Australians have spent the past few decades fighting to get the government out of their bedrooms.
With the legalisation of homosexuality, greater access to abortion, and the legalisation of same sex marriage, the people have made great strides in putting government back in its box.
But government doesn’t like to be constrained in a box. Government likes power and money. In an effort to gain more of both, the new battleground has moved from Australians’ bedrooms into their kitchen cupboards.
That’s right. The government wants to manipulate your dietary choices with a big stick tax approach.
And like some horror movie character that never quite dies, the sugar tax is back…again.
Sugar tax looking to hit supermarket shelves
As reported by the AAP, a senate inquiry into Australia’s obesity epidemic has recommended a sugar tax should be placed on soft drinks and other sweetened beverages.
Not surprisingly the committee is chaired by Greens leader Richard Di Natale, a former general practitioner.
The socialist leaning Di Natale said similar taxes in other countries had led to manufacturers reducing sugar content in products. Which makes us wonder, if the leaders of those other nations jumped off a bridge, would Di Natale follow suit?
‘This isn’t just something that affects consumption, but it also affects production and what we see is healthier products being made available,’ the AAP quotes Di Natale telling parliament.
Going even further into Nanny State territory, the report released on Wednesday also recommends restrictions on food and drink advertising on free-to-air television until 9pm.
As if children won’t see these same products and advertising inside grocery stores.
Which makes you wonder what’s next. Plain packaging for Coca-Cola that’s only available in a locked cabinet behind the counter? Or perhaps soft drink cans complete with images of some of the nation’s most obese individuals in their swimsuits for you to enjoy with your sugary beverage?
So much for the free market and consumers’ freedom of choice.
Committee calls for more nutritional information
The report also recommends that the health star rating system should be made mandatory by 2020. In particular, the rating calculator for foods known to be high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat was being pressed for an update. Inconsistencies in the calculation should be addressed and the treatment of fruit juices and added sugar investigated.
The committee made it apparent that this information needed to be readily available to both children and their parents to make informed decisions about the food they consume.
This makes perfect sense. After all, being correctly informed on things is a rarity in this age of corrupted media. But the thing is, all these proposed regulations and restrictions takes the ‘decision’ part out of it.
Or at least, that’s the theory behind it…the end goal, so to speak. No possibility for an unhealthy choice to occur. But is that at all realistic?
Think about it: running is, for all intents and purposes, a free form of exercise. And yet, you don’t see everyone committing to the recommended 10,000 steps a day!
Yes, people need to live healthier lives. But it’s their choice whether they do so.
The nation-wide health kick shouldn’t be mandated by government in what’s sure to be a failed effort that will take more money from the people and give it to the state.
Even our major parties think it’s ridiculous.
A push for education, not tax
AAP reports that both Labor and Coalition senators issued reports showing they weren’t in favour of the sugar tax or the advertising restrictions.
But there was no dissent regarding the committee’s other recommendation to place more funding into public nutrition education programs and a team to tackle all the nutritional information gathering.
The National Obesity Taskforce are set to campaign for improved understanding of nutrition, including behaviours around diet, physical activity and general well-being.
This sounds a lot more viable. Why? Because it’s getting people to think for themselves. It gives people the facts, not the answers. It’s ultimately up to the individual as to what they decide to make of the information.
And speaking of information…
In 2014–15, nearly two thirds of Aussie adults were overweight or obese. In that same year, it was reported that 27% of children aged between five and 17 were also overweight or obese. And most shocking of all, 20% of children under the age of four were given the same diagnostic.
As AAP reported, Senator Di Natale hit the nail on the head:
‘This is a major health issue. We have an epidemic of chronic disease looming over the horizon and we have an urgent need to address this issue.’
We can’t deny that. But it’s unlikely that a sugar tax is the answer.
If their weight issues are indeed related to their intake of sugary drinks, it sounds like the vast majority of overweight Australians can expect to pay more taxes if this latest Nanny State thought bubble gains traction.
And all that will do is leave families with less money for the high-priced fruit and veg that our bodies so desperately need.
PS: The tax burden on Australians has grown by leaps and bounds in our lifetime, and shows little sign of reversing. You may think you know who’s responsible for rising taxes. But as we reveal in our free new report — ‘What you could do to stop Australia’s Tax Freedom Day from blowing out even further in 2018’ — you may have it all wrong…Click here for more.