Drink Tank

Federal pollies on the poll

Three federal pollies – a doctor, a surgeon and an economics professor wander into a bar, pull up a seat and ask the hard of hearing barkeep for 3 schooners of XXXX Gold.

The deaf bar tender hands them each a copy of the Australian Alcohol Poll.

Not only do they read the report, the three politicians, representing the full spectrum of Australian Federal politics, felt compelled enough to each submit a post.

All this week we’re continuing our in-depth coverage of the Australian Alcohol Poll, and we take great pleasure in welcoming Greens Senator, Dr Richard Di Natale, Federal Labor MP, Dr Andrew Leigh , and Liberal MP, Dr Andrew Laming to join the conversation at Drink Tank.

Today on Drink Tank, Dr Richard Di Natale calls on government to take the lead role in alcohol reforms.  On the alcohol industry, Senator Di Natale notes “…there is no ledger that offsets the revenue of increased sales with the harms they cause to ordinary people.”

Dr Andrew Leigh, a professor of economics at the Australian National University before entering national politics, examines Australia’s complex relationship with alcohol. Calling FARE’s Annual Alcohol poll a “provocative and engaging report”, Andrew Leigh believes the challenge for policy makers is “…to do as much as we can to discourage harmful drinking while doing as little as we can to impede adults who enjoy a moderate tipple.”

Former surgeon, Dr Andrew Laming believes that rather than more regulation, what is needed is a serious focus on addressing the social determinants which lead to higher alcohol and substance abuse.

“Alcohol is already one of the most regulated products available for sale in Australia; government influences price, times and locations of availability even how it is mixed, who by and who to. It is a brave call to expect more regulation to further improve the situation.”


Drink Tank aims to generate meaningful commentary and debate about alcohol policy, and to provide a platform for all members of the Australian community to share their views and concerns.

Our goal is for the Drink Tank community to engage in robust discussion about alcohol, highlighting a broad spectrum of views and voices, and ultimately to raise the profile of alcohol as an issue of national importance.

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