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Abbott silent as party moves against big tobacco donations



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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP Minister for Health and Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

2 June 2011

Abbott Silent as Party Moves Against Big Tobacco Donations

Tony Abbott’s defiant defence of big donations from big tobacco looks set to be challenged by the Liberal Party machine in coming weeks according to a report in The Australian this morning.

Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon urged the Liberal Party to overrule Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and follow Labor’s lead in banning donations from big tobacco.

“As recently as last week Tony Abbott was publicly calling on big donations from big tobacco for his party,” Minister Roxon said.

“Lisa, um, if people want to donate to the Liberal Party, they’re welcome, they’re welcome to. I invite people, ah, who think the Liberal Party is worth supporting, to donate money to them.”

Tony Abbott MP, Today Show, 27 May 2011

“Sensibly, his own party has questioned his close relationship with big tobacco and moves now seem afoot to go behind Mr Abbott’s back to end tobacco donations.

“As a former health minister, Mr Abbott knows that tobacco kills 15,000 Australians each year - a tragic number that brings suffering to families all over Australia.

“But he has stubbornly refused to realise the influence big donations from big tobacco can have on his party’s policy. This is despite the fact that British American Tobacco publicly declare that they only donate to the Liberal Party to influence Liberal Party policy.

“Now that Mr Abbott has finally said that he won’t stand in the way of the Government’s plain packaging legislation, he must kick his last habit of accepting tobacco donations.”

The Coalition has accepted almost $3 million from Philip Morris and British American Tobacco since 1998.

The Australian Labor Party stopped taking donations from tobacco companies in 2004.

For more information, contact the Minister's Office on (02) 6277 7220