Regulation of Alcohol Advertising in Australia: Does the Abac Scheme Adequately Protect Young People from Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages?
This paper examines regulation of alcohol advertising regulation in Australia. Specifically, it considers whether the alcohol industry’s code of conduct, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (‘ABAC’) operates as an effective form of industry-based regulation, focusing on provisions that prohibit alcohol advertising in media directed to children and young people, and advertising content or messaging that appeals to minors. The paper sets out a framework for effective self-regulation and applies it to the substantive provisions and regulatory processes established by the ABAC Scheme. The paper finds that the substantive rules found in the ABAC contain a number of significant loopholes, including a failure to adequately restrict the placement of alcohol promotions or to regulate alcohol industry sponsorship. Further, the ABAC Scheme lacks independent administration, systematic monitoring, or meaningful sanctions for responding to non-compliance. Accordingly, regulatory processes lack transparency and accountability, undermining the credibility and efficacy of the Scheme. The paper concludes by outlining a phased or responsive approach to creating a regulatory regime that protects young people more effectively from exposure to alcohol marketing.
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