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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7462


Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (12:24): It is no surprise that we have a contribution like we have just had from the member for Gippsland, given that he is a member of a party that accepts donations from tobacco companies. When we are referring to the fact that we need evidence based research—

Mr Chester interjecting

Mr Neumann interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Murphy ): Order! It is highly disorderly to interject!

Ms HALL: I would like to refer everyone to the contribution that has just been made by the member who moved the motion here in the chamber. The other piece of information I would like to refer to in talking about the evidence base—which the member for Gippsland was so very upset about because his party does accept those political donations from tobacco companies—is that the Cancer Council is very supportive of this move and sees this as being very much evidence based. So you can take the words of the tobacco companies and say that it is not evidence based, or you can take the word of researchers and the Cancer Council. I know that when I stand up in this place I would much rather take the word of and look at the research that has been done by people who have training and qualifications in that area and of the Cancer Council than take the hearsay of the tobacco companies that have a long record of opposing any information getting out about the harm that tobacco does.

This legislation does not say: 'You can't smoke.' This legislation does say that there must be plain packaging of cigarettes and that the packages must have graphic health warnings. Why? The attractiveness of a packet leads to young people taking up smoking. The members on the other side may be supportive of more young people starting to smoke, but we on this side of the chamber believe that there should be a disincentive for people to smoke.

As I said earlier, it was in about 1602 that the first concerns were raised about smoking and this has continued right through until the 1950s and 1960s, when it was established that smoking was a major health risk. One of the things that really highlights where we are today is the response of the tobacco industry at that time. First of all they tried to say that nicotine was not addictive and that there was no link between cancer and smoking. The industry had recruited young people to smoke. Some of the things they did were horrendous. But, in 1998, thousands of previously confidential internal tobacco industry documents became public and revealed the extent of misconduct by the industry.

The campaign that is being waged at the moment is just a further example of misconduct by the industry. It is all about profit at the cost of health in our community. These documents revealed the extent of deceptions; attempts to manipulate scientific research; industry's attempts to create a debate on the health impacts of smoking, not including attacks on epidemiology and epidemiologists; recruiting young smokers, as I have already mentioned; marketing targeted at women, and at Asian and more disadvantaged, poorer communities—and there is a connection between poverty levels and socioeconomic factors and levels of smoking; efforts to influence national tobacco controls; industry efforts to influence national legislation; and campaigns to circumvent advertising bans. The thing that marks the tobacco industry's response to anything at all to curb the smoking rates is the fact that they oppose it. But the one thing that they are not doing is offering to put their hands in their pockets and pay— (Time expired)