Australian Greens Bill aims to ban ‘junk food’ television advertisements

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 21st November 2011

Junk food advertisements will be banned from commercial television at certain times of the day in Australia if a new Bill introduced today by the Australian Greens party is passed.

The ‘Protecting Children from Junk Food Advertising (Broadcasting and Telecommunications Amendment)’ private member’s bill seeks a ban on “junk food” advertisements on commercial television from 6-9am and 4-9pm on weekdays, and from 6am-12pm and 4-9pm on weekends and school holidays.

Junk food is defined by the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing as “energy-dense nutrient-poor food”.

The Bill also seeks to prohibit usage of the internet and digital services such as SMS and email to promote junk food to children.

Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown introduced the Bill into the Australian Senate today. He claimed, “Self-regulation has clearly failed and the Australian parliament has a duty to act. This Bill is about the wellbeing of our community and future generations.”

The Bill has won the support from the Obesity Policy Coalition, which is an advocacy group consisting of Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia, VicHealth and Deakin University’s World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on Obesity Prevention.

AFGC responds to proposed Bill

Meanwhile, the Australian Food & Grocery Council (AFGC) today rejected the claims that junk food advertising to children is “not going away”.

AFGC Chief Executive Officer Kate Carnell said the proposed legislation was not about advertising to children but “advertising to families”.

“Industry believes that banning HFSS food advertising when families watch TV together, simply amounts to censorship,” Ms Carnell said. “Surely families can make a decision on what a healthy diet looks like for them.  But when children watch TV alone, without supervision, it’s a different matter – during these programs, industry does have a responsibility to advertise healthy foods.

“We must remember that food advertising doesn’t cause obesity, eating too much and exercising too little makes people obese and overweight,” Ms Carnell added.