Alcohol Abuse

16 October 2018

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (15:27): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs (Senator Scullion) to a question without notice asked by Senator Griff today relating to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The minister said that he hopes the government continues to provide money to DrinkWise for public awareness campaigns. I was stumped by this because they have done such a poor job so far. The consistent message from DrinkWise is that it's safest not to drink alcohol while pregnant, which implies that it can be safe to drink while pregnant to some degree. How is this an appropriate health message? The warnings should be as stark as, 'Do not drink while pregnant, because you will harm your baby's brain.' I have looked at the videos that our taxpayer money has funded, and the short videos talk about FASD but do not make it abundantly clear the danger that alcohol poses to a baby. In the Aaron Pedersen video, he says:

FASD can be prevented as long as the baby's not exposed to alcohol during pregnancy, because, when mum drinks, the baby drinks.

What is the message here? It is not making it clear to women what the harms are if mum drinks and the baby drinks. We can do better, and this should mean the Department of Health takes the reins of FASD public health promotion from DrinkWise.

Question agreed to.

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