Uncovering government pro-alcohol bias

Blowing the whistle on undue corporate influence.

FARE joined forces with a CSIRO whistle-blower to expose to the public the links Australia’s leading scientific organisation has with the alcohol industry, and its pro-alcohol research bias.

After former CSIRO employee, Dr Saul Newman, published an article in The Lancet questioning why the Commonwealth Government spends taxpayer money funding pro-alcohol research considering the health and economic impact the drug has upon the community, FARE reached out to Dr Newman to further explore the details of his allegations.  

FARE catapulted the story to national news when The Guardian published an article on the damning allegations, which were also initially published on FARE’s blog Drink Tank.

FARE followed-up these public revelations with an FOI request to the CSIRO which exposed internal emails by CSIRO staff collaborating with Wine Australia to ensure both organisations “sing from the same song sheet” and concerns about sharing the same Board Member becoming widely known.

Calling out cause-washing

FARE condemns ill-conceived charity industry partnership.

FARE will always hold the alcohol industry to account, call out its shameless stunts – such as ‘cause-washing’, and tirelessly fight to defend the public interest.

This year’s disgraceful partnership between Woolworths’ alcohol chain BWS, and cancer fundraiser movement Dry July was a shocking and ill-conceived sobriety stunt, which was announced via an industry-branded media release carrying the headline, “BWS Becomes ‘Because We’re Sober’ for Dry July”.

To counter this ludicrous and disingenuous campaign, FARE engaged with the press to condemn the irresponsible partnership, highlighting that alcohol is a class 1 carcinogen, with more than 3,200 Australians developing alcohol-attributable cancer each year. The story received substantial national media coverage.

FARE also wrote to Dry July’s beneficiary organisations, including many cancer groups, imploring them to intervene immediately and to ensure that Dry July repels the influence of the alcohol industry in the future.

Keeping industry honest about alcohol harm

Spotlight on unethical and misleading alcohol industry marketing.

DrinkWise-alcohol-pregnancy-poster-transparent

One of FARE’s strategic goals is upholding the public interest and maintaining ‘truth’ in policy, health promotion and public discourse about alcohol-related harm.

This involves constant vigilance to call out unethical and misleading alcohol industry marketing.

The industry also purports to be a proactive provider of health information, which disguises its real aim of staving off responsible and effective alcohol regulation. 

A major case was an industry campaign in July 2018 about the risk of alcohol in pregnancy. The DrinkWise materials distributed to GP surgeries included the false statement, “it’s not known if alcohol is safe to drink when you are pregnant”. 

FARE successfully forced the industry to correct the messaging. This example of industry deception and misinformation has featured in a UK research study, which gained national media attention

Mandatory alcohol pregnancy warning labels: huge win for consumers

FARE commended a decision to mandate pregnancy warning lables which will help ensure Australians are better informed of the dangers around drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Over the last decade FARE has been working tirelessly to ensure mandatory pregnancy warning labels are on all packaged alcohol beverages.

In a big win for Australians, October 2019 saw Australian State and Territory Food Ministers together with their New Zealand counterparts finally guarantee alcohol products would include effective warning labels that state that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women.

This comes after seven years of industry inaction, with less than half of all alcohol products sold in Australia containing warning labels about alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

FARE commended a decision to mandate pregnancy warning labels which will help ensure Australians are better informed of the dangers around drinking alcohol during pregnancy.


This is a win for consumers and a critically important decision that will save lives and reduce the pain that is caused as a result of what is a preventable, but lifelong disability.”

– Trish Hepworth, FARE Director, Policy and Research