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Bill Wyatte is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Bill Wyatte commented on the Challenge Dispersed Expertise

Perhaps more exploration of the problem may confirm that there are many pathways towards solutions.

Bureaucracies are advantaged by power funnelled to them via delegation.  People in advantaged groups tend to defend and bolster the status quo and discourage alternatives.  This can create boundaries to inputs, thinking and behaviours.  In Government, this is the disconnect from the diversity of knowledge and awareness of the people it serves.

I believe permeability and diversity are antidotes, but require conscious choices that have not yet been made. 

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James Dowsett is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Peter Grimbeek commented on the Challenge Dispersed Expertise

I immediately envision an on-line democracy not only with instant crowd-sourced votes but also with in-depth crowd-sourced discussion of policy options.

Some would say that this envisioned world might move a bit too quickly. Perhaps we need non-online deliberations at a slower pace.

In some ways, this is an Obama vs. Trump kind of moment. Obama deliberated slowly and possibly painfully about how to proceed but his actions were fruitful. Trump on the other hand favours instant responses that might or might not be fruitful (except in a bitter way). 

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Peter Grimbeek is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Richard Ferrers is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Richard Ferrers commented on the Challenge Dispersed Expertise

As a value researcher, I am interested in what people value, and how it changes over time. 

The digital revolutions have empowered and connected adults this century, in the way widespread education did in the 20th Century. Yet government in Australia has barely if at all changed since Europeans came to Australia.

I think there is a lot to learn from the Swiss who are experimenting with several attempts at more direct democracy. Government moves far too slow for a always connected, wikipedia and google at our fingertips, open data type world.

If government was to ask what do people need, it is an ongoing consultation with their representatives, rather than every three years. Government should tap the crowd for ideas, priorities, and time to reduce services we don't need, and prioritise those we do.

We need an ongoing community discussion about reinventing government for a new century, for a always connected, data deluge world.

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Ed Bernacki is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Gail Fairlamb is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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Sharon Zivkovic is now contributing to a Challenge Dispersed Expertise

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A new Solution was published Dispersed Expertise

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Dina GREY is now contributing to a Challenge The MindHive Book

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William Bell commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

 Yes. Exactly. The political debate creates a false dichotomy that obesity induced by sugar consumption can be overcome by personal choice rather than through taxation. For example the glib comment "People should just go for a run."

This ignores the fact that the sugar industry has a massively influential and powerful advertising, research and political donation budgets pitied against the individual.  A tax would go some way to balance the power of the individual against these powerful vested interests.  The tax does not detract from "Going for a run (or walk)" as a positive lifestyle change that should also be encouraged. 

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Peter Grimbeek commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

William Bell, what you're saying is that the options are both-and rather than either-or.

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William Bell is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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William Bell commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

> A sugar tax seems to be the most commonly discussed solution but a stronger message from all of these contributors is that it would be a better bet to change behaviours/life style. 

A sugar tax should be seen as part of a host of policies to address sugar consumption. Placing a sugar tax in opposition to changes in behaviour and lifestyle is creating a false dichotomy. A sugar tax helps tilt the landscape in favour of people making better decisions and provides additional revenue to fund the health costs induced by obesity.    

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Peter Grimbeek commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

I'd agree to the proposition that sugar-sweetened beverages are not particularly good for anything. That said, I prefer sugar itself in its various forms: Cane sugar, honey, etc, to the artificial sweeteners that supposedly replace them.

Curiously enough, it was Donald Rumsfeld of Iraq war and President Bush fame who as CEO at Searle (now a subsidiary of Monsanto) presided over the introduction of one of the first artificial sweeteners, Equal. He saw it as a way to achieve weight loss and no doubt better health.

Reasons for sugar (and salt) becoming such a prominent part of the daily diet have to do not only with flavour but also with preserving the food. The rise of supermarkets requires food that lasts and lasts and lasts and tastes good as well.

I excised sugar from tea and coffee many years ago but a long-cultivated sweet tooth makes up for that with dried fruit (so good for you) and plain but nonetheless sugared biscuits. It is difficult to find a good exit strategy that doesn't involve some adherence to a more puritanical life style than I am prepared to embrace.

A sugar tax seems to be the most commonly discussed solution (Mark SydneyBill WyatteRichard FerrersJanet WightElizabeth Watts) but a stronger message from all of these contributors is that it would be a better bet to change behaviours/life style. Perhaps a change is already underway but it takes time to turn the ocean liner of a sugar-centred life style around.

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Elizabeth Watts commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

Companies add sugar because we become addicted to it, and therefore the product. If we tax sugar, will it make the companies take out the sugar, or replace it with an artificial sweetener? I think the later, so therefore that is not improving our health. 

Society and families are structured very differently today than 50 years ago. We no longer sit down at a table together, plan our meals and take our time eating.

Therefore we are eating fast food, full of sugar, and eating pre-made food full of sugar and salt, and over eating beacuse we don't spend time digesting it properly. Savouring each bite, and allowing ourselves time to feel full.

Our behaviours are more of an issue than sugar.

We need a behaviour campaign... much life "NORM-Be in it for life". Who doesn't remember that campaign, and who effective it was. Just like Slip, slop, slap and CLick Clack front and back.

Woolworths Hello food is a great marketing and healthy strategy. 

Light N Easy, prepared, but fresh and balanced and proportioned.

If we could start by linking these initiatives with work out gyms or routines or apps... we could slowly start to change lifestyle habits.

These types of behaviours, gym memberships, GPS to track walking steps per day could be an incentive to people as a tax break.

It doesn't cost people anything to walk, and it costs more to purchase high sugar, high fat food because you need more to feel full. SO it could save peoples lives and wallets, and the people most affected are from lower socioeconomic areas.

Womens diets when they are pregnant to set their child to be pre disposed to foods later in life, yet we have not targeted this aspect.

There are so many things that could change our health, and a little of everything is the way for it to become a lifestyle, not just a diet. Companies who add sugar, will get the message when we turn away from their products because they are too sweet. Taxing it is a short term fix, that could impact many families inadvertently and hurt us more.

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Elizabeth Watts is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Janet Wight is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Janet Wight commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

In checking processed foods for salt content, it has been disturbing to see what sugar goes into - canned tomatoes!?

I have no problem in principle with a sugar tax but if reducing sugar means simply replacing it with artificial sweeteners, then what is the impact of the latter: see, for example: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030   I would be particularly keen to understand the impact on children. Always important to look at unintended consequences of a proposal, not just the desired outcomes.

We probably need to get people to adapt to a less sweet diet overall not just replacing sugar with something else: many years ago I had two sugars in tea and coffee: by reducing it half a spoon at a time, I stopped having any sugar after about 2 months. Now a sugared tea seems quite awful. Certainly there is no reason to put sugar in something like a can of tomatoes!

Parents need to be educated not to get their children to eat by providing sweet or sweeter foods on the misapprehension that children won't eat more savoury meals. The child's palate then expects sweetness.

Sugar is only one part of the obesity problem, significant as it may be, and we need to ensure that there is a greater understanding of healthy diet and living.  Otherwise the risk is that people think "no/little sugar - all ok".  Portion sizes are an easy way for people to manage what they eat as well as what is in that portion.

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Mark Sydney is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Mark Sydney commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

Like Richard Ferrers(above) I am no expert on Health, but I am an avid reader of news and science oriented articles.

My personal feel is that like cigarettes, unhealthy things should be taxed as a disincentive.  Does that mean tomorrow at 9am we add a 50% tax based on sugar?  No, because I also feel strongly against "simple responses" to "complex problems".

Articles like these sit at the front of my mind as I consider this challenge:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/23/17039780/sugar-industry-conspiracy-heart-disease-research-mark-hegsted-harvard

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/13/493739074/50-years-ago-sugar-industry-quietly-paid-scientists-to-point-blame-at-fat

I feel that sugar is too accessible in our current lifestyles, products are sweetened to make us crave them.

Taking the above into consideration, any response to the situation I think should be staggered.  If a tax/levy is to be introduced, then it shouldn't go from 0 to 50% overnight, it should start at a smaller amount and along a schedule that works for most stakeholders increase over time.

This type of response means:

1. We are actually responding rather than sitting on our hands

2. Giving industry time to respond - tweaking their product

3. Giving consumers time to respond - for example letting tastebuds get use to less sugar over time

4. Provides a platform for measured moderate response over time, rather than the trend of "all or nothing"

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Annette Gough is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Annette Gough commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

That the government will not support a sugar tax is consistent with them avoiding other taxes on harmful products and action on climate change to keep the farming and mining lobbies quiet.

Supporting cane farmers to switch to growing other produce as the tax is introduced may be a worthwhile interim measure.

Hidden sugar (and salt) in everyday food is a critical issue. The only way to avoid it is to only eat whole foods, not an easy option for many.

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Richard Ferrers is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Richard Ferrers commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

Industry transitions are never easy. We need government safety nets for workers and firms, or alternate markets like sugar-powered biofuel or electricity generation.

If I was an investor, I would be shorting sugar stocks. If I was a lawyer, I would be starting a class action on behalf of diabetes sufferers, and making a lot of noise.

But I am an innovation policy analyst, so I encourage building the case with analysis, building a coalition of interested parties, and get the parties talking - a Sugar Summit. And some proposed phasing out of sugar profits, with some government-industry assistance to soften the landing.

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Timothy Flor is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Bill Wyatte is now contributing to a Challenge Tipping the Scales

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Bill Wyatte commented on the Challenge Tipping the Scales

Logic sometimes prevails amid the diverse clamour driving legislators.  A government may be responsive to the lifetime economic impacts of sugar choices.  Divert some public effort from sports to sugar - after all, we are getting sportier but still more overweight.

Provided it can navigate the Uber/Taxi-license scenarios on the supply-side.  Do fuel and rum provide sufficient demand-side pressure to quieten the farm-gate?  Encouraging alternative crops?  There's a big stomach out there to feed - it needn't be sugar..

If it's a global shift, Australia will eventually follow the majority lead - cost impairments to selling Bundy ginger beer in California or TIm Tams in Britain impacting our local preferences in a manner similar to a global car market.

 
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