Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss says the public shouldn’t rely on governments to stop alcohol-fuelled violence.
His comments come after NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell this week announced measures to curb the problem, including earlier nightclub lockout times, a new offence for fatal one-punch assaults, and increased police powers.
Mr Truss welcomed Mr O’Farrell’s “decisive action”, but was reluctant to encourage other states to follow suit, saying it was a matter for them.
He added that in the end, the trend would stop only when people took responsibility for their actions.
“Governments can’t legislate for people to be on good behaviour,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
“All we can do is provide penalties and disincentives when, in fact, people do the wrong thing.
“People have got to take responsibility for their own lives, recognise the impact on people that they may hurt as the result of some silly drunken violence but also on their own lives.”
Mr Truss said governments could make it easier for people to be jailed, but they could not solve the problem.
“I think it’s high time people were more respectful of the rights of others and we recognise our responsibility to behave well and don’t just depend on government laws to try to curb this kind of ridiculous violence,” he said.
Mr O’Farrell’s reform package was announced following the death of alleged one-punch victim Daniel Christie after a night out in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve, and a brutal assault on Michael McEwen in Bondi on December 14.