June 17, 2004


Labor’s latest election slogan: No Fat Kids!

All junk food advertising would be banned from children's television under a crackdown on obesity by a Labor government.

Who’s going to lead this fatso fatwa? Mark Latham himself? Could be; after all, the lardy Labor leader has been getting a lot of exercise lately:

Latham has gyrated wildly on Iraq, from crude anti-Americanism in his pre-leadership phase, through the amazing star-spangled banner press conference, to the all troops out by Christmas policy on the run, to the new policy that would likely leave more than half the troops in the Iraq theatre.

All those gyrations and on-the-run policies should slenderise Latham nicely. And Democrats and Greens might work up a sweat over the latest foreign intrusion into Australian domestic politics:

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan yesterday issued a warning to Prime Minister John Howard to be careful about what he said.

"He can say what he wants," Muralitharan said from his Colombo home. "He is the head of state and he has opinions. But he has to be very careful of what he says."

Bob Brown will be outraged.

UPDATE. Reader Stephen W. writes: "By the way, Murali seems to know as much about the Australian Constitution as he does about 'bowling': Howard's 'head of state,' is he?"

Posted by Tim Blair at June 17, 2004 07:28 AM

No fat chicks!

Now there's a campaign promise I could live with, specially in summer.

Posted by: Fred at June 17, 2004 at 07:30 AM

See the following article in Reason by Jacob Sullum:


Some highlights:

When my daughter was 6, she spent a morning watching cartoons, during which she saw one commercial after another for cereal, candy, and cookies. Inspired by these messages, she grabbed her purse, drove to the grocery store, and loaded up the car with Cap'n Crunch, Skittles, and Oreos. That was all she ate for a month.

"Our dogs are getting overweight for exactly the same reasons we are," Zywicki noted. "They're eating too much and exercising too little. They're not watching too much advertising."

Posted by: Nigel Kearney at June 17, 2004 at 07:40 AM

Is Murali going to sick the Tamil Tigers onto Howard or something?

Posted by: yobbo at June 17, 2004 at 10:03 AM

Hilarious, Tim! This is your funniest yet. "Fatso fatwa" indeed!

Why can't Margo ever have a sense of humor? Perhaps if she did I'd read Webdiary more often.

Posted by: Jean-Luc Bidet at June 17, 2004 at 10:38 AM

John Howard: Peacemaker of the Solomons and East Timor, Joint Liberator of Afghanistan and Iraq, Single-Handed Destroyer of the People-Smuggling Industry, Vanquisher of the Great Recession of the Early 1990s, Victor of Three (and counting) Opposition Leaders, Suffocator of Hansonism, Master of Huge Foreign Business Deals, Consiglieri to the Anglosphere and...

...Nemesis of Dirty Rotten Chuckers.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 17, 2004 at 11:01 AM

Personally, I think this is a great idea. We, as a community, have a right and responsibility to monitor what is broadcast over the public airways.
I couldn't care less if someone wants to download hardcore porn over the internet, but I'd be opposed to someone broadcasting it freely over a public medium.
There is no question that eating too much and not exercising enough causes obesity, but watching segment after segment of advertising jingles encouraging you to stuff your face with crap definitely contributes to the desire to eat the stuff. If it didn't, why would a rational company such as McDonalds pay scores of millions of dollars to do it?

If Howard, Latham, etc want to create an economic system where both parents have to work 9 hours a day, five or six days a week, then your going to have to accept society as a whole taking on a large portion of the responsibility for raising the children.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 11:03 AM

Why only food advertising?

Ban it all!

Ban! Ban!

Posted by: duh at June 17, 2004 at 11:26 AM

You, sir, are a moron.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 11:40 AM


Advertising fast food during children's TV programmes is already banned. So Latham, as usual, is talking rubbish.

The p[roblem dosn't really lie with young children anyway, it lies with adults who have been so poorly educated in the last 30 years that they are refusing to grow up and stop eating sugary rubbish. Haven't you noticed all the advertisements for junk food that are now aimed at young adults? Haven't you seen the queues of adults that form outside Krispy Creme outlets? Haven't yopu noticed that amount of so-called adults who still, contrary to all the evidence, support left wing policies?

Let's face it, we have mollycoddled our children for so long that we have been nearly overun by permanent adolescents.

Maybe the secret is that we do allow children to see all forms of advertising, whilst teaching them at the same time how to see through it. Then they may actually grow up with the ability to make informed decisions and become real adults, not just oversized babies.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 17, 2004 at 11:43 AM

If (advertising) didn't (work), why would a rational company such as McDonalds pay scores of millions of dollars to do it?

McDonalds spends billions on advertising because its business drives entire economies; employs tens of thousands; supports worldwide growers, farmers, bakers, coffee growers, manufacturers, printers, builders, maintenance companies, glass manufacturers, signage companies and a thousand other flow-on contractors and beneficiaries.

And you want it shut down because a bunch of parents are too lazy or irresponsible to say 'No' to their children?

Fuck off. You're an idiot.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 17, 2004 at 11:51 AM

Exactly Toryhere.

It's not all, or even mostly about children themselves. The question spans the generations now, one habitually gullible generation overlapping another. If Latham is serious, he would therefore call for the banning of such advertising generally. But he won't do that because adults might not take kindly to being labelled hopeless, rolly-polly foodies.

Incidentally, this whole Latham obsession with pretending to be king of the kids is faintly disturbing in my view. It's as though Latham knows something sinister about himself and is trying to exorcise that by pretending to be all sweetness and light about kids' issues. I don't buy it. Not from the man who has spoken approvingly of parental abusivesness at children's sporting fixtures.

Man's a fucking idiot.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 17, 2004 at 11:55 AM

But hold on who is the frightened one here - the Chucker is the one who has wimped out and is not coming to Australia.

Howard to Chucker: "Bring it on!"

Posted by: Rob at June 17, 2004 at 12:03 PM


I couldn't agree more with your sentiments, especially the last sentence.

This treacly sentimentality about children that so many lefties engage in really gives me the defecations.

Sinistra delenda est!!

Posted by: Toryhere at June 17, 2004 at 12:12 PM

Advertising might make people want a product, but it also serves a more important purpose, that is to inform consumers how to get a product. How are people going to eat when they don't know McDonald's exists? People are going to be starving in the street. The blood is on your hands Latham!

Posted by: drscroogemcduck at June 17, 2004 at 12:32 PM

I want more! Free holidays!
I want Mark Latham to personally take my kids on a holiday, say to Movie World.
I want him to be present at meal times and supervise.
Or perhaps he could just appear on TV.

'It's Uncle Mark, here kids, to tell you what to eat...'
That'll scare them into doing the right thing, 'Or Uncle Mark will come and get you!' Yeah it could work.

Posted by: meme at June 17, 2004 at 01:16 PM

What first ban food adverts, then ban violence in sport, than ban sportspeople from competing (dont want healthy people showing us fatties that we are fat)etc etc.

To bad we cant ban idiots


Posted by: dino at June 17, 2004 at 01:20 PM

Go ahead and ban Liberal Party advertising, since it no doubt encourages folks to go out and vote for John Howard. We need good, wholesome, cab-driver beating adverts for the glorious and decent Labor Party.

(Can someone explain to me why Labor in Australia has no "u", but you folks otherwise use colour, armour, etc.?)

Posted by: Andrew at June 17, 2004 at 01:51 PM

Yeah great stuff Mark.

Books for the kiddies, no fast food advertising and Peter Garrett on the front bench. Complete mystery as to your party's actual stance on Iraq or the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement.


Now when is Labor going to detail those insignificant things that pedants like me like to know about.

Things like, taxation policy, stance on competition policy, labour market reform and defence.

Oops, that's not on the ALP agenda this election?

Vote Labor? I don't think so. Not that I would expect them to actually stick to their policies, but nonetheless it would be nice to be humoured by them actually having some.

Posted by: Troy at June 17, 2004 at 02:03 PM

> Advertising fast food during children's TV programmes is already banned.

Really? Maybe programs rated (c), but I've seen loads of ads for all sorts of junk on programs intended for children or that children are likely to watch.

Your right, a large part of the problem is poorly educated adults with no sense of personal responsibility. Now, where did these adults come from?
The habits that children form are largely the habits that they take to adulthood. And like it or not, parents are not able to supervise their children all the time. It's really not as simple as saying "no".
No one is saying "lets ban junk food ads and that will solve the problem". They are saying: lets address the causes of the problem, and one of those causes is that kids are manipulated into wanting rubbish as a result of what they've seen on TV.

ilibcc, I'll respond to your strawman.
I'm not proposing to shutdown advertising entirely, I'm proposing shutting down a certain class of advertisements in a certain class of TV programs. I seriously doubt that high-minded McDonalds pays for advertising because it supports economies, they pay for it because it makes people want to stuff their face with crap.

We've banned cigarette advertising, mostly banned liquor advertising, this is not a new idea.


Children are more vulnerable than adults to manipulation. That is why they are legally classed as children and not afforded the same rights and responsibilities as adults.
"All or nothing" is a simplistic argument.

On a slightly unrelated note even if Latham did want to do that, it's foolish to mock him for not going through with it.
We could all name dozens of policies of dozens of governments around the world which only go half-way.
This is the nature of politics; you can't do everything you want and you have to choose your battles.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 02:07 PM


Let's ban beer ads as well(they encourage obesity);also ads about hooning around in fast cars (dangerous driving); arty black-and-white ads promoting tourism in Victoria(likely to cause extreme nausea); Queensland: perfect one day, boring the next; credit cards (lead to overspending),etc etc.

In fact, we better turn off the TV right now.

Posted by: Freddyboy at June 17, 2004 at 02:09 PM

> Let's ban beer ads as well

Agreed. We've gone most of the way, and as much as I love beer and alcohol, I don't think promoting a dangerous, mindaltering drug on TV is a good idea. We've banned it in most segments, a few more would be a good idea.

> also ads about hooning around in fast cars

This is a little more complex. If it could be shown that showing ads of people hooning around in fast cars caused people to hoon around in fast cars, then I might be in favour of a ban. More likely, it just influences people who are about to buy a fast car to buy the shown brand.

> credit cards (lead to overspending)

This I don't really care about. Overspending hurts only the individual and it's not going to have a bad effect on children.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 02:23 PM

Children are more vulnerable than adults to manipulation.

That's why they have parents.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 17, 2004 at 02:26 PM

You are all wrong about the efficacy of advertising. People have free will, no advertisement ever made someone buy something they did not want. Advertising (in the way McDonalds, Nike etc do it) is used to overcome the economic problem of assymetry of information. For example, I do not know the quality of food I receive when travelling interstate, I have not been to the restaurant before, and cannot ask anybody I know there to tell me where I should eat. McDonalds spends billions of dollars as a sign of its credible commitment to ensuring a homogeneity of product. As everybody knows, McDonalds may be unhealthy, but it is absolutely clean, and the cheeseburger I get in Melbourne is the same as the cheeseburger I get in Beijing. That is the point of the advertising that Maccers emabrks upon(the same rationale applies to buying shoes and other items where it is difficult to determine quality before the purchase). Advertising can of course be used to educate people on a new product or business, but that is clearly not the case with Maccers, Nike etc. This is what makes both t and Naomi Klein such idiots. They see something they don't understand and reflexively criticize it because it does not involve the governments mandating individual behaviour.

Posted by: usefulidiot at June 17, 2004 at 02:27 PM


Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 02:41 PM

Sorry, strike that. Sinistrista, -ae, is 1st declension in form but by its meaning its Latin default is masuline. Thus delendus, -i, should take a masculine ending.


Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 02:47 PM


If "ads about hooning around in fast cars".."just influences people who are about to buy a fast car to buy the shown brand." then why don't you think adds about eating junk food "just influences people who are about to buy" junk food "to buy the shown brand." ?

How do you conclude that "Overspending hurts only the individual and it's not going to have a bad effect on children.". Don't debt ridden parents have any impact on their kids well being?

Posted by: pat at June 17, 2004 at 02:59 PM

It’s bogus & pathetic of leftists to complain about commercialism & advertising. All the commercial advertising doesn’t hold a candle in rudeness, bad taste, dishonesty, manipulativeness, omnipresence, etc., etc., etc., in comparison to the commie cults of personality, forced mass parades, posters of the Leader everywhere, radios blaring his speeches, the endless dragging of banners around & kicking of old folks.

Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 03:08 PM

For Andrew

Labor and Labour

During the early years of the ALP, the Party was referred to by various titles differing from colony to colony. It was at the 1908 Interstate (federal) Conference that the name "Australian Labour Party" was adopted. In its shortened form the Party was frequently referred to as both 'Labor' and 'Labour', however the former spelling was adopted from 1912 onwards, due to the influence of the American labor movement.

Posted by: Hoges at June 17, 2004 at 03:20 PM

Timbo criticising George Bush is not Anti-Americanism it is anti-Wism.

Do some research you line on Iron Mark's Iraq's policy is as basd as the one on Skanky ho. (How you found out yet what the other meanings are yet?)

Gerry Henderson rightly said Iron Mark could be criticised for creating merry hell with the US with few actual trops coming home.
Those people who have asserted that Iron Mark has flipped flopped on this issue are wrong.
how ironic that you can't even criticise him for the RIGHT issue!

Posted by: Homer Paxton at June 17, 2004 at 03:34 PM

like Freddy boy said,

could we also ban Qld from winning the State of Origin, and Tasmania from being part of Australia.
They could join New Zealand, same island mentalities and we pay for both thru our welfare system


Posted by: dino at June 17, 2004 at 03:34 PM

Bit early to raid the top shelf, isn't it, Homer? Stick to beer until 6pm.

Posted by: tim at June 17, 2004 at 03:44 PM


There's only one left, and sinistra is feminine according to my dictionary, so sinistra delenda est stands.

If as you say sinitra is by default masculine, then it would sinitra delendus est. Sunt would never come into it.

Maybe there are some who would just give up and say Romani ite domum!!

Posted by: Toryhere at June 17, 2004 at 04:27 PM

Sad little myths re kiwis in Australia were long ago debunked by the Australian Statistics Dept. and Immigration. Do some checking.

Posted by: kwol at June 17, 2004 at 04:28 PM

Yeah, Dino, and we should also ban Steve Irwin promoting Australian Quarantine (perilous to small children, especially near crocodiles; also dangerous to Antarctic penguins); and the Bush Tucker man for four-wheel drives
(threatening to our fragile environment). Move State of Origin to AO time, as the sight of yahooing, maroon-painted rednecks from QLD is likely to upset any kiddies watching.

Posted by: Freddyboy at June 17, 2004 at 04:38 PM

so i was 1/2 right the same island mentalities?


Posted by: dino at June 17, 2004 at 04:50 PM

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

Posted by: Hoges at June 17, 2004 at 04:52 PM

I thought you were thinking “leftists” while preserving the -a in delenda from “Carthago delenda est.

But you’re right, as a feminine noun sinistra can mean “the left [side].” I forgot that.

Sinistrista, ending in -ist- like danista, citharista, grammatista, etc.—is first-declension in form but its default gender is masculine. This does not apply to the feminine noun sinistra which is abstract & doesn’t directly refer to a person.

Also, it’s better to say, as you do, “The left is to be destroyed” (Sinistra delenda est) than the over-the-top “Leftists are to be destroyed” (Sinistristae delendi sunt).

Thank you, this has been enlightening. (Turns to face the other rest of the thread’s commenters) So we Latinists have reached firm agreement:


(Commenters hum or sing a medley of old favorites including The Rites of Spring, The Ode to Joy, & Rodeo)

Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 04:52 PM


I was hoping to have a rational argument here, but all I get is slippery slope arguments and black and white world views (if you're not a right-winger, you're a communist).

I have a great deal of respect for conservatism as a world-view, but with the exception of one or two here, you are to conservatism as "tree-hugging-hippies" are to the left.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 04:58 PM

One gets weary of those who want to overregulate commerce in tandem with trial lawyers’ long-term plans to open fresh new rich fields of fat-money-prize litigation. Talk about supersizing it. And then one remembers libs & leftists whom one has known personally & the things that they said when they let their hair & their guards down despite their sincere-seeming denials & self-presentations as moderates at other times. Took long enough to learn about that, one wants to cut to the chase.

Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 05:06 PM

Note: I myself was just now joking around about “leftists are to be destroyed” & I don’t actually think that. I’m used to symmetrically opposite jokes from lib/leftist friends & I’ve taken them as jokes—ribbing & the like. The leftist self-revelations that I speak of were more serious.

Posted by: ForNow at June 17, 2004 at 05:09 PM


Do you really think misrepresenting yourself as a moderate is somehow limited to leftists?
Christ, our own Honest John is quoted as saying that he "hates medicare". I'm sure he still does, but he knows that if he scraps it he won't be re-elected.I don't quite understand the culture on this blog - there's a whole lot of people agreeing with each other then hurling abuse and way over-the-top comments at anyone who comes along with a different opinion. I fail to see the point in sitting on the web making "me to" comments. There are a few good leftist bloggers out there (and a whole lot of morons, just like the right), read them. You might just learn something.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 05:37 PM


Just be consistent with your argument. The same reasoning you apply for allowing credit card and car ads can be applied to the junk food ads which you seek to ban.

Posted by: pat at June 17, 2004 at 05:43 PM

I bet you could ban junk food ads from children's television and not have any appreciable change in kids' eating habits.

Tell me, did the ban on cigarette advertising stop smoking amongst the under 18s?

Posted by: Quentin George at June 17, 2004 at 05:56 PM

That Homos Paxton he write as bad as me maybe werse! And that T fellow he want's society to hold his hand. I think he is fully GAY! Why would U want more Guvernment interference in UR life? F#@k off back to Stalinist China you Mowist!!

Posted by: Bilal at June 17, 2004 at 06:06 PM


From your original argument: 'watching segment after segment of advertising jingles encouraging you to stuff your face with crap definitely contributes to the desire to eat the stuff'.

Well, indeed it may, but your solution of government interference to prevent you, or your children, acting on it is ludicrous.

Society robs itself of any real worth once it presumes its adults are children to be minded or its parents unable to provide their children with basic discipline and guidance.

If you can't accept that common sense reasoning, turn off the television. Or eat first.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 17, 2004 at 06:56 PM


Choosing a principle and then not applying it blindly to every extreme example is not inconsistency.

Creditcards->overspending->bankrupt parents->broken-home is far removed from advertising-crap-in-childrens-shows->eating-crap.

Every principle you can think of breaks down when applied to a sufficiently extreme example, we as human beings posess common sense to decide where to draw the line. On almost every issue, that line will need to be redrawn on a regular basis to suit the changing circumstances.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 06:59 PM

I think we should tell everyone exactly what they should do in every aspect of their lives, and prohibit any and all influences on them that are deemed negative in any way. That way paradise on earth becomes a real possibility.

Jean-Luc Bidet

Posted by: Jean-Luc Bidet at June 17, 2004 at 07:46 PM

t: More likely is that you have some irrational hatred of MacDonalds which is blinding your vision. You continually refer to McD's as "crap" in this thread. Why? Do you have proof that it is "crap"? I eat McDonalds regularly, at least 2-3 times a week. I wouldn't eat it if it was crap.

If kids are getting fat eating McDonalds, it's because they are eating too many calories for their size and not exercising enough. It's got nothing at all to do with the quality of the product they are serving.

The fact is, if you think it's ok to ban advertising of things you don't like (McDonalds, Beer), then you shouldn't have any problem with others wanting to ban advertising of things THEY don't like.

There's plenty of products I dislike that are advertised on TV. I could even make a case why they are bad for consumers. Of course, that case would be bullshit, just like yours, but that doesn't seem to matter nowadays.

Organic food, for example. Organic farmers are a scourge on the majority of responsible, chemical using farmers, because the pests they foster in their own crops tend to cross over into paddocks that have already been sprayed. Organic food should be banned, and if that's not possible, then it shouldn't be allowed to be advertised.

See how easy it is?

The fact is that advertising is not coercion. Nobody is being forced to buy McDonalds, and in fact those poor kiddies probably can't buy it even if they feel an uncontrollable desire to do so. Kids don't have cars or income. They can't drive down to maccas and grab a quarter pounder meal every time they get the munchies.

They require their parents to do it for them.

Kids get fat because their parents feed them too much and don't make them exercise. End of story. McDonalds has nothing to do with it.

I eat McDonalds all the time, and I resemble a whiter, taller Adonis. Go look at my webpage if you don't believe me.

In summation, the reason people are hurling abuse at your opinion is because it's retarded. Have a nice day.

Posted by: yobbo at June 17, 2004 at 08:08 PM

what's this crap about McDonalds being junk food? their burger wrappers state the nutritional content. you'd be worse off eating a coconut milk based malaysian chicken laksa yuppie wanker meal than havin' a quarter pounder!! I've been in touch with 'iron mark latent' re this matter and he's assured me that his government will introduce legislation bringing Australia into line with U.N and E.U eating /health guidelines.

Posted by: roscoe.p at June 17, 2004 at 08:17 PM

I consider myself very heterosexual, but when I saw Mark Lathams breasts when he was playing cricket , I got very hard . Is that normal?

Posted by: John from Newcastle at June 17, 2004 at 08:26 PM

yerr, what you said Yobbo!! myself i'd eat Maccas three times a week 'cept that my fucked left wing local council (byron shire) has stopped the three major food groups- McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Hungry J's/Burger King from setting up in the local area... I have to travel 45 minutes to get my Mickey D's fix! Could someone please bomb Byron Bay?? Please??

Posted by: roscoe.p at June 17, 2004 at 08:32 PM


You have replied with another slippery slope argument.

-Cigarrette advertising is totally banned on TV.

-Liquor advertisements are banned in certain timeslots, i.e. kids aren't going to see an ad for bundy rum during "totally wild".

-Phone sex lines are only advertised after 10pm (or thereabouts).

-According to ToryHere at the top, fastfood advertising is already banned during some childrens shows.

Do you agree with these rules, Yobbo?
Regulation of commercial speech is nothing new, mate.

The airwaves ARE a public resource - as such, the community decides what content can be broadcast and at what times.
We have to draw the line somewhere, and it seems that a significant number of parents would like it drawn in a slightly different place. (otherwise populist Latham wouldn't have proposed the policy).

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 09:16 PM

John from Newcastle:

Nobody ever said the man didn't have nice jubblies.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 17, 2004 at 09:18 PM

Maybe the problem is that the Airwaves are treated as a public resource. Privatise the airwaves and broadcasters will choose subscription, then parents can CHOOSE whether to subscribe to broadcasters that show adverts to their children etc.

Yet again it is the States "common goods" approach that is CAUSING the problem.

Posted by: Rob Read at June 17, 2004 at 10:39 PM

See? The left cant go more that 9 months without having to invent a new enemy. I like the way John Jay Ray put it - he sees it as an issue of elitinsm.

What's even more laughable, is that here at work - the goo-goo types are joining a competition to build a sculture out of tin cans to "stamp out hunger in America" as if the sculpture will feed anyone, and as if there is a siginificant number of hungry poor (who also happen to have a plague of obesity - which as I recall is not infectious.)

Some of the goo-goos are emaciated looking interior designers. Oftentimes you can see their bones. It's disgusting, even by my horny stadards.

The contest runners are a vague lot. I couldn't find out much about them other than the fact that their holding the competition on September 11th, and the people on the committee also appear on web pages involving ISM.

It's all an emotional play to cover for their illusions about society and thier hatred of it.

Posted by: Joe at June 17, 2004 at 10:43 PM


"-Cigarrette advertising is totally banned on TV.
-Liquor advertisements ...
-Phone sex lines are only advertised after 10pm (or thereabouts)."

These bans are also ludicrous. If a product is legal then it should be legal to advertise it. End of story. All the rest is rationalisation of an anti-libertarian, slightly spooky, view that somehow we or you know best what's good for someone else.

How many commercial TV networks would actually jeopardize their prime time ratings by broadcasting Phone sex lines ads. That's what markets do, regulate.

I have small school age children. I do not worry that these things should be regulated because I am a parent. In my house, in my childrens lives, I exercise totalitarian power. I am all three arms of the domestic government, executive, judicial and legislative. If it happens then I let it happen.

Posted by: Dean McAskil at June 17, 2004 at 10:44 PM

You shouldn't mock. Obesity is a real problem. I recently saw a study that found that 2 in every 4 Americans are actually the same person.

Posted by: tim g at June 17, 2004 at 10:47 PM

Privatise the airwaves? I presume your talking about some sort of encrypted signal that you get a decoder card for, ala satelite TV.
I actually wouldn't have a problem with that. If parents had to conciously choose to allow a certain channel, I would be opposed to any government meddling with their station. Until that time, if they broadcast in a format that any TV can recieve, the community will demand a say in what gets broadcast.

Of course, you'd need a few draconian/anti-libertarian laws to stop people from building cards which decrypt the signal free of charge.
Don't worry though when a corporation is out to make a profit, who cares what free-speech rights get trampled.
See: DirecTV in the states.

Posted by: t at June 17, 2004 at 11:13 PM

"-Cigarrette advertising is totally banned on TV.
-Liquor advertisements are banned in certain timeslots, i.e. kids aren't going to see an ad for bundy rum during "totally wild".
-Phone sex lines are only advertised after 10pm (or thereabouts).
-According to ToryHere at the top, fastfood advertising is already banned during some childrens shows.

Do you agree with these rules, Yobbo?"


"Regulation of commercial speech is nothing new, mate."

So, your point is: It's been around a long time, so it must be good? Like Slavery? Or Herpes?

"We have to draw the line somewhere".

That's where you're wrong. We don't have to draw the line anywhere. If you don't like what's on the TV, then switch channels or turn it off. It's very simple.

You can already get a chip that will block channels to your TV. Or, you can simply tune the TV to not receive channels you don't like. This is accomplished by utilising the "Manual Tuning" function on the TV.

But no, instead of implementing these simple methods to stop our kids being fattened up by McDonalds, we should ban the ads instead. Because you said so.

Posted by: yobbo at June 17, 2004 at 11:29 PM

I'm 100% in favor of 110% in favor of banning this tub of lard from advertising any of his fatheaded products.

Posted by: Papertiger at June 17, 2004 at 11:34 PM

I'm still trying to figure out why "t" gives a rat's ass how other people live their lives, and why "t" thinks his preferences should have any impact on the lives of others.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at June 17, 2004 at 11:49 PM

t - i think you're still failing to show why advertising directed at kids is harmful at all. So what if they want to eat Maccas all the time - someone has to buy it for them. Secondly the Big Mac is one of life's great pleasures - why are we so brutally opposed to the stuff? 'Super size me' was an exercise in gross hyperbole, it doesn't prove that the odd Maccas every now and then will make you sick.

So t, what would you allow to be advertised during kids shows?

This is another one of Latham's gimmick policies to hide the fact he doesn't have position on some serious issues like the trade deal with the US.

Posted by: Fred at June 17, 2004 at 11:58 PM

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. ~George Orwell

Also, it seems like Latham's policies are heavily influenced by current movies. The Day After Tomorrow was shortly followed by the insertion of a Green into the party. Super Size me results in an attack against McDonalds. What's next? Anti zombie & vampire policies (Day of the Dead & Van Hesling).

Posted by: Mr T at June 18, 2004 at 12:16 AM

Let me see, that big bad Maccas run Ronald MacDonald House, sponsor countless charities that help sick and underprivellaged kids, sponsor hundreds of sporting events for kids and adults. Is Latham going to Ban that as well???

I would hazzard a guess that more kids die from push bike accidents than maccas each year so ban them. How many kids die on average in backyard pools, better stop advertising them too.

What is the death toll on kids hit at pedestrian crossings or as passengers in cars, ban car adds...

Typical labor/Left view, it is always someone elses fault im fat, stupid, lazy, a crimminal or just a total fuckwit.

I don't know too many eight year olds that drive themselves to maccas for breakky or lunch so what is Latham's fucking point..

The guy is a total fuckwit.
Troops out/Some troops out.
Ban junk food adds/Ban some junk food adds

Anyone heard of somecunt

Posted by: scott at June 18, 2004 at 12:46 AM

Are We All Children?

Why is any government responsible for helping to remedy problems that adults should be able to handle? Parents, or other adult care givers, are the ones who must act like the adults they are and say NO to the child. If the child is overweight from eating too much of the wrong food, the adults are to blame for allowing this to happen. It isn't the government, fast food places, or TV ads that are to blame for a parent feeding a child the wrong food.

Are the adults in an overweight child's life unable to tell their children that fast foods are off the menu? If so, the problem is deeper than what banning commercials will solve.

When I was growing up and was bombarded with toy ads, there were many toys that I WANTED. My parents refused to give in to my demands. They purchased what they could afford and what they deemed good for me. I did the same with my own children, who were bombarded with toy and food ads. It's difficult to say NO to a child, but it's part of being a parent.

It's dangerous for our societies to have our governments interfere so much with our lives. It's as if we are expecting our governments to be our parents and we are the children of our governments.

Have a problem? Let's get the government involved to help fix it!! We can't be expected to make choices for ourselves. Can't let us be exposed to the evils of advertising, why we may make the WRONG CHOICES. Our government will protect us by removing the temptation, of choice, from our lives. We can't be allowed to make the WRONG CHOICE.

I am tired of all the various groups who want to treat me as a child by removing what they have deemed as bad influences. Ads aimed at children influence me, as a parent, because I am responsible for what my child purchases. I don't want my government to believe it is a parent to my child. My government is not responsible for how ads influence my child. I am. I want that responsibility because it's part of being a parent.

There are many things I expect my government to do and regulate. Removing temptation from my child, thus from me listening to my child's demands, is not one of them. I expect my tax money to be spent on other things.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at June 18, 2004 at 01:39 AM

Heh, should Latham come to power I hava whole Barrage of "In Mark Lathams Australia" jokes,
/Yakov Smirnoff mode
In Soviet Russia, gun shoots YOU

Posted by: JBB at June 18, 2004 at 01:56 AM

I'm a bit late to the party, but I do so love t's incessant complaining about how people are using the slippery slope to extrapolate from his opinion, when his own major argument (besides "Let's Do It For The Children") can be paraphrased as "advertising for X and Y are already banned, so you can't disagree with banning Z as well". Well, as long as it's his Z...if it's somebody else's Z, it becomes a slippery slope argument that has no basis in reality. Oookay.

I guess that's what happens when people mostly slept through Logic 101 and only remember the catch-phrases.

Posted by: PW at June 18, 2004 at 02:41 AM

Well, PW, at least t isn't moving the goal posts in his arguments. He just won't accept any other conclusions than his own.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 18, 2004 at 04:56 AM

Chris, allow Monsieur Bidet to explain it to you.

These days, because of relentless oppressive capitalist hegemony, both parents have to be slaves to the corporate structure in order to provide shelter and food for their families. Because of this, they have precious little time with their children. They need this time to be "quality time." But how can it be so, when the precious children, after watching TV all day, have been brainwashed to demand junk food from their parents as soon as the poor exhausted parents come home? Given their limited bonding time, parents are helpless in the face of such demands. They give in, and the result is an epidemic of lardliness. When these kids grow up they are unattractive, thus the birth rate plummets, leading to all sorts of problems. So we have to stop this pernicious process at the source: greedy corporate brainwashing of innocent children. If not, heck, we might as well allow advertisements for heroin during cartoon shows!

Got it?

Jean-Luc Bidet

Posted by: Jean-Luc Bidet at June 18, 2004 at 09:58 AM

Actually, the core of my argument is that the community has a right to control what is broadcast in a public medium. Citizens have the right to drive down the road and not see a billboard for a porno film.
It seems that libertarians rule the roost here, but I will say that unfettered commercial speech makes for a pretty crap place to live.

Now to why I care: Because I'm sick of seeing the health system treating fat, lazy people with my bloody money when there are people out there with health care needs resulting from misfortune.
There are not enough resources to look after them because some fatso with no sense of personal responsibility stuffed their face with crap and now has diabetes, bad knees and heart disease.

If it were possible to re-jig the healthcare system to exclude people who willfully destroy themselves, then I wouldn't care less if people (or their children) smoke, drink, get fat.
Sadly, this is pretty much impossible to achieve without scrapping public healthcare entirely and apart from a few libertarian idealogues, not many want to do this.

The best option therefore, to reduce the strain on the system, is for the community or government to step in and take simple measures to curb the problem.
I'm looking forward to Howard's compulsory school sport program - sounds like a good idea! Childhood obesity is a multi-faceted problem, I'd like to see more compulsory exercise, banning junk food at school canteens, restricting ads on TV etc.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 10:43 AM

In that case, you're confusing the symptom with the problem. You might want to spend your time lobbying for a change to the health care system if you feel it's sending your money to the wrong people, rather than try to get rid of those wrong people (through means whose effectiveness you've argued rather badly, no less).

Besides, if you're so worried about your money being sucked out of your pockets, you might want to reconsider whether instituting regulations that are bound to create yet more sprawling bureaucracy is really the best way to deal with it. That stuff costs you money, too, you know?

Posted by: PW at June 18, 2004 at 11:36 AM


I don't say that you are wrong. I too am no libertarian, though I think that any measure that restricts freedom should not be implemented unless the benefit outweighs the loss of freedom that will occur.

I think we can all agree that restrictions on ugly or obscene things in the public domain are sometimes appropriate. However, the public domain doesn't really include TV or other things and places that can be turned off or not visited (so building regulations are OK, but censorship of artworks is not).

The argument about health costs is probably not a good one either. The amount of GST payable on fast food is huge. Therefore, you could argue that those who are sufferring from obesity-related diseases from eating fast-food pay for their own health-care.

In any case, the cause of obesity is far more complex than eating too much fast food. Lack of exercise is probably even a bigger problem. So even if you did ban fast-food advertising, fat related illnesses would still occur. In that case maybe it would be better to ressurect the old "Life be it" campaign that encouraged people to exercise more. Education is always better than legislation.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 18, 2004 at 11:52 AM

PW, Toryhere:

If you could propose a *workable* change to the healthcare system that made it possible to discriminate somewhat against people who don't look after themselves, I might well support it. Sadly, as you point out, the beauracratic regulations involved in such a system may well end up costing more than you save. There would be endless courtcases involving 250pounds of lard complaining that the tax-payer won't pay for their third triple by-pass.

I absolutely agree that lack of exercise is probably a bigger problem than poor eating habits and you'll see above that I support Howard's move for more compulsory sport at school. We need to get kids active and create active habits they carry on into later life.

Most of us agree that there should be some regulations about what can be broadcast on TV and at what times. There is already a board that oversees what's appropriate for each timeslot, giving them a directive to be more restrictive about junk-food advertising would not cost very much.

I think what it comes down to is whether restricting the ads works or not. I would say that it probably does, else McD's etc would not pay so much money to do it.
There are other countries that have already done this but the only information that we have is one group saying "it works" and another saying "it doesn't".

The costs of obesity is enourmous and will only get worse as the population ages. This is a DISASTER in the making.
With over half the population fat, THEY will be calling the shots at the election, and many of them will demand public money to treat their health problems. If yout hink the healthcare cost is bad now, wait till you see the medicare levy in 2030.

It's far better to make the tough decisions now that may rub a few ideologies the wrong way and head off the problem before it becomes any worse.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 12:38 PM

"I'd like to see more compulsory exercise"

Oh my god, you're a fucking phys ed teacher. These too-ugly-to-be-bull-dykes were the bane of my childhood, forcing me to take gymnastics because I was skinny (ignoring the fact that I had all the coordination of a boiled noodle, the muscle tone of a wet dishrag, and got vertigo if I stood on a stepstool). They were the ones forcing us to play some inane version of (American) football Especially For Girls™ called "tag football" (you had to wear these vests with ribbons hanging off them, and grabbing the ribbon was the same as a "tackle," supposedly; it was to keep our delicate female selves from getting all hurt, but had been apparently designed by unworldly Carmelite nuns who had no idea of how many clever ways a teenage girl could cold-cock you without seeming to have ever laid a finger on you)...

(deep breath)

... in the hot goddamn Florida sun. The ones who wouldn't give you a pass out of mandatory track day because you had your period even if you were gushing like Niagara and had to change your pad every fifteen minutes...

In short, you, t, have revealed yourself to be one of those evil little fascisti who made the lives of teenage girls hell. You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!

Boy, I hated Phys Ed.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 18, 2004 at 01:03 PM

Some Phys Ed teachers take it a bit too far.

Posted by: Hoges at June 18, 2004 at 01:52 PM

Andrea: I'm sorry that your experience with PhysEd was so poor. I'm far removed from a Physed teacher myself, but I do look back fondly on school sport (even though it was fashionable to whinge about it at the time)

I'd envisage possible *options* including, walking, leisure cycling, swimming, gym, football, tennis, etc etc.
In older years, outdoor pursuits was popular at my school, kids would have done that class every semester if they could (even the fat ones ;). We used to go caving, canyoning, rockclimbing. Great times.

You have to offer sports that kids *want* to play, and then let them choose.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 02:01 PM

Goddamn, t, I have to hand it to you. You are good. Andrea went and pissed all over you, and you come back with an apology, by golly!

Do you know how few people have withstood Andrea at Warp 10? Not many. And you, you held your ground. Firmly. Proudly. Defianty. And politely.

I would be in awe, except that only someone with the placidity of a milk cow chewing her cud, or the patience of a wolf stalking prey, would be able to survive this many direct hits. And neither condition impresses me.

Talking to you is like throwing rocks at a brick wall. The brick wall is too dense, and the rocks just bounce off.

In case you don't get the point, I am not complimenting you.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 18, 2004 at 03:14 PM

Scrolling up this thread, she made one post about how her physEd teacher was a dickhead and somehow this is a direct hit? hmmm. I guess that PROVES that compulsory exercise for school kids is a bad idea.

I supposed your referring to the other thread - when someone posts little more than extensions of someone's argument and personel insults, why the heck would I get upset?
Perhaps you have read some of Andrea's other posts and therefore have respect for her, until she demonstrates an ability to make a post that doesn't involve a strawman and an insult, I'll just go on not caring.

On the global-warming thread, I haven't seen a great deal more than variations on "we can't be certain, let's do nothing".
Sorry mate, but thats the argument the anti-war protestors used, I bet you bagged them for it then.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 04:20 PM

When all is said and done, T., banning ads won't stop people getting fat, no matter how well-intentioned. End of story.

Posted by: ilibcc at June 18, 2004 at 04:30 PM


'Tis a shame that our little debate got hijacked by PE teacher-phobes.

We were doing quite well I think. It seemed that we both agreed that some regulation of what is seen on TV is a good conservative position. However, my point was that banning advertisements is a last resort, not the first thing that should be done.

I suppose a lot of the would be banners really want to ban fast food advertising because, like me, they find the whole fast food industry aesthetically displeasing and working class. However, I don't think it will cut down obesity that much, whilst it will cut down personal freedom one more notch and give employment to more useless public servants and other busy-bodies who can't hack it in the real world of commerce.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 18, 2004 at 04:31 PM

Ah! A response other than repeating your arguments, changing the goal posts, and ignoring facts. You are reading these posts, not just banging out mindless replies.

Try the other threads, t, where she noted your inability to accept other arguments and facts and called you a pea brain. Remember?

But Toryhere and ilibcc are correct, and this point has been made multiple times. Banning fast food ads, or controlling TV ads, will not prevent obesity. Obesity generally comes from people eating too much and exercising too little. In a word, laziness. It does not happen because TV ads drive people to eat McDonalds.

Encouraging exercise is a good idea. Forcing exercise is bogus because that's not all you need. The drill sergeant approach in school is what Andrea pointed out....and I have to agree. People will exercise only if they want to. And a good diet is the other half of the equation. It's a matter of lifestyle, not regimentation.

And none of this will happen because Big Brother will lead people by the hand and tell them what to think, or by controlling the boob tube.

The solution? Well, I don't have an easy one. Obviously, an active lifestyle has to be encouraged. But that comes from parents and family, not the government. You could require ads promoting an active lifestyle (if they aren't already on the air as public service announcements). That would be an acceptable counter meme instead of simply banning fast food ads.

McDonalds is changing their menus to include "healthy meals" (odd, they've always sold salads and such, so it's hardly new) here in the US, after some lardbutts tried to sue McD's for selling them cheesburgers. So someone in Corporate HQ already has the message.

Hmmmmm....now that I think on it, cigarette commercials have been banned from TV in the US for years. Funny thing is, people of all ages are still smoking. And there's advertising against smoking now....what a concept!

t, your argument for banning fast food ads is goofy because that simply won't work. Human nature and other forms of advertising will simply ignore any such restrictions.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 18, 2004 at 04:52 PM

"Chris, allow Monsieur Bidet to explain it to you.
These days, because of relentless oppressive capitalist hegemony, both parents have to be slaves to the corporate structure in order to provide shelter and food for their families. Because of this, they have precious little time with their children."

This argument is BS. It's mainly used by people who have only experienced a nice middle class existence where the kids behaved because mom stayed at home while dad went to work. For many people like myself, who didn't have the luxury of growing up middle class, mom worked outside the home just like dad did. No mom at home baking cookies when we got out of school.

The neighborhood that I grew up in had no stay at home moms. People were trying to make a better life for their families and needed two incomes to do it. The only females I was aware of who stayed home all day were the ones on TV.

All the females on both sides of the family, including grandmothers, worked outside the home. All my friends' mothers worked outside the home. We used to be called 'latch key kids'. We wore a chain around our necks with the house key on it so we could let ourselves in after school.

My parents and my friends' parents were able to discipline us and work outside the home. My friends and I were all exposed to many hours of unsupervised TV. Exposed to all the ads. Made demands on our parents to purchase what we saw on TV. Our parents said NO.

Most of us now live in much better neighborhoods than those we grew up in, but we also have two parents working. Our children are told NO, when it's appropriate. I don't see what's so hard.

I don't want my government to become my parent or my child's parent. I want as little government interference in my life as possible. Yes, this means we may have people who drain the health system because of choices they have made. Solve this in another way. Don't solve it by asking the government to decide what's best for us and watch out over us as if we were children.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at June 18, 2004 at 04:56 PM


Since it is not an ideological dispute, it's just a matter of efficacy.
No one is claiming the ban would solve the problem, the question is would it make a difference at a low cost?

I'd be opposed to banning fast-food advertising entirely because ultimately adults make up their own mind. Ronald McDonald however is CLEARLY targeted directly at children and there is no question that it does create demand. This is not to say that if kids didn't hear about the latest flavour of cardboard they wouldn't want to eat it - simply that it does fade from your mind when your not bombarded with jingles.

Reading above you will see that I proposed a school sport program that included sports that kids acually want to play. Why not ask them what they would like to do? At my high school we used to have wedensday activities. If a kid thought of something new and could arrange a teacher ton run it, it was offered.
Wednesdays were the highlight of the week for many.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 05:27 PM

T: I still haven't seen you explain why turning the TV off is not an acceptable solution.

Posted by: yobbo at June 18, 2004 at 07:14 PM


It is an acceptable option, pity most parents won't do it.

Every choice you make must take into account a wide variety of factors; for most parents, junk food ads in a childrens program are not likely to be a sufficently big deal to justify locking the TV to the ABC. They will grudgingly accept it.
Market forces will control big issues, but have little effect over the small ones until they start to add up.

Secondly, parents have failed to encourage healthy habits in their kids. An entire generation of obesity would be an absolute disaster, so otherwise ideologically unpallatable steps have to be taken. If you come up with a magic bullet that solves all the problems, I'm all ears. Until that time, I'll be supporting a variety of incremental steps that will add up to some positive results.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 07:44 PM


Sad to hear Byron Bay Council has banned Pizza Hut, McDonald's and Hungry Jack's. I presume this was justified on health grounds? If so, did they also ban kebabs? Fish and chip shops? Cake shops? Snack food from the supermarket? Non-franchised pizza shops?

[Penny Drops] Did they ban any NON-FRANCHISED vendor of high-fat foods? If not, is it possible the ban was not implemented on health grounds, but due to an ideological agenda? It's hard to believe. Surely, the highly principled leftists on the council would be above such petty vindictiveness.

This is why I am leery of the Kyoto protocol. When the burden of compliance falls heavily on 2-300 million Americans, while 2.6 billion Chinese and Indians can generate CO2 unfettered, it's pretty obvious that securing the future of the planet is not its primary aim.

Posted by: Clem Snide at June 18, 2004 at 09:00 PM

Yeah, but when those 2-300 million Americans (approx 4% of the world's population) already produce 25% of the entire world's emissions, it hardly seems unreasonable to ask them to cut back.

Posted by: t at June 18, 2004 at 09:40 PM

Maybe not, t. But if the primary goal of Kyoto was emissions control rather than economic war against the USA, wouldn't the rapidly growing Chinese and Indian economies with their 2.6 billion people and less stringent environmental controls be one of the major concerns of the Kyoto rather than its biggest loophole? After all, what is more important, the fate of the planet, or economic growth in China and India relative to the USA?

Posted by: Clem Snide at June 18, 2004 at 10:29 PM

But of course we all know that the "emissions" of which you speak don't really cause "global warming" anyway, that the cuts proposed at Kyoto weren';t enough to make any diffrence, even iof "global warming" was occurring, and that there would be no limits on China, India, etc increasing their "emissions" by more than the reductions forced on the West. All the time of course our economies would be adversely affected, so that the facists of Grenenpeace and like organisations can feel good about themselves.

Posted by: Toryhere at June 18, 2004 at 11:06 PM

You know, if the Columbia space shuttle had been coated with whatever substance t's skull consists of, I'll bet it wouldn't have exploded. (By the way, t, you keep repeating that "the US produces 25% of the world's emissions" line as if you knew what it meant, but I don't think that you do. If the knowledge of what it does mean ever penetrates your corundum-sheathed brainette, I think we'll hear no more from you on the Kyoto treaty.)

Oh, and this will make some of you laugh: would you like to know the reason I hold the phys ed teacher who forced me into gymnastics in such low regard? (By the way, congrats to those of you who understood my phys ed rant to be half in jest; in other words, no soup for you, Toryhere!) Well, see, I had signed up for a course in slimnastics, which was a straight exercise regimen instead of the pointless games or dangers to life and limb that gymnastics represented. But since I wasn't a fatty -- never mind that my muscular structure sure could have used toning -- I was told that I didn't "need" to be in that course. So I, the one with the weak middle ear and no physical dexterity whatsoever, was assigned to activities which could have resulted in permanent physical injury. I made a "D" in the course but at least my neck didn't get broken, but it played hell with my grade point average.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 20, 2004 at 04:29 PM

Didn't work in Sweden.

Posted by: Edward the penitent. at June 20, 2004 at 10:26 PM