Alcohol education group DrinkWise launched their latest campaign “Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix” yesterday, which aims to reduce under-age drinking with a focus on educating teens to wait for as long as possible before drinking. The campaign immediately came under fire for the influence alcohol companies have over it when professor Simon Chapman of Sydney University called the campaign “hypocritical”.
Members of the alcohol industry hold 6 of the 12 seats of the DrinkWise board, and much of the funding for the organisation comes directly from the alcohol industry. Dr Chapman believes this has tainted the campaign. He said, “if you want to run alcohol awareness campaigns about the harm alcohol can cause, you don’t get the people who are deriving enormous profit from the very behaviour they say they’re trying to discourage running those campaigns.” He went on to liken the alcohol industry’s influence over DrinkWise to a fox guarding a chicken coop.
The chair of DrinkWise and former Liberal MP Trish Worth defended the organisation saying, “I’m very, very disappointed in Professor Chapman for taking such a narrow view when people are out there rolling up their sleeves and wanting to do something to help.”