STOP BUYING KIDS BOOZE
By WILL JACKSON
TIM COSTELLO has called for parents to examine their own behaviour before complaining about their children's.
Amid increasing concern about under-age drinking on the Northern Rivers the social campaigner said that it was the parents' responsibility to be good role models.
"People will always complain 'my kids never do what I say', but they always do what you do," Mr Costello told The Northern Star on Saturday.
Mr Costello's comments come in support of police pleas for Northern Rivers parents to take responsibility for their offspring following an increase in under-age drinking at unsupervised parties.
Tweed-Byron Superintendent Michael Kenny said he was appalled that parents were giving their under-age children large amounts of alcohol and dropping them off at parties.
Officers called to an out-ofcontrol birthday party attended by more than 300 revellers at Pottsville recently stopped three boys and girls aged 14 and 15 who had cartons of pre-mixed drinks and beer, he said.
"They said they got the alcohol from their parents to share with their friends," Supt Kenny said.
"There was that much alcohol at the party there were still full bot- tles left over the next morning, including entire cartons of beer."
Teenagers were getting so drunk they needed to be taken to hospital, he said.
Mr Costello said society had created a 'toxic culture' for children based on material concerns resulting in self-destructive behaviour.
He said it was important that parents take responsibility for their children.
"Set a good example. Don't drink to excess in front of them," Mr Costello said.
"When you're exhausted after a hard week at work, don't just give your teenager $50 and send them off to get rid of them. Spend time with them."
Mr Costello, who is the chief executive of World Vision Australia, a Baptist minister and brother of Federal Treasurer Peter Costello, stayed at Lismore Soup Kitchen founder Ridley Bell's blueberry farm at Wollongbar.
He was here to speak at a sold-out gala dinner in support of Sudanese refugee helper Sanctuary Northern Rivers Inc on Friday night and participate in a forum at the Northern Rivers Baptist Conference at Alstonville on Saturday.
He will also speak at a fundraiser tonight at the Ballina Turf Club on the topic 'Is there a positive future for our children?' Money raised will go to Centacare in Bal- lina and Lismore Soup Kitchen.
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