YDNEY (AFP) – Australia's binge-drinking culture has been starkly highlighted with 1,600 "boozed-up idiots" arrested by police in a hardline weekend crackdown on alcohol-fuelled violence and crime.

The trans-Tasman "Operation Unite", a two-day blitz on public alcohol abuse and related crime that ended Sunday, was the latest attempt to hammer home the message that drunken thugs will not be tolerated.

Almost two-thirds of the arrests were made in New South Wales state, followed by Western Australia, and included numerous assaults on police officers.

Other offences included drink-driving, urinating in public, failing to quit a licensed premises when asked and resisting arrest.

The Police Association of NSW slammed the "chaos and mayhem" that it says prevails in Australian cities every weekend and called for new strategies to attack the root causes of alcohol-related violence.

"Operation Unite has proved that our culture of alcohol and violence is out of control, with boozed-up idiots running wild all over the country," the association's acting president Pat Gooley said in a statement.

"We need a comprehensive strategy for tackling alcohol-fuelled violence -- one that addresses the causes of the problem, not just the symptoms."