Australia has a co-regulatory system for alcohol advertising. Guidelines have been negotiated with government, consumer complaints are handled independently, but all costs are borne by industry.
All alcohol complaints are lodged with Ad Standards. Ad Standards will assess the complaint under the AANA Code of Ethics. If the complaint raises issues under this Code, the Ad Standards Community Panel will make a decision as to whether to uphold or dismiss the complaints.
Ad Standards also sends a copy of the complaint to the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Chief Adjudicator. The Chief Adjudicator determines whether the complaint raises issues solely under Ad Standards jurisdiction or if the complaint also raises issues with the ABAC. If the complaint raises issues with the ABAC, the ABAC Complaints Panel considers the complaint.
The ABAC Panel may consider complaints in addition to Ad Standards. Therefore, both regulatory bodies may assess all alcohol complaints received by Ad Standards.
If the ABAC Complaints Panel upholds the complaint, the advertiser is asked to modify or withdraw the advertisement in question. Ad Standards is informed of the ABAC Complaints Panel decision, and in the case of an upheld complaint, the advertiser's response.
The complainant is informed of the decisions of both the Ad Standards Community Panel and the ABAC Complaints Panel. Case reports are written by both Ad Standards and the ABAC Panel.
It is possible for Ad Standards or ABAC to arrive at different decisions about the same advertisement as each body assesses the advertisement using different Codes.
Concerns raised about situations or suggestions encouraging the excess or unsafe consumption of alcohol are considered by the Ad Standards Community Panel under Section 2.6 of the AANA Code of Ethics (health and safety).