Tony Abbott Gives Up the Coke

Tony Abbott, known by some as the “Mad Monk” of Federal Parliament, has advocated the removal of soft drinks from household fridges, and a “McDonalds-style” campaign by the company (and possibly through Government funding) to promote healthy lifestyles.

What has gotten into that man’s head?

People should be free to drink whatever the hell they like – whether it be Coke, battery acid or a quiet shandy. Insofar as it cause a health problem, it’s not Coke that is the problem but people’s sedentary lifestyles. “Feed me, clothe me, entertain me in the shortest and most convenient possible way”. That people are increasingly fat isn’t the result of Coke consumption, but the result of increasingly lazy and inactive lifestyles mixed with a large percentage of their diet being high sugar, low quality foods.

Coke has been around for over 100 years, a magnificent product drunk the world over. That diabetes is an increasing health issue isn’t the fault or cause of this company’s products, but the lack of understanding of nutrition in the general populace.

What is Tony thinking? A demand management program funded by the supply side?

On one had he has a point: McDonalds has done EXTREMELY well to reposition themselves as a provider of “healthy choices”. A few years ago, there was some strong debate over whether Macca’s and other fast food companies should be banned from advertising during children’s TV and other times. Macca’s then decided: “what is fast food”? Is Macca’s “fast food” or is a Big Mac “fast food”? So they increased their sales of fresh fruit, vegetables, rolls, wraps, salads and cereals. Now they are the biggst supplier of salad in Australia. If anyone were to advocate banning McDonald’s advertising, it would result in some very tricky, very difficult theorising, let alone a mess of legislation.

Coca-Cola have gone down a similar path. They have purchased SPC, the famous Victorian Fruit company, and made a play at Berri a few years ago. They were also running their financial calculators over National Foods, maker of Pura Milk, Yoplait and Big M before it was taken over by San Miguel. They obviosuly understand the nature of diversification for business’ sake and also to diversify away from being a “sugar” company.

So where does this leave Abbott? Seemingly, trying to promote Coke. In a weird, touchy-feely, nice guy, “an apple a day will keep tertiary health costs down per day” sort of way. Abbott should be encouraging preventative, healthy lifestyles through a words and deeds, not legislation. With this sort of thinking, I’m not sure he’s actually on the right side of Parliament.

Coke should be doing one thing only. Making, promoting and selling it’s products as best it can, with the highest possible margins for the good of it’s shareholders. If they feel they should encourage helathy lifestyles as a PR, CSR style “nice guy” push, then fine. If Coke makes great profits, then the Government gets tax revenues, shareholders and consumers are happy, and Abbott should go jump – it’s good excercise.

Constantine Frantzeskos


You are not signed in. Sign in to post comments.

  • Coca Cola missing from the playground!?! God no! We can’t deny coca cola the opportunity to be enjoyed by anyone at all. After all, it isn’t liquor, it isn’t a pill.

    Governments are made of people. People who beyond politics have ambitions of good paying jobs. Jobs that will inevitably come from the industry they are watching or watching over. Imagine someone like Tony Abbott singling out a specific industry or two and effectively cutting them out of a market. No friends to be made there I can tell you.

    So why stop soft drinks and unhealthy foods in schools? What sets them apart from other markets? The kids have a choice and the authorities an obligation to educate. You essentially tell us that teaching kids not to eat and drink crap will achieve just that. What about Aborigines and petrol? Why do certain central Australian Aboriginal communities see the need to replace regular petrol that sniffers like, with Opal petrol that sniffers can’t enjoy because it is low in aromatics. At great cost that cannot be recouped.

    When engineers carry out risk assessments they develop solutions to threats.
    Education is one solution: Teach those in contact with the threat to handle it responsibly.
    Engineering: Manufacture the threat to be physically contained.
    Paperwork: Keep track of the circumstances that will lead to the threat.
    Last resort—Remove: That’s right, remove the activity that may lead to a threat altogether.

    Just the same way you learned in year 9 sex ed. Abstain. It is the safest method.

    Governments will inevitably have to take the very difficult step of removing perceived threats to their people by removing them. “It’s a free country” is the mantra of the Untouchable, one of no social standing, no wisdom but sewer rat cunning. McDonalds peddling healthier alternatives is really all smoke and mirrors. Coca Cola selling sports waters and Frucor selling caffeine fixes are products that have created a market in order to satisfy it. You don’t need Powerade if you aren’t exhausted from running. And you simply don’t need tenfold the reccomended intake of caffeine for any reason (other perhaps than to awaken from a coma).

    How tall do you remember kids being in Year 8 when you went to school? 4’6″? 5′? Have you seen how big they are now? How much taller, stronger, fatter? They’re eating like you never did, all 12 of their nutrinionally approved meals, snacks and supplements a day. Home kitchens have benchspace increased from 450mm to 600mm. Bigger fridges, larger pantries. More takeaways, larger portions. No matter how healthy the recommended daily intake is, you will eat the whole package.

    The poor suffer though. Food is easier and cheaper from the fast fooders and coke is thought to be a necessary beverage with takeaway. They are truly helpless to deal with all the choices thrown at them and a politician narrowing their choices down would seen to be a brave decision.

    Not in this world though. Governments discouraging any legal commercial activity have no place in today’s world. Governments would rather spend vast amounts of money fixing the damage an industry creates rather than ban the industry altogether. Smoking is one that comes to mind straight away.

    If we have warning labels on cigarettes and a blanket ban on advertising, how far away are we from doing the same with sugar and saturated fats? Who’s brave to even suggest this?

    You know what, it’s too hard. But thanks for trying Mr Abbott.

    Apostolos Karagianni 14 years ago

  • “Governments discouraging any legal commercial activity have no place in today’s world”

    Amen to that Brother. Freedom to speak. Freedom to consort. Freedom to sell. freedom to buy. Freedom to participate.

    Conno 14 years ago

Comments are closed