A LOCAL MP believes the vicious coward punch problem unravelling across the state was much more than alcohol-related violence.
Rather, member for Barwon Kevin Humphries said illegal drugs like steroids are fuelling the behaviour.
The MP who is also Minister for Healthy Lifestyles believes some of the problem drills right down to body image.
“These random acts of more serious violence, these random acts of king-hits, they’re not all happening late at night,” he said.
“I have no doubt, it’s about drug use as well.”
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation make up part of his portfolio, and Mr Humphries said there were strong trends that stood out.
“It’s this whole issue of body image, they’re pretty typically young males,” he said.
“Combine that with the recent random violent acts ... methamphetamine and steroids are a dangerous recipe,” he said. And while he said the government was listening to community concerns, there was no quick fix, rather now it’s time to talk.
“If you want to change their behaviour and their attitude then you have to embark on discussion,” Mr Humphries said.
“The government can do so much and we will continue to tighten the rules.
“Obviously there has to be punishments and law and order ... but at the end of the day the community will have to have a far more serious discussion.”
Calls for action on alcohol-related violence and booze-fuelled assaults have been strengthening after a string of serious assaults in Sydney in recent months.
The growing chorus has included families of victims, health professionals and even frontline emergency service personnel.
But Mr Humphries said there was no one-sized fits all solution.
“Lock outs don’t mean anything in the country,” he said.
“It’s 80/20 – 80 per cent of this issue is all about personal responsibility, 20 per cent is about regulation.
“It’s now up to the community, obviously we’re are part of that as well.”
Mr Humphries said positive role models in sport and society, as well as education, and looking out for one another, can make a difference.
So too can using peer pressure in a positive way.
“We live in a community where boundaries are hard to see these days,” he said.
“No doubt there will be more work done in schools, far more work done in sporting organisations.
“It’s that bravado macho image which has got to be changed.”