The alcohol industry known as ‘Big Alcohol’ has one aim – to make profits by persuading Australians to drink more alcohol. It seems that no matter how much we drink, it isn’t enough. Their business model appears to be we keep drinking ever more, without limit, and the liquor industry collects.
So now Big Alcohol is trying to silence voices that campaign for health based alcohol policy. Last week, the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand and Clubs Australia attacked the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE). FARE does a great job in funding research into alcohol policy issues and prevention and promoting evidence based policy. Clubs Australia and the Brewers complained to the Health Minister, Tanya Plibersek, that FARE breaks its charter by advocating for policy reform. Big Alcohol thinks organisations that receive government funding should not be allowed to speak out publicly.
Who else will provide the evidence to enable governments to make informed polices, laws and regulations? Who will remind governments and the public that the government receives around $7 billion in tax from the sale of alcohol each year, but alcohol problems and harms cost government $15 billion per year? Is this a good deal for the taxpayers, who pick up the tab? It seems that Big Alcohol does not want to be accountable for the harm they cause.
Their approach is to silence not-for-profits who advocate for all Australians (especially those who don’t have a voice) by using the evidence available.
Silencing us would mean that public advocacy is left to whom? Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco?
In a deregulated market the liquour industry has the freedom to self-monitor its marketing, advertising, and pricing and yet they are not satisfied – they want to silence anyone who criticises them.