Codes & Guidelines

Robust complaints body important for industry

Complaints about alcohol marketing are lodged through one doorway at the national Advertising Standards Bureau so they can be assessed against more than one code, if required. For the most part, the bureau refers complaints about alcohol marketing/packaging to an independent arm of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) for investigation.

ABAC is the national complaints body recognised by the Federal Government for investigating such matters and it’s a process supported by WFA.

The ABAC Chief Adjudicator is Emeritus Professor the Hon. Michael Lavarch AO, former Attorney General of Australia. He has the power to trigger an investigation which would involve at least three panellists, including one with a public health related background. 

ABAC’s rules are extensive and have been updated since this body first began operating in July 1998 so they have kept pace with community expectations and modern marketing practices.

These days, ABAC can consider complaints about all aspects of marketing including social and digital media as well as direct mail, print, billboard, cinema, TV, producer point of sale, radio, packaging and other marketing. In carrying out an investigation, the panel can also seek input from the marketer. 

If a complaint is upheld by the panel, the marketer or its agency has five business days to modify, remove or discontinue the marketing or, in the case of packaging or marketing collateral, immediately cease further orders.

Adjudications are also published online at the ABAC website – see here.    

For more information or to organise pre-vetting of your marketing, go to

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