Background Despite a complex and multi-faceted alcohol policy environment in Australia, there are few comprehensive reviews of national and state alcohol policies that assess their effectiveness and research support. In mapping the Australian alcohol policy domain and evaluating policy interventions in each of the core policy areas, this article provides a useful resource for researchers. The implications for protecting public health emanating from this mapping and evaluation of alcohol policy are also discussed. Methods This review considered data from: published primary research; alcohol legislation, strategies and alcohol-related press releases for all levels and jurisdictions of Australian government; international publications by prominent non-governmental organisations; and relevant grey literature. These were organised and evaluated using the established framework offered by Thomas Babor and colleagues. Results Findings indicated great variability in alcohol initiatives across Australia, many of which do not reflect what is currently considered to be evidence-based best practice. Conclusions Research showing increasing alcohol-related harms despite steady levels of consumption suggests a need to pursue alcohol policy initiatives that are supported by evidence of harm-reduction. Future initiatives should aim to increase existing alcohol controls in line with suggested best practice in order to protect public health in Australia.