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Steering Group For Alcohol Advertising Review

31 May 2006

Steering Group For Alcohol Advertising Review

The Group Against Liquor Advertising, which was instrumental in getting this review set up, welcomes the appointment of Tim Harding and Tim Rochford, the two new independent Steering Group members.

"We doubt though, that the public has any idea of the undemocratic politics behind the scenes", said Chairperson Dr Viola Palmer.

In January, the first appointees included representatives of the very bodies that are to be evaluated, namely the Advertising Standards Authority and the Broadcasting Standards Authority. These members were given the power of veto over the selection of the two subsequent independent appointees. Thus many people with alcohol expertise were excluded as 'biased'. These industry bodies have millions of dollars annually of alcohol advertising revenue at stake. They have presided for years over alcohol advertising, while binge drinking and harm from alcohol increased. 'Unbiased? Yeah right'.

It is like appointing those on trial, to the jury.

The Steering Group has approved the two latest appointees. We know that these two will be a counterweight to the industry reps. We hope that they have sufficient expertise to refute the plausible industry arguments that alcohol advertising is harmless and should continue. We urge the media to monitor carefully this debate for signs of vested interest.

Unless radical changes to alcohol advertising, sponsorship and marketing are made, to alter the thinking about alcohol, and to stop the targeting of young people, there will be no observable benefit to the community.

Dr Viola Palmer


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