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Regulating Unhealthy Food Advertising to Children under Neoliberalism: An Australian Perspective

Media, Development and Democracy

ISBN: 978-1-80043-493-6, eISBN: 978-1-80043-492-9

Publication date: 8 December 2021


This chapter explores the development of advertising regulations governing food advertising to children in Australia since the 1940s. By introducing the advertising and marketing self-regulatory system, the Australian Government is taking a neoliberal approach, advocating for the free market to initiate and sustain the country’s economic development, instead of greater government regulation. By examining the primary and secondary literature, such as government reports and research, and newspaper and academic articles, this chapter outlines different regulatory initiatives adopted by both the government and food industry to limit food and beverage advertising to children on television and online, in order to prevent obesity rates increasing in children. This chapter synthesizes and critically evaluates food industry and public health studies, government and non-government reviews, and other research studies to evaluate the influence of self-regulation on Australian television food advertising within the neoliberal context since the 1990s. It contributes to the literature on food advertising regulations for children in Australia by offering evidence of how the government, public health authorities and the food industry have attempted to keep pace with changes in the advertising, marketing and media industries by developing and reviewing advertising codes. It identifies the loopholes that exist in these self-regulatory codes and concludes that Australia’s current advertising regulatory arrangements are failing to protect our children from unhealthy food marketing on television, especially on relatively under-regulated online platforms such as social media and branded websites. The issues identified in this chapter could aid the food and beverage industry, as well as the self-regulatory system, to offer comprehensive and applicable solutions to combat Australia’s obesity crises by implementing new legislations that align with different marketing practices.



Saha, N. (2021), "Regulating Unhealthy Food Advertising to Children under Neoliberalism: An Australian Perspective", Pait, H. and Laet, J. (Ed.) Media, Development and Democracy (Studies in Media and Communications, Vol. 22), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-92.



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