The New South Wales government has backed calls for “king hit” attacks to instead be referred to as “coward punches”.
It comes after the family of Daniel Christie released a statement expressing gratitude for the support of doctors, police and the general public.
The 18-year-old is in a critical condition in St Vincent’s Hospital after being assaulted in Kings Cross on New Year’s Eve.
Builder Shaun McNeil, 25, has been charged over the attack and remains behind bars. McNeil also faces charges over attacks on four other people on the same night.
“We don’t agree with the popular term ‘king-hit’,” the family statement reads. “We have heard it referred to as a ‘coward punch’, which seems to be more appropriate. We have all been affected so much by this tragedy and our clear focus remains with our son and brother through this difficult time.”
State Police Minister Mike Gallacher says he agrees about the use of the term “coward punch”.
“The only people that wouldn’t embrace this would be cowards that would punch people indiscriminately in such a way,” he said.
“The entire community has got to do this. This has got to be called for what it is. It’s a coward, gutless punch, and that’s exactly what it’s got to be called from this moment on.”
Mr Gallacher says it could help embarrass and shame attackers.
“As long as they are shamed when they hit somebody, irrespective of whether they cause significant damage as they’ve done with Daniel and they’ve done with others, or indeed just indiscriminately hitting people on the side of the road, this will be something that I think will remain with them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
As the pressure ramps up to introduce toucher alcohol licensing regulations, a leading advocate for alcohol reform has accused New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell of bowing to pressure from the Australian Hotels Association.
The President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Dr Alex Wodak, says the government has found excuses not to extend measures to curb alcohol violence in Newcastle, to Sydney.
No shots are served in Newcastle after 10pm, no patrons are allowed into a venue after 1am, and no alcohol can be sold after 3am.
Dr Wodak says the Premier had promised to introduce strong measures to curb alcohol-related violence when he was in Opposition.
“I really find it offensive that the Premier of this state is singing from the Australian Hotels Association’s song sheet,” he said.
“All I want Barry O’Farrell to do is stick to the promises that he made when he was the leader of then opposition in 2008, when he called for exactly the sorts of things that everybody is calling for now.”
Dr Wodak says measures by the Government do not go far enough.
“They’re sound bites that sound good, that have no doubt been focus-tested by the AHA,” he said.
“Let’s come up with policies that have been tried in several parts of the world and that have really worked.”