Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #55
Issue no. 55
In this Issue
  • Welcome to Alcohol Action Station
  • Did you know?
  • Behaviour of Bottle Shops is an “Absolute Disgrace”: WA Police Commissioner
  • Video Conference Invitation: Want to Learn More About Alcohol Advocacy?
  • Seen An Alcohol Ad That Concerns You?
  • 10 Ways to Reduce Alcohol Harm: FARE
  • Strong Support for Alcohol Policy
  • NSW Liquor Promotion Guidelines Outrage
  • Game Changer: Racing For Alcohol-Free Sport
  • Alcohol in the Media
  • The Facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

With a Federal election approaching (although we don’t know exactly when), this is a good opportunity to let your local candidates know that you are concerned about alcohol-related harm in the community and show your support for action to prevent harm. 
Your local Member of Parliament is supposed to represent the interests of their electorate – they want to know what issues their constituents are concerned about. So let them know. 
If you have a particular concern, be it young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising , the availability of cheap alcohol, political donations from the alcohol industry, community education about alcohol-related harm, or anything else, this is a good time to contact your local candidates for Federal Parliament and express your concerns.
To find out which federal electorate you live in and the name of your House of Representatives Member, visit the Australian Electoral Commission website and enter your postcode. To find their contact details, visit the Parliament of Australia website and search their name. To find your other local candidates for Federal Parliament, visit each party’s website.
For tips on writing to politicians, check out the Public Health Advocacy Institute’s Advocacy Toolkit (page 54).
We’d love to know if you have sent a letter to your local candidates. Send us your stories at
Until next time,
Danica Keric, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Megan Farley, Injury Control Council WA

did you know?

74% of Australians believe that more needs to be done to address alcohol-related harms.
Source: FARE 2013 Annual Alcohol Poll: Attitudes and Behaviours.Encourage others to take action on alcohol. Forward this to a friend.
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Behaviour of Bottle Shops is an “Absolute Disgrace”: WA Police Commissioner

7 out of 10 WA bottleshops sold alcohol to teenage police cadets without checking their age in an operation which saw young-looking 18 and 19-year-old WA Police cadets visit 100 city liquor outlets this month.Karl_O'Callaghan
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan described the behaviour of takeaway liquor retailers as an “absolute disgrace”. “If 18-year-olds are not being checked then it is just as likely 16 and 17-year-olds will walk in and not be checked”, he said.
The results raise questions about the Australian Liquor Stores Association’s (ALSA) policy to ask customers who look under 25 for ID. "Unsurprisingly the (ALSA) statement and commitment turn out to be a joke," Mr O'Callaghan said.
Police believe this operation shows why they need powers to conduct controlled purchase operations with underage young people to crack down on outlets selling alcohol to minors. There is wide support for controlled purchase operations. This can be seen in submissions to the Liquor Control Act review from groups including WA Police, the Commissioner for Children and Young People, McCusker Centre, Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia, Drug and Alcohol Office, and the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies.
Premier Colin Barnett has rejected calls to introduce controlled purchase operations for alcohol despite similar powers being available in regard to tobacco.
The Liquor Control Act Review Committee is expected to report their findings later this year.
What can I do?
Want more?
Read The West Australian news report.

Video Conference Invitation: Want to Learn More About Alcohol Advocacy?

Interested in preventing alcohol and other drug-related harm? Want to learn more about advocacy strategies and working with the media?
Prof Mike Daube and Julia Stafford from the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth will present a grassroots alcohol and other drugs advocacy video conference on Tuesday 13 August.working_together
Topics will include:
  • What is advocacy?
  • Challenges and opportunities of advocacy
  • Tips for planning advocacy
  • Developing key messages
The video conference will explore examples of advocacy at the local, state and national level and will briefly introduce unpaid media strategies.
To register, download and fill out this registration form. Registrations close soon, so hurry!

Seen An Alcohol Ad That Concerns You?

Seen an alcohol ad that concerned you? Contact the Alcohol Advertising Review Board!AARB
The Alcohol Advertising Review Board accepts complaints from the Australian community about alcohol ads and aims to provide independent review of alcohol advertising in Australia.
Making a complaint is simple – just send a pic or link to the advertisement (if you can) and briefly describe why it concerns you. At you will find an online form and contact details to submit complaints.
Check out some recent determinations:
Follow the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (@AlcoholAdReview) on Twitter.

10 Ways to Reduce Alcohol Harm: FARE

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has released its 2013 Election Platform, calling on all parties to demonstrate leadership on alcohol policy.FARE_Election_Platform
FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says industry influence and political weakness are the only factors preventing action being taken to reduce the toll. “There is a lack of political leadership here. Instead of having a tin ear to this issue, our political leaders should be standing up and leading the Australian community in tackling it”, says Mr Thorn.
FARE says its 10-point plan would reduce alcohol related harm. “Australians want government to take strong action to address alcohol harms”, says Mr Thorn.
The 10-point plan includes:
  • Demonstrate leadership on alcohol policy by developing a comprehensive national alcohol strategy with clear targets
  • Tax wine as alcohol and stop taxpayer funded rebates that result in alcohol being sold for as cheap as 25 cents a standard drink
  • Safeguard Australian children and adolescents from the prolific promotion of alcoholic beverages by prohibiting alcohol industry advertising on television before 8.30pm and introducing independent regulation of alcohol marketing
  • Protect Australian children and adolescents from incessant alcohol marketing at sporting and cultural events by banning alcohol industry sponsorship
  • Ban political donations from the alcohol industry and develop a code of conduct on government engagement with industry
  • Prevent and address the invisible disability caused by prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Raise awareness of the significant harms that result from alcohol consumption during pregnancy, by introducing mandatory alcohol pregnancy warning labels.
“Australians don’t understand why the major parties continue to ignore raising alcohol harms. They rightfully question why governments refuse to adopt measures proven to be effective in reducing harms. Regardless of their voting intentions, a majority of Australians believe Governments need to do more to address this issue, and in the lead up to the Federal Election, we are calling on our political leaders to listen to our concerns”, says Mr Thorn. 
Want more?
Read the Canberra Times piece and FARE’s 2013 Election Platform.
What can I do?
Write to the Minister for Health and Medical Research, the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP and Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins in support of FARE’s Election Platform and call on them to implement the 10-point plan. You may also like to write to the Shadow Ministers for Health and Mental Health, the Hon Peter Dutton MP and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells. For tips on writing to politicians check out the Public Health Advocacy Institute’s Advocacy Toolkit (page 54).

Strong Support for Alcohol Policy

To coincide with the release of their Election Platform, FARE, in association with the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, has released a new study measuring attitudes of Australians toward alcohol policy reforms. Australian attitudes towards alcohol policy: 1995-2010 shows that a majority of Australians support a broad range of measures to reduce alcohol harms.
Key findings
  • 73% of Australians support limited advertising for alcohol on TV until after 9.30pm
  • 66% of Australians support information on national drinking guidelines on all alcohol containers
  • 63% of Australians support standard drink labels on alcohol containers
  • 65% of Australians support measures restricting late trading
  • 49.5% of Australians support a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events
Between 2001 and 2010, there has been a significant increase in support among Australians for:
  • Increasing the price of alcohol
  • Reducing the number of outlets
  • Reducing trading hours
  • Raising the drinking age
  • Restricting late night trading
  • Monitoring late night premises
  • Limiting the amount of TV advertising; and
  • Banning sponsorship in sport.
Read the full report here.

NSW Liquor Promotion Guidelines Outrage

Alcohol blog Drink Tank has put a spotlight on shameful practices by the alcohol industry and the NSW Government in an exclusive feature on the full extent of the alcohol industry influence on the draft liquor promotion guidelines in NSW. drink_tank_exclusive
Drink Tank has made available 88 documents subpoenaed from the NSW Government which reveal the “unfettered access granted to the industry” to the review of the guidelines. Check them out for yourself!
Among the documents is correspondence between liquor industry representatives and NSW Government staff with suggestions of line-by-line changes to the draft guidelines.
Three blogs have been published on Drink Tank in relation to the guidelines and the industry influence:
Well done Drink Tank for putting a spotlight on these shameful practices!

Game Changer: Racing For Alcohol-Free Sport

Game Changer, a campaign tacking unhealthy advertising in sport, has announced a new Ambassador, former Australian Rally Champion Razvan Vlad.Game_Changer_Car
Razvan Vlad hopes that his involvement with the community-led campaign will make people more aware of the way alcohol and fast food are marketed to them through sport. “I have always been fascinated by advertising and the power it has over people. It is simply wrong that Aussie children are being targeted and exposed to the harmful products through the promotion of alcohol and fast food in sport”, says Razvan.
Also joining Razvan in championing Game Changer is his wife, team doctor, and navigator on tarmac rallies, Ioanna, who is also an emergency department doctor at Perth’s Charles Gairdner Hospital. “Sports should be encouraging the adoption of healthy lifestyles, but the aggressive promotion of alcohol seems to results, not in people taking up sport, but instead, alcohol-fuelled violence with lifetime consequences”, she says.
Grassroots campaigner and founder of Game Changer Aaron Schultz, is excited to see his campaign spread. “I am really pleased to see the Game Changer campaign resonating with so many Australians throughout the country. So many parents are concerned about the promotion of alcohol, fast food and gambling in sport. Game Changer gives those people a chance to be heard, and a chance to join a growing movement. As a Game Changer Ambassador, Razvan will get the Game Changer message out to even more Australians and let them know they are not alone in their concerns,” Mr Schultz said.

Want more?
Read the DrinkTank blog about the campaign and its new Ambassador.
What can I do?

Alcohol in the Media

Liquor stings entrapment: Premier
The West Australian, 31 July 2013
A proposal to use underage police cadets for stings on liquor outlets has been rejected by Colin Barnett as “entrapment”, even though similar powers are available to target irresponsible cigarette vendors.
Liquor stores fail police ID test
The West Australian, 30 July 2013
WA’s top cop says the behaviour of takeaway liquor retailers is an “absolute disgrace” after more than seven out of 10 sold teenage police cadets alcohol without checking their age.
Alcohol-free pledge to urge Aussies to make better choices
The Queensland Times, 29 July 2013
Queensland’s battle with binge-drinking has prompted the state’s doctor to join forces with the group Hello Sunday Morning to change the culture.

Election push for alcohol TV ban
WA Today, 28 July 2013
Alcohol commercials should be banned from television before 8.30pm and the alcohol industry banned from sponsoring sporting and cultural events under far-reaching proposals designed to curb the “control” of the companies.
Public must have biggest say on liquor laws
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2013
The O’Farrell government didn’t want the public to see the changes it made at the behest of the supermarket giants to the new liquor promotion guidelines finally released in watered-down form last week.
State loses twice when XXXX beats VB
Brisbane Times, 18 July 2013
Every day there is another story about alcohol violence.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education figures show binge drinking injuries on the rise
The Courier-Mail, 18 July 2013
Binge drinking in Queensland is on the rise with new figures showing a 30 per cent spike of presentations at hospital emergency departments within the past five years.

The Facts

  1. Harm from alcohol is preventable.
  2. There is no single magic bullet to address harm from alcohol.
  3. A comprehensive approach is needed to have the greatest impact on alcohol-related harm.1
Source: 1. National Preventative Health Taskforce 2009. Australia: The Healthiest Country by 2020 – National Preventative Health Strategy – the roadmap for action.
Alcohol Action Station aims to provide the WA community with the tools to take action to reduce harms from alcohol among young people. It is provided by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in association with the Injury Control Council of WA. You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Alcohol Action Station fortnightly e‐newsletters and urgent bulletins.

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