Neo-wowsers have again attacked traditional Australian enjoyment by blowing the final siren on a pie and a beer at country footy matches.
The Victorian Government’s nasty little enforcer of health and safety fascism, VicHealth, has embarked on a $2million program to turn 100 sporting clubs in the Geelong region into “healthier places”.
Clubs will be banned from selling beer over 3 percent alcohol strength and “junk” food such as pies and hot dogs.
VicHealth’s commandant Todd Harper says the new restrictions don’t stop at food and drink. Clubs must reduce tobacco use, protect the public from harmful effects of UV, create a safe and inclusive environment for women and reduce race-based discrimination.
VicHealth’s totalitarian exercise has the support of local MPs, including the Minister responsible for the state’s disgusting record in handling abused children, Lisa Neville, and gagged backbencher Michael Crutchfield.
Neville and Crutchfield were photographed by the Geelong media endorsing the bullying measures.
The heavy-handed edicts have been slammed by former Geelong footy hero Sam Newman who rationally opined that whether to drink full-strength beer or eat a pie should be up to individuals, not regulators.
“The more you have the Government and council telling people what they should and shouldn’t do the more likely you are to have your life run by people with no authority to do so,” Newman told the Geelong Independent.
“One of the luxuries of life is being able to sometimes have a drink and sometimes eat junk food,” he said.
“Australia is one of the most over-regulated countries in the world and I don’t understand why people want to intrude in other people’s lives – you’re responsible for your own actions.”
The extreme measures reveal not just VicHealth’s disregard for individual choice, but their ignorance of the struggles country sporting clubs face to stay afloat.
Coping with ever-increasing regulations has some club officials voluntarily putting in the equivalent of a full working week on club business. On top of this is a non-stop battle to raise funds to keep clubs viable in a time of rising costs and decreasing sponsorship.
One of the few strong earners for clubs is in food and drink sales which will be savaged by these domineering measures.
And it’s not as if they’ll be effective anyway, particularly the heavy beer ban.
Clubs liquor sales in the Geelong and District Football League are already hammered by spectators driving into grounds with booze on board. This will only increase, particularly at non-fenced grounds.
No doubt VicHealth’s busy-bodies, remote as they are from social reality, would advocate car searches to combat this problem. Clubs are already battling for sufficient volunteers to man gates and manage teams, so it’s doubtful anyone will put up their hands to engage in confrontation with a carload of lager louts.
But will VicHealth stop with bans on booze and pastry? After all, footy is a contact sport and participants get injured and that is definitely unhealthy.
No, hypocrisy and inconsistency are state-sponsored interferers’ strong suits, so footy should be safe for now. As long as volunteers don’t give up in disgust.
And that could well be the upshot of this insidious piece of social control.