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  1. 1

    Simon Chapman

    Cath, Drinkwise might “concur” with and “support” lots of things, but some of your board members do just the opposite. Take the recent publicity about the problem of on-tap energy drinks being served in pubs so young drinkers can get well and truly tanked while pepping themselves up to keep the drinks coming & the cash registers ticking over. One of your board members’ branches, the NSW AHA, was quoted in the public media saying they supported controls on energy drinks, but well, well .. in the bar trade press they were quick to reassure publicans that this was misreporting & there was no evidence that on tap energy drinks were a problem I bet the publicans are really worried they will lose this one!

    If Drinkwise is so concerned about the Jim Beam promotion, why stop at concern with campuses? Or is it only a problem when students see these promotions on campus, but not at the pub across the street from the campus? Or Jim Beam motor Racing

    Drinkwise is an organisation set up by the drinks industry to provide respectable “air cover” for some of its members on-going efforts to oppose any sort of control that would actually reduce problem drinking. As you are aware, these members profit hugely from dangerous levels of consumption.

    Drinkwise appears to be silent on every evidence-based policy that international expert consensus says should be introduced and loud on feel-good, mostly useless mini-campaigns that in the absence of parallel policies on issues like restricted opening hours, advertising restrictions, increased taxation, and raising the drinking age do little but enhance your industry’s image among the gullible.

  2. 2

    Mike Daube

    What a strange contribution from Cath Peachey, CEO of the drinks industry’s Drinkwise offshoot!

    From an alcohol-funded pulpit, and without even bothering to check what we actually do, she “calls on” regular Croakey contributors from academe such as Simon Chapman and myself to play a role in addressing alcohol issues within our institutions. Did she bother to check about what’s actually happening? (If she had bothered to check last week’s media she would have seen that the Oktoberfest at Curtin University will not happen this year, following curbs imposed by university management). Does she seriously imagine that we aren’t already concerned about these issues?

    She tries to maintain the fiction that Drinkwise is independent – when it is a creature of the drinks industry, and six of its twelve Board members are from the industry.
    She writes that “DrinkWise does speak out on practices that normalise or sustain a binge drinking culture”. She cites as examples one tepid comment in response to a media query and one media release about energy drinks that could have been written as a textbook example of how not to seek attention.

    But where does Drinkwise “speak out” about the hundreds of millions being spent each year by the drinks industry promoting its products?

    Where does Drinkwise “speak out” about the exposure of children and young people to promotion of alcohol through sports sponsorship?

    Where does Drinkwise “speak out” about price policy to discourage risky and harmful drinking?

    Where does Drinkwise “speak out” about the current hopelessly inadequate system of alcohol industry advertising self-regulation?

    Where does Drinkwise “speak out” to condemn the irresponsible marketing practises of companies such as Diageo and the other distillers, CUB, Fosters, Lion Nathan and the Winemakers, all of whom are represented on its Board?

    Where does Drinkwise “speak out” about the alcohol advertising media schedules that ensure young people are often disproportionately exposed to alcohol promotion

    The Diageo alcopops casks, to which we initially drew public attention, are indeed appallingly irresponsible (and still being promoted in today’s media – now at the reduced price of $21.99 for ten standard drinks) – but where does Drinkwise “speak out” to condemn the development and promotion of a wide range of similarly sugary confections that mask the taste of alcohol and enable children and young people to get drunk at ease and at speed? I don’t recall Drinkwise “speaking out” in support of the alcopops tax when it was under attack from the Distillers – who are represented on the Drinkwise Board.

    It is kind of Ms Peachey to advise us on where we should focus our efforts. I suspect that most of us will give her advice all the attention it merits.

    Professor Mike Daube
    Director, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth

  3. 3

    Peter Miller

    Drinkwise is looking for someone to blame as long as its not the producers of these irresponsible products (that sit on their board) or the people who retail them (like the licensees with energy drinks on tap). First they tried to blame parents, now Universities. Universities should be ashamed of their collaboration with drinks companies, including accepting research funding from public relations bodies such as Drinkwise.

    As to the independence of Drinkwise – their own statements say it best: In a recounting of a public forum discussing the role of Drinkwise, Ms Trish Worth, the paid chairwoman of Drinkwise acknowledged that what she said had to reflect the opinions of her board.

    So could Drinkwise push for change in an area such as sponsorship or labelling? ”I hope that one day we might,” (The Age, December 5, 2009:

    She was further quoted in the article saying that “We operate in the space that we can”.


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