The Sad Truth About Stuart Kelly’s Speech

Thomas Kelly’s brother, Stuart, gave an emotional and moving tribute to his brother in September 2015. It was a speech full of poignant, elegant points about alcohol related violence.

Violence is a terrible feature of the human condition. We all know people who are affected by violence. We all know people who have had their lives changed forever. But unfortunately, we all know that violence in human society is inevitable.

The sad truth is that the human condition has violence attached to it, intrinsically. And violence isn’t going to go away thanks to the stomp of government regulation.

As much as I feel for the Kelly family personally, they have also inflicted their own pain onto the lives of every single Sydney-sider. Violence is never the province of the many, but the choice of the individual.

I know plenty of people who drink alcohol to excess but are never violent. I know people who have never touched a drop and are excessively so. The reality is it isn’t the drink that makes people violent — that’s a cop out. It’s the people themselves.

Our legislators need to think long and hard about this issue. Policy-making cannot be an emotional decision, as the Kelly’s try to force it to be. It must be objective. And it must on balance. By all means punish those who offend, who create violence, who contribute to an unsafe environment in our great city.

But don’t inflict the emotional toll of one poor, suffering family’s mindset onto the lives of every Sydney sider. Not only is that not fair, but it’s a disingenuous representation of the real problem.

The sad truth is it’s the people, not the alcohol, who are violent. And that’s a truth we’ve all got to remember.