Call for disbanding of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th July 2012

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has called for the disbandment of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB).

Close to four months after the AARB was established as an “independent alternative” to what it claimed was “Australia’s current inadequate and ineffective advertising self-regulatory system”, the AARB is yet to deliver a single determination, despite committing to a target of 20 working days on average for the handling of complaints.

In comparison, during the four month period following the AARB’s establishment, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme has delivered ten determinations, four of which have been upheld.

AANA Director of Codes, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Alina Bain stated that there are already a number of regulatory protections in place in terms of messaging and placement of alcohol advertising.

“It is an effective system, underpinned by a transparent and robust complaints handling system that delivers responses to consumer complainants within 30 days,” Ms Bain said.

Ms Bain believes that the AARB has failed to deliver a consumer benefit as a genuine complaints handling system. She described the AARB system as having set itself up as “legislator, plaintiff, judge and jury”.

“The current self-regulatory system for alcohol advertising delivers a tangible public benefit and is underpinned by a responsive and transparent complaints handling system.  We call on the AARB Board to stop misleading the Australian public and end the AARB farce,” Ms Bain said.

The AARB is based at Curtin University in Western Australia. Previously, Australian Food News has reported that the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth (MCAAY) at Curtin University has become the driving force for advocacy of tighter controls on alcohol consumption around Australia.

Several academics with strong preventative health credentials, who are based at Curtin University, appear to have possibly put themselves in the firing line by combining their role as anti-drinking advocates with their role in the running of the AARB.