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 should be sent to the Advertising Standards Bureau. The Advertising Standards Bureau will assess the complaint under the AANA Advertiser Code of Ethics and the Advertising Code for Children. If the complaint raises issues under these Codes, the Advertising Standards Board will make a decision as to whether to uphold or dismiss the complaints.
The Advertising Standards Bureau 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 the Advertising Standards Bureau's 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 the Advertising Standards Bureau. Therefore, both regulation bodies assess all alcohol complaints sent to the Advertising Standards Bureau.
If the ABAC Complaints Panel upholds the complaint, the advertiser is asked to modify or withdraw the advertisement in question. The Advertising Standards Bureau 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 from both the Advertising Standards Board and the ABAC Complaints Panel. Case reports are written by both the Advertising Standards Bureau and the ABAC Panel.
It is possible for ASB or ABAC to arrive at different decisions about the same advertisement as each body assesses the advertisement using different Codes.