Shouldn't be difficult to land a complimentary drink at the Victorian Police headquarters this Christmas.

The Vic cops will have more money than they will know what to do with.

That's if they follow through on their threat/promise to land instant fines on those found drunk at the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival which begins this afternoon.

Good luck with that.


Derby Day this afternoon is not one for the revellers. Group races across the board and judged by many, this writer included, as overall the world's finest raceday.

Thursday is Oaks Day. Used to be nicknamed Ladies' Day, now Mans' Day for reasons that should be obvious. Sobriety is a lot more difficult to find than Derby Day. Much easier on Emirates Day next Saturday, when only the true race enthusiast shows up, the remainder of Melbourne resting punished livers.

Cup Day? Well, you have to have been to one to really appreciate it.

Commander Russell Barrett has issued orders to his troops to instantly fine anyone found drunk on any of the four days $622 and for being drunk and disorderly, $777, the amounts being a touch mystifying.

The Melbourne Cup is not a horse race, it is an institution and part of every Australian's heritage.

In keeping with the respect only Australians can heap on their heritage - Waltzing Matilda would not have survived in any other country - they fully embrace such an important part of their history.

Champagne breakfasts before leaving home are traditional, setting up for a messy late afternoon.

Commander Barrett told the media: "I've worked this event for many years and I've seen a gradual improvement."

Gradual perhaps, but that's subjective. As someone who has attended 23 of the past 28 Melbourne Cups, this writer can tell you, you have never seen debauchery on this scale.

Much of this latest directive probably flows from last year's Melbourne Cup when "girl in the blue dress", aka Sarah Finn, in fun and in full view of television cameras, pushed Acting Superintendent Steven Cooper into a flower bed as she was leaving Flemington.

She was later charged. Okay, bad behaviour, but if landing on his back on a bed of daisies pushed by a 55kg girl was the worst thing to have happened to the 30-something Cooper last year, he had a very good year.

Do the math: the crowd will be close to 100,000 Cup Day. If the police issue $622 fines to 10 per cent - and you could round those up in 30 minutes after the Cup at 3.25pm - that's $6,220,000. If 20 per cent are caught drunk and disorderly, and you'd have to be blindfolded to miss them, that's $15.5 million.

And without a breath test the definition of drunk is subjective.

Call me a cynic, but this ain't going to work. It's typical of police policy in this part of the world in recent years. New Zealand is woefully short of front line police - Winston Peters puts it 1500 short - and the only option the coppers have is to damp down major sporting/entertainment events to make less work for themselves.

Message to government: put more police on the beat and leave our enjoyment alone.

The Victorian attitude is shameful. The Melbourne Cup was born along with the formation of what is Australian. They are doing it irreparable damage.

Looking forward to that drink Christmas Eve.

Or not.