Tuesday 5 April 2016

Australia goes full wowser

Australia is sliding into the abyss. It's nanny state has always been active but in the last seven days the wowsers have gone into full-throttle, batshit crazy, fetch-the-tranquilisers overdrive. Here's the evidence...

Exhibit A (April 4th): Women of child-bearing age should be teetotal

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians has called for all women “of reproductive age” who consume more than two standard drinks a day to be subject to “interventions” on the basis that they might be pregnant, in a remarkable submission to a Senate inquiry.

...These guidelines mean that drinking just two 375 ml full-strength beers or two average-sized glasses of wine a day is risky, and drinking three is “binge drinking” of more than four standard drinks on any single single occasion.

The RACP would therefore appear to want all woman below, say, 50 to be subject to monitoring and “early intervention” if they drink two beers or wines a day or drink three beers or wines on a single occasion; these are distinguished from the “brief interventions”  (one-on-one doctor-patient counselling) discussed elsewhere in the submission.

Exhibit B (March 31st): Plain packaging for toys

Children’s toys should be subject to plain-packaging laws similar to cigarettes, an inter­national women’s group says. 

In a submission to the domestic violence and gender inequality Senate inquiry, ​the Adelaide branch of Zonta International says some toys teach girls to be sexy and submissive and boys to be macho and dominant.

“Sexualisation of young children through products, dress, toys and cosmetics reinforces that girls should be sexy, submissive, and boys should be dominant, macho, important and strong,” it says. “These products reinforce boys to grow to males that can be powerful and strong, and that girls need to be attractive and submissive to males. (We) suggest making a campaign like the successful plain packaging of cigarettes.”

Exhibit C (April 4th): $758 fine for smoking outdoors

Beer gardens and outdoor areas of cafes would become entirely smoke-free under a new Victorian proposal supported by more than a dozen leading health and community groups.

The government announced last year that smoking would be banned in outdoor venues where food is served from August 2017, with on-the-spot fines and a maximum penalty of $758 for people who break the law.

But the heads of 15 organisations including the Australian Medical Association, Cancer Council Victoria and the hospitality workers union, United Voice, say the new rules do not go far enough and could lead to bans on diners eating outside.

Exhibit D (April 3rd): Anti-gambling academic claims companies are trying to normalise normal things

Sports betting agencies are adopting similar marketing techniques used by the powerful tobacco lobby to convince people that online gambling is an intrinsic part of Australian culture, new research suggests.

As the Turnbull government prepares to unveil reforms to crack down on foreign bookmakers, a study has found that betting giants are increasingly using gender stereotypes, fan rituals and images of mateship to "normalise" online wagering through highly targeted advertisements.

"The same playbook that we saw in tobacco and alcohol is happening again," said Samantha Thomas, a public health academic at Deakin University, which led the study.

"It's being depicted in advertising as though it's part of Aussie culture – this idea that if you're a true Aussie bloke, you go to the pub, you hang with your mates, you watch your sport and now you also gamble on sport as well. [This women lives in Australia, right? That's what they do - CJS] We should all be smarter about the way these companies seek to normalise their product."

Exhibit E (April 2nd): Graphic warnings and other wowser lunacy for alcohol

Access to alcohol would be drastically reduced under a radical rethink of liquor laws, taxes and sales being urged by one of the country's most influential groups of doctors.

The proposed regime recommends:
  • The legal age for buying takeaway alcohol should be raised immediately, ahead of a public debate about lifting the drinking age
  • State governments should ramp up last drinks and early closing laws such as those implemented in NSW, including shorter trading hours for bottle shops and bars
  • Local councils should be given the power to reduce the number of licensed premises in their communities by challenging existing liquor licences and implementing caps on the number of bars
  • Sports sponsorship by alcohol companies should be banned, as a precursor to a total ban on advertising alcohol to young people
  • Alcohol packaging should carry warning labels, akin to cigarettes, under the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code

Australian control freaks are only ever half a step ahead of the British nutters so brace yourself.

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