe environment.
Gatherings without alcohol are a great option also. This is a positive step toward changing the notion that every celebration must have alcohol. With more young people in Australia choosing not to drink alcohol, this type of gathering may actually be welcomed.
Another piece of advice is to never drop your child at a gathering without going to the door. A friend recently discovered that at a 16th birthday party her son was attending, the parents were not home. These parents were not aware of the party at their house and that their 21-year-old son was supervising it. Sadly, alcohol was being sold to minors also. Consequently my friend’s son returned home with her and did not remain at the gathering.
Parents can play a vital role in changing attitudes and helping their children to avoid the dangers of under-age alcohol consumption. If you would like more information, please visit alcoholthinkagain.com.au/
Sam Menezes is a well-respected blogger who played a vital role in advocating for the secondary supply law in WA.