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Labor to ban political parties from accepting tobacco donations

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Campaign Media Release

Special Minister of State Mark Dreyfus


A re-elected Rudd Labor Government will ban political parties from accepting tobacco company donations and will take immediate steps to end tobacco investments across government.

According to the World Health Organization tobacco is “the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer”, with 15,000 Australians dying each year from smoking related illness.

Federal Labor will amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to ban donations from tobacco companies to Australian political parties and candidates. This measure will reduce the ability of big tobacco to influence public policy in Australia.

The Liberal Party has accepted more than $3 million in donations from big tobacco since 1999, and is clearly unable to kick the habit despite the concerns of Liberal MPs like Russell Broadbent and Mal Washer, Liberal candidates like Bill Glasson and Liberal Premiers like Colin Barnett.

Tobacco companies themselves have admitted they only donate to political parties to try to influence policy. By British American Tobacco’s own admission, they only donate to the Liberal Party to influence Liberal Party policy.

“We have a clear policy and compliance procedures on political donations…” “Such payments can only be made for the purpose of influencing…” BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO WEBSITE

We will also take steps to end tobacco investments across government, and work with entities like the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation to exclude tobacco investments from their investment portfolio.

This builds on the actions of the Future Fund, which excluded tobacco companies from its investment portfolio earlier this year.

Federal Labor has a strong record of action to reduce smoking rates:

• Australia was the first country in the world to require all tobacco products to be in plain packaging with new, bigger graphic health warnings. New Zealand and Ireland are now following our lead. Evidence suggests that it’s working. • Investment of more than $135 million in anti-smoking social marketing

campaigns. • Comprehensive advertising restrictions under the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992, including, from 6 September 2012, internet advertising in Australia. • The Government spends over $50m each year to help smokers access

smoking cessation therapies to help them give up smoking. • The 2013-14 Budget included a $226.4 million investment in cancer care, part of the $4.1 billion the Federal Labor Government has invested in

cancer screening, treatment and care since 2007. • The Government has already made large investments in health and hospitals. National Health Reform is providing an additional $20 billion in

funding to 2019-20. • Labor increased the price of tobacco by 25% in 2010, which has helped reduce total tobacco consumption by 11%. In August 2013, Labor announced a further phased increase in tobacco excise of 12% per year

for the next four years.

22 AUGUST 2013

Communications Unit: T 03 8625 5111

Authorised by G. Wright, Australian Labor Party, 5/9 Sydney Avenue, Barton, ACT, 2600