More on the great alcopop tax rort

The Australian Federal government persists in peddling misinformation about the massive tax increase on premixed spirits drinks (or “alcopops,” as Labor parties in the US and Australia have decided to describe them).

The Federal health minister has said that spirits companies are aiming to “produce these sugary, colorful drinks to hook young women into drinking.”

But look at the facts – for crying out loud, 75% of the taxed drinks are dark spirit based (read “hard to drink”) and consumed by men not women!  This is the most appallingly badly targeted legislation.  It’s like banning all V8 cars because 25%  of them are driven by people who speed….

And I know what you’re thinking – “but most of those 25% would just speed in a V6 if the V8s are banned”  Which is exactly right … of COURSE they would.  And correspondingly, the data show that youth drinking is remarkably stable (maybe even in decline according to many measures) and has always primarily been driven by finding low-cost options.   Sweet cask wine for example.

And guess what – if you chart the growth of premix spirits against underage drinking stats, you will NOT find a correlation with underage drinking.  As I mentioned last time I wrote on this, I know DSICA is biased in terms of its intent, but this information is pretty much on the mark in my experience and the main thing is – where is the REAL data from the government to support THEIR position?  Missing.

The health minister said “Disappointingly, it seems that the distilled spirits industry are not interested in being part of the solution, they are just concerned with protecting their profit margins.”  Hmmm, well firstly their profit margins are shot to pieces already with this new tax (and the brewers and wine makers are delighted).  But if I can make my own parallel observation, I think it is equally disappionting that our government is clearly not interested in being part of a long-term solution, they are just concerned about protecting short term votes by creating a scare and hitting a soft target so they can look like “action” people.

The duty increase needs to be voted on by the senate, and it looks like it will get through now, because none of the green or independent senators want to be put in a position where they would be quickly tagged as sinking revenue measures (not a good look at the start of a recession just when the budget has been blown).

Mind you, I don’t think DSICA earns any points for push-polling.  The Sydney Morning Herald reports a DSICA PR stunt poll as asking people whether “the so-called alcopops tax” should be scrapped or defeated.

How can you ask anyone to take your survey seriously when you use language this.  For God’s sake – if you are going to do a poll hire find someone who knows how to do it properly.

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