The results of a poll released today by anti-alcohol activist group FARE are inaccurate and sensationalist and should be regarded as unrepresentative of how the vast majority of Australians use alcohol beverages: responsibly and in moderation.
“Its claims should be recognised for what they are: lacking in evidence,” Fergus Taylor, Executive Director of peak industry body Alcohol Beverages Australia said.
“This poll is all spin and no substance. Political leaders, policy makers and the Australian public should look past this annual stunt and demand FARE’s survey be released in full so its claims can be properly scrutinised.
“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) National Drug Strategy Household Survey is the most reliable dataset for monitoring trends associated with Australia’s drinking practices. AIHW figures show underage and binge drinking are in steady decline and have been for more than a decade, and violence is also significantly trending downwards Australia-wide.
“FARE’s claims on community perspectives on alcohol are questionable due to a repeated refusal to release survey questions used. Answers regarding perception and belief can be easily shaped by the way questions are asked. The failure to release the entirety of its survey, including questions, raises doubts about the report.
“FARE is an organisation that was exposed in January by The Australian newspaper for using false cost calculations in its criticism of the alcohol industry, yet continues to use the very same discredited calculations. This speaks to FARE’s credibility and calls into serious question any research the organisation releases.”
FARE’s claim that 35% of Australians have been affected by alcohol-related violence is unsubstantiated and should be called into question. A failure to define what constitutes violence is highly problematic, especially in light of the fact other anti-alcohol surveys have described intangibles like fear, lost quality of life, getting refused entry to a pub, being refused service in a pub or being ejected from a pub as violence and alcohol-related harms.
FARE’s claims about perceptions of family and domestic violence should be viewed through the prism of the findings of the Alcohol/Drug-Involved Family Violence in Australia (ADIVA) report, which showed that ‘alcohol-related’ domestic violence incidents have decreased across the board, despite an overall increase in domestic violence, indicating alcohol does not cause this violence.
“The focus should be on properly establishing and addressing the causes of family and domestic violence, not simplistically blaming alcohol for its prevalence,” Mr Taylor said.
Alcohol Beverages Australia is the peak industry body created to highlight the positive social, cultural and economic contribution of alcohol beverages in Australia, and promote, explain and defend the legitimate rights of the industry and the 15 million Australians who drink responsibly. www.alcoholbeveragesaustralia.org.au
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