ABAC appoints new Independent Chair

20 June, 2018 by Andy Young

The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), has announced the appointment of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Harry Jenkins, as it new Independent Chair.

Jenkins will step into the role after ABAC’s inaugural Independent Chair, the Hon Alan Ferguson, retires at the end of June.

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Bringing a wealth of experience to the role, having served in federal parliament for 27 years, including as Speaker for three-and-a-half years, Jenkins said he was excited about taking on the ABAC role.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Jenkins said. “When you look at the work of ABAC, it’s a prime example of how industry can take the lead in ensuring its activities are consistent with community values.

“ABAC has kept pace with the times and is attuned to the new and ever-emerging issues around social, online and digital media, with industry, through ABAC, demonstrating its willingness to be ahead of the curve.

“ABAC’s embracing of new Placement rules last year, governing where and when alcohol advertising can and cannot take place, is a case in point. It’s that proactive and dynamic recognition of the changing landscape that is really important and why I am excited about the Independent Chair role.”

The Deputy Chair of the ABAC Management Committee, Brett Heffernan said he was delighted with the appointment.

“We’re just wild about Harry,” Heffernan said.

“He comes to the advertising control body at an important time, providing strong independent leadership as ABAC continues to evolve in meeting public expectations about alcohol advertising, but also in explaining the functions of ABAC and the rationale behind its decisions.

“Importantly, Harry is highly regarded across the political divide and has a well-known public reputation for not tolerating nonsense.”

Heffernan also paid tribute to Ferguson’s three-and-a-half years at the helm of ABAC.

“Alan has provided independence, continuity and a fresh perspective throughout his tenure as Independent Chair,’ he said.

“The ABAC Management Committee is grateful for his leadership and sage advice in helping ABAC to evolve over the last three years to keep pace with community expectations and a rapidly changing media landscape. We wish him all the best for his well-earned retirement from the position.”

Ferguson added: “I am honoured to have been part of ABAC. I have always been impressed with its preparedness to acknowledge, and get out in front of, emerging issues to ensure it meets and, indeed, exceeds, community expectations to provide a strong regulatory framework for responsible alcohol marketing in Australia.

“Harry Jenkins’ reputation precedes him. He is very well placed to lead ABAC into its next phase as it reaches the milestone of 20 years of operation in Australia.”