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Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Page: 323


Senator SINGH (Tasmania) (11:26): I continue my speech from yesterday. Given the decades that we have known that tobacco is deadly, there can be no more excuses about advertising of tobacco in any of its forms when we all know that they are advertising a deadly product. It is interesting that Australia has moved some way when it comes to tobacco advertising, and now the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Amend­ment Bill 2010 addresses those mobile devices, tablets and other technological devices that advertising can still filter its way through.

Other countries are not quite up to where Australia is, and that is why a number of countries look to Australia for guidance as to how we move forward when it comes to tobacco advertising. It is quite humorous, I suppose, but interesting and alarming in a sense that recently at a cricket match here in Australia, with India playing, there were some Indian spectators in the crowd holding up signs, some of which we probably thought were supporting their Indian team players, which I am sure they were there for. But actually they were holding up signs written in Hindi supporting tobacco companies and tobacco advertising so that those watching back in India could see certain tobacco products being supported and displayed through the broadcasting that was done here in Australia, which is an interesting take on advertising and an interesting way to advertise tobacco and tobacco products by our Indian friends. However, this is something that is not permitted in Australia, and I understand that as soon as the officials were made aware of this those placards and signs were taken down.

But what we are talking about today is not the advertising of tobacco at our sports fields. We have ended that some time ago, as I talked of earlier. Today is about prohibiting the advertising of tobacco on our other technological devices—our mobile phones, our iPads or tablets and any other kinds of technological devices that come into the market as we move into this technological age. As we find ourselves ever more relying on the world wide web for increasing amounts of information, we can clearly see the need for a review of rules and regulations pertaining to advertising in such mediums, such as those referred to in this amendment bill.

This bill introduces some very important changes. They will put a stop to big tobacco promoting and advertising their products in our online environment. The President of the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and antitobacco advocate, Mike Daube said:

Cigarettes are now being heavily promoted on the Internet, and there are serious concerns that both online advertising and social networking sites are being used to promote tobacco to young people.

We must head them off; beat them to the punch. We know that big tobacco are sneaky and we have to continue to play tough. And we have been doing that. We have been going there to win this fight to ensure that we reduce the amount of advertising out there when it comes to this deadly product of tobacco.

This bill will go some way in doing just that. It will take away yet another avenue for this deadly product to be promoted. Let us not forget that when this product is used as intended by its manufacturers it will kill. This is a product that is legal by default. Should a company try and introduce such a product in Australia today, it simply would not be considered, not even for a moment. I commend this bill to the Senate and encourage all my parliamentary colleagues to support it.