By Ian Neubauer
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has quashed industry fears that the government is considering a ban on alcohol sponsorship in sport, deferring debate on the issue to the findings of an ongoing Senate inquiry.
“When it comes to alcohol sponsorship and alcohol advertising, our view is the challenge right now is to encourage a culture of individual responsibility when it comes to responsible drinking,” the prime minister said at a Melbourne press conference. “I see no prima facie reason why that should not continue.”
The announcement follows a nervous number of days in the liquor and advertising industries following last week’s launch of a $53 million Federal Government initiative to combat binge drinking that hinted a crackdown on alcohol advertising.
“When it comes to advertising, already those matters are going to be considered by the upcoming Senate inquiry, which is already underway in Canberra,” the prime minister said. “Therefore, on those other matters, let’s see what shakes out of the inquiry in due course.”
The Senate inquiry follows the Family First’s proposed Alcohol Toll Reduction Bill 2007, which, if passed into law, would ban the marketing of alcohol on television before 9:00pm and require all alcohol advertising to be pre-approved by a statutory authority.
The Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs‘ finding on the Alcohol Toll Reduction Bill are scheduled for public release on June 18.