News, Culture & Society

Teal independent to go after McDonalds, KFC and Hungry Jacks in new bill: Dr Sophie Scamps

Teal independent to go after McDonalds, KFC and Hungry Jacks – as she aims to BAN junk food advertising targeting children

  • Dr Sohpie Scamps won the seat of Mackellar in the March federal election 
  • The former GP wants to re-examine how fast food is advertised to children 
  • She is working on a bill that may propose it is banned in sport and prime-time TV 

Burgers, fizzy drinks, and chocolate bars that have graced prime-time screens for years could be banned under an advertising plan from a newly elected politician. 

Dr Sophie Scamps has given away her GP job on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for an office in Parliament House after riding the wave of Teal support at the March federal election. 

The Independent member for Mackellar has her sights set of tackling Australia’s obesity epidemic and is working on a private members’ bill to outlaw prime-time junk food advertising and sponsorship of sports teams. 

‘Advertising that targets children, during the times when children are watching TV, at their sporting events, all those things need to be looked at. They can be changed,’ Dr Scamps told the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Prime-time fast food ads are in the sights of a newly elected federal MP (stock image) 

Who are the Teals? 

The so-called Teals are a coalition of Independents who snatched several key seats from the outgoing Liberal Party Government in the 2022 federal election.

Backed by multi-millionaire Simon Holmes à Court, the Teals campaigned heavily on climate policy and other social issues in wealthy inner-city electorates.

All up nine Teal candidates won seats in parliament. 

One of the biggest outlets for fast food advertising dollars is sport – both at a school and professional level. 

KFC has been synonymous with Australian cricket for decades, while Hungry Jack’s recently renewed it’s naming rights on the NBL.

Similarly, McDonald’s has just renewed it’s partnership with the AFL for another 10 years and bankrolls hundreds of grassroots sporting clubs, as well as Little Athletics in NSW. 

With the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare estimating about a quarter of Aussie kids are overweight and 10 per cent obese, critics are suggesting all that junk food advertising could be getting in the way of sending the healthy message of sport to children. 

‘We have a choice. We either look at prevention, or we start to expand our hospital systems radically now to deal with that chronic health disease burden,’ Dr Scamps said.

Dr Sophie Scamps (pictured) wants to introduce a bill to limit junk food advertising on TV and in sport

Dr Sophie Scamps (pictured) wants to introduce a bill to limit junk food advertising on TV and in sport 

Under the advertising industry self-regulated codes images of fast food (pictured) can be shown during blocks of programming aimed specifically at kids but prime time is ok

Under the advertising industry self-regulated codes images of fast food (pictured) can be shown during blocks of programming aimed specifically at kids but prime time is ok

She compared it to the tobacco advertising ban that swept through sport in the 80s. 

The federal government does have the powers to impose such a blanket ban on advertising but prefers to let the industry police itself through it’s official Ad Standards set of codes. 

This code states sporting sponsorship is fine – so long as just the company logo appears and pictures of the food or drink in question are  never shown.

‘Junk’ food can also not be advertised during children’s programming blocks – but is fine in prime-time where kids may be watching with adults and is even more of a gray area online. 

The previous government’s National Obesity Strategy – a plan to tackle the issue that seems to have been shelved ahead of the federal election – said children were exposed to on average more than 820 junk food advertisements every year. 

Dr Scamps said a reduction in ads children see would have a positive effect on their health and directly translate to a reduction of ‘pester power’. 

McDonalds has been a fixture of school and community sport for decades but Dr Scamps said 'all those things need to be looked at'

McDonalds has been a fixture of school and community sport for decades but Dr Scamps said ‘all those things need to be looked at’

HEALTHY WEIGHT IN CHILDREN

Being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of developing long-term health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, while being underweight can also be a health risk factor for some people.

Almost one quarter (24.9 per cent) of children aged 5-17 years in Australia were overweight or obese in 2017-18 (17per cent overweight and 8.1 per cent obese). 

The rates were similar for boys and girls and this has remained stable over the previous ten years.

In adolescents, there was a large increase for those aged 18-24 years, with 38.9 per cent overweight or obese in 2014-15 compared with 46.0 per cent in 2017-18.

Source: Australian government ABS data. 

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk