The alcopops tax has yielded a great deal of revenue although the bill justifying the tax may now not be passed by the Senate. Apparently then the government has to return the revenue to the party who bore the tax. The nominal incidence of such a tax is on the alcohol producers but, if demand is relatively inelastic - and that's what the solid revenue yields suggest - then the effective incidence is mainly borne by consumers so they should get most of the rebate. It would, however, seem totally impractical to effect such rebates.
I find it surprising that consumers are called upon to pay a tax that has questionable legality. If the tax is not approved by the Senate that will be its status. I can't for the life of me work out how Labor will get out of this mess.
To be clear I do support this tax and hope the Coalition will switch and vote for it. Its effectiveness will not be zero even if demands are quite inelastic. Note that those who criticise it on the grounds that youth entirely switch to other sources of alcohol need to explain why the tax yields in fact such a lot of revenue. The existence of close substitutes suggests elastic not the inelastic demands that seem to prevail. Moreover this is consistent with average price elasticities on alcohol of around -0.6.
While the alcopops tax will not eliminate the problem of excessive youth drinking, it will help. Other measures - education and negative advertising - are a further useful component of a policy package.