By Andy Young
The Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) has questioned the findings and the validity of the 2016 annual alcohol poll, published by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE).
FARE released the details of the poll earlier this week, but ALSO CEO Terry Mott questioned the findings given that the organisation has publicly stated that “each year it consistently delivers three very clear anti-alcohol messages".
“This is a remarkable admission from FARE because it is not only in line with its mantra, it also appears as if the organisation has again unfairly pre-empted the outcomes,” Mott said.
“It begs the question why did FARE undertake the poll at all when it had seemingly predetermined the results?
“It should also be stressed the poll is not impartial because it was commissioned by FARE, which itself has a vested interest in attracting neo-temperance movement funding and has firmly established itself as an organisation which consistently and publicly pushes extreme anti-alcohol views.
“For example, FARE tries to demonise consumption of alcohol beverages, by claiming Australia has a ‘toxic relationship with alcohol’. This is a gross misrepresentation given the vast majority of Australians consume alcohol responsibly within the context of a normal and balanced healthy lifestyle. Even that key point is ignored when its own poll found 56 per cent of Australian drinkers consume either one or two drinks on a typical occasion.”
Mott also highlighted some of the findings from the report, which he said FARE has failed to highlight, including that the consumption of alcohol remains largely unchanged since last year and that 87 per cent of those who responded were in favour of increasing penalties for people involved in alcohol-related violence.
ALSA highlighted that the strong support for increasing these penalties supports its own position that targeted policy approaches are preferred by the public, not the “broad-brush policies pushed by FARE”.
Mott added: “If it is to be taken seriously, FARE must put these sensationalist reports into real-life context, where Australia’s per-capita alcohol consumption is at the lowest point for 50 years and is now 26 per cent below the levels of 1975.
“FARE must also do a better and balanced job of also communicating the many benefits of responsible consumption of alcohol.”