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Monday, 30 August 2004
Page: 26775

Senator Allison asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 19 July 2004:

(1) Is the Minister aware that sport sponsorship is central to the marketing operations of tobacco companies.

(2) Is the Minister aware that a recent article in the British Medical Journal reported that internal tobacco company documents identified indirect tobacco advertising through Formula One Grand Prix race broadcasts, to television audiences estimated at over 7 billion across 203 countries, as an effective method for reaching boys and young men.

(3) Is the Minister aware that tobacco companies use incidental advertising associated with Formula One Grand Prix racing, such as the placing of toy cars in cigarette packs and the development of video games based on motor racing which contain cigarette brands, to promote tobacco to children and young people.

(4) What measures will the Government implement to stop the continuing use of the Formula One Grand Prix as a means of peddling tobacco during the remaining two years of the tobacco advertising prohibition exemption for such events.

(5) Does the Government intend to ratify the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; if so, when; if not, why not.

(6) Would ratification of this convention affect the Government's proposed exemptions for the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix in 2005 and 2006, given the treaty's restriction of tobacco advertising and sponsorship and prohibition of the exportation of television broadcasts and print media that contains incidental tobacco advertising.

Senator Patterson (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) and (3) The Minister does not have access to the marketing and promotional strategies of tobacco companies. The Government's obligation is to enforce national restrictions on advertising, which it does. Complaints about various forms of tobacco advertising are received from time to time and all such complaints are thoroughly investigated by the Department of Health and Ageing according to the criteria set out in the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992.

(2) The Minister notes that there has been an article published in the British Medical Journal.

(4) Since implementation of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act Amendment Bill 2000, the Government has taken the policy position of rigorously applying the criteria for assessing section 18 applications and maintaining restrictions on exempted events in terms of merchandising, promotional activities and length of time permitted for an exemption. The amendment also means that all such advertising at the Formula One Grand Prix will end after the March 2006 event.

(5) The ratification process has been initiated and a National Interest Analysis was tabled with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) text before the Joint Sitting Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) on 30 March 2004. The FCTC must lie before JSCOT for 20 sitting days before ratification can proceed. It is expected that the JSCOT will make its report to the Government by mid August 2004.

(6) Article 13 of the Convention provides for a comprehensive but not total ban on tobacco advertising. Australian Government policy is consistent with this requirement and therefore would not impact on the FCTC.