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X-rated ashes test not suitable for children

22 November 2017

Ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on Thursday, new polling has found more than four out of five Australians believe that the alcohol industry should not be allowed to advertise alcoholic beverages to children during children’s television viewing times.

A majority of Australians also object to children being exposed to alcohol advertising as a result of Cricket Australia’s new commercial sponsorship agreement with XXXX Gold.

Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Chief Executive Michael Thorn says the latest polling once again highlights the fatal flaw in the current regulation of alcohol advertising on television.

“81 per cent of Australians, an overwhelming majority, say there should be no alcohol advertising during children’s viewing hours. And indeed, that thinking is in line with the principled and intelligent regulation that says you can’t advertise alcohol on TV before 8:30pm when children would be watching. The big problem of course is that protection has been long since abandoned by the egregious exemption that allows alcohol advertising to be broadcast at any hour of the day during sports broadcasts on weekends and public holidays,” Mr Thorn said.

Commissioned by FARE, on behalf of the Booze Free Sport campaign, the polling was conducted by Galaxy Research in October 2017.

Overwhelming evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with young people drinking more and from an earlier age.

Booze Free Sport a campaign calling for the removal of alcohol sponsorship from professional sport, aims to raise awareness of that evidence and to galvanise the already strong levels of community support for the issue

A changing of the guard in March this year means Cricket Australia’s summer of cricket brings with it a new beer sponsor, with its partner of twenty years, Carlton United Breweries VB, replaced with Lion’s XXXX Gold.

But Australian’s aren’t happy with Cricket Australia’s newest sponsor, with the Galaxy Poll finding a majority of Australians (57 per cent) are concerned that their children are being exposed to brewer, Lion’s XXXX Gold alcohol advertising. Mr Thorn says Australians are right to be concerned.

“The onslaught of XXXX cricket advertising and promotion has begun well before the first ball has been bowled. Cricket Australia’s new deal with Lion, means this summer, Aussie kids will continue to be hit with a barrage of alcohol advertising and promotion, deliberately designed to appeal to children, Mr Thorn said.

Lion’s XXXX Gold Goldie promotion, a tech-enabled cricket cap being given away this Summer with specially marked packs of XXXX Gold from participating venues is, ostensibly, aimed at adults, with Lion pointing to its age-gated website and competition eligibility, with prizes only open to people aged 18 plus.

However, Michael Thorn says it is undeniable that the promotion and the XXXX merchandise will appeal to children.

“This XXXX promotion couldn’t be more appealing to kids if it tried. With the tech-enabled Australia Gold cricket cap, a sporting hero, Australian Test cricketer Adam Gilchrist to idolise and free cricket merchandise to win, this promotion checks all the boxes, and that’s what makes it so dangerous,” Mr Thorn said.

The Galaxy Research polling also found almost two thirds of Australians (64 per cent) agree that Australia’s political leaders should be doing more to address the issue of alcohol sponsorship in sport.

Michael Thorn says the Commonwealth has both the responsibility and the power to act on this issue, and encourages concerned Australians to lend their support to the Booze Free Sport campaign to ensure the Government hears and heeds the message.

“It’s undeniable that Aussie children are being exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion through sport and that’s a problem because we know that increases the chances of them drinking earlier, and drinking more. Cricket Australia don’t appear willing to sever ties with a toxic product. In the absence of corporate responsibility, the Government should step forward to protect our children,” Mr Thorn said.

View media release in PDF

View the Booze Free Sport Poll

Leading Australians call for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport

21 September 2017

A number of leading Australians have lent their support to a campaign to remove alcohol sponsorship from professional sport.

The call comes a week out from the AFL and NRL Grand Final, and as evidence mounts about the harm to children as a result of exposure to alcohol advertising.

World Vision Chief Advocate Tim Costello has lent his full support to the #BoozeFreeSport campaign.

He says there should be absolutely zero alcohol sponsorship of sport, and says the current regulatory framework is failing to protect children.

“The Federal Government has to step up, as do State Governments and say, ‘yes, we know there is going to be powerful lobbying from these very powerful vested interests, but we exist to protect children’”, Mr Costello said.

#BoozeFreeSport is a campaign endorsed and supported by the Public Health Association of Australia, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, St Vincent’s Health Australia, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian Health Promotion Association and the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

Former President of the St Kilda Football Club, Rod Butterss says that for too long booze, drugs and gambling have been a part of AFL culture.

He says it’s now time for league to cut its ties with alcohol.

“The kids they love their sport, they idolise their sporting heroes. And in the same breath the League is showing them that drinking and binge drinking is acceptable and healthy. It is not,” Mr Butterss said.

Former Healthway Chief Executive, David Malone was successful in reducing alcohol’s presence in the Western Australian sporting arena, and says alcohol and sport don’t mix.

“We don’t want alcohol promoted where young people are captive to that audience, because there is good evidence that the promotion of alcohol encourages young people to drink alcohol earlier and in more significant volume,” Mr Malone said.

FARE Chief Executive Michael Thorn says that despite that evidence, Australia’s major codes continue to cling to alcohol sponsorship, all the while, doubling down on efforts to make their game more attractive to families and kids.

“There is an opportunity for one of the major codes to break from the pack, step up and sever their ties with the alcohol companies, not because they are forced to do so, but because it is the right thing to do,” Mr Thorn said.

David Hill, author, former President of the North Sydney Bears and an outspoken critic of tobacco sponsorship in sport in the early 90’s isn’t holding his breath.

“Sporting bodies have proved that faced with the choice between doing what is morally right, or taking the sack of money, they are most likely to take the sack of money,” Mr Hill said.

St Vincent’s Health Australia Group Chief Executive, Toby Hall says in the face of such resistance, it is Australian parents that must become a catalyst for change.

We know a strong majority of Australians want to see an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport. Now we need to mobilise those Australians and ensure their voices are heard by the Commonwealth Ministers who can address their concerns,” Mr Hall said.

View media release in PDF

Related stories

ABC News Radio: Renewed calls for an end to alcohol sponsorship of sport

A week out from the NRL and AFL grand finals, there are renewed calls for alcohol sponsorship to be removed entirely from professional sport.

The #BoozeFreeSport campaign is backed by a number of leading Australians as evidence mounts about the harm exposure to alcohol advertising can have on children.

ABC News on radio’s Fiona Ellis-Jones asked former President of the St Kilda Football Club, Rod Butterss, whether there’s much hope given the alcohol industry is such a powerful lobbying body with vested interests.

Drink Tank Australia: Leading Australians call for an end to alcohol sponsorship in sport

A number of leading Australians have lent their support to a campaign to remove alcohol sponsorship from professional sport. The call comes a week out from the AFL and NRL Grand Final, and as evidence mounts about the harm to children as a result of exposure to alcohol advertising.