The Harmful Effects of Taxing Cheap Wine

How stupid and intrusive can government possibly get? Pretty stupid and intrusive, it turns out. The latest outrage is a plan by Australia’s health fascists to raise taxes on cheap wine so people will stop getting drunk on it.

Using big boy words they must have learned from a consultant, someone at the Australian National Preventative Health Agency wants to establish a ‘floor price’ for cheap wine, below which it won’t go. First off, can you believe there even IS such an agency, and that you’re paying for it?

But that is not our main point. Our main point is that the agency should butt out of people’s private lives. One of life’s great pleasures is cheap wine. The hangover the next day is not so pleasant, of course. But this is life.

The agency is worried about the harmful effects of drinking too much cheap wine. It reckons, that pricing is, ‘recognised as one of the most effective measures to reducing alcohol-related harm.’ As much as we’d like to congratulate them on this stupendous insight, the best we can say is, ‘duh!’

Of course making things more expensive discourages people from buying them. In this case, the Feds want to put the cheap wine makers out of business to save the livers of people who didn’t ask for any saving. But if they take cheap wine into oblivion, the truly hard up will find a substitute. Rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, and moonshine are just a few.

But the principle of the thing is what matters here. Using the tax system to coerce people into behaviour YOU think they should be following isn’t just busy-body meddling. It’s a slow-motion assault on a free society. It’s always done in the name of your best interests. But it always results in you having less choice, more rules to follow, and higher taxes to pay.

What we ought to do is abolish the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and use the money saved to buy everyone a drink. Then we can all toast to being adults, living with our own choices, being responsible for our own actions, and enjoying as much cask wine as we like before we all die. We’ll drink to that!


Dan Denning
for Markets and Money

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Dan Denning
Dan Denning examines the geopolitical and economic events that can affect your investments domestically. He raises the questions you need to answer, in order to survive financially in these turbulent times.

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7 Comments on "The Harmful Effects of Taxing Cheap Wine"

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Not a great fan of goon bags or cheap wine but there are plenty of options to making your own drinks for a fraction of the cost of commercially available tipples. Obviously brewing your own beer is cheap and you can get excellent results nowadays for minimal outlay. You could make a carton (9L) of beer for under $10. Making your own wine is more complicated, and has more capital outlay and results are highly variable. But buying 500kg of grapes and using shared crushing equipment ($$$) you can make a years supply of wine (1 bottle per day) for… Read more »

Stop it! Stop it now. The government is certainly Nannyish. Smokers should be able to smoke, just don’t pay for their medical problems associated with it, just make it clear. Let the people have wine, it’s their choice, and if they have a medical condition with excessive consumption, don’t pay for it. make it clear. Please let us think for ourselves.


Call that rant journalism? You may have a point, but your speel is so angry and one-sided only a few ignorant people would actually take it seriously.

Many will have heard of Sydney’s rum rebellion? Apparently not so for many in the corporatist and managerialist Australian public service. Such is the product of Australia’s decrepit academia and their so-called “humanities” departments; those that were besieged and subjugated by Eastern European flavoured intolerance in the 60’s. They called it the schism at Sydney University and today the myopia and disrespect for new world aspiration has been swept aside for all but a few like Tim Anderson who learned his lessons the hard way and must hide in a corner. Having lived in corporatist Germany, I’ll let them in… Read more »
zane zeehan

these killjoys want to take all the pleasure out of life.

of course what they really want to do is to add a new government tax onto the cheap wine so that it is no longer so cheap. Revenue raising to pay for public servants and their endless benefits and to finance the welfare state.

that’s the real agenda here.

Aldi’s $2.99 cabernet shiraz cannot be beaten… stock up now!


I’m wondering if its red wine these people are harming themselves on. Wouldn’t someone drinking to get drunk choose something like cheap vodka or cheap scotch instead?
I agree with Zane, this feels like another tax to bail out an insolvent government.

Good start to the week Dan. I agree with your statement that Governments should butt out of our lives. Over hear in the old dart we have ‘elf and safety’, a department that controls just about every aspect of our lives. The latest is the Police Service to be issued with those bright yellow full length hi vis jackets, which will make them stand out like clowns in a circus. I haven’t the heart, or the nerve, (I could be arrested for terrorism ) to point out that they would be a perfect target for some crazy with a rifle.… Read more »
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