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Big donations from big tobacco continue as Tony Abbott ignores his MPs



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THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP

Minister for Health and Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

1 June 2011

Big Donations from Big Tobacco Continue as Tony Abbott Ignores his MPs

Pressure is mounting on Tony Abbott to listen to the chorus of voices, including from his own MPs, and end the Liberal Party’s dangerous practice of accepting big donations from big tobacco, Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said.

“Yesterday, Tony Abbott, after much kicking and screaming, fell into line with the Government and will no longer stand in the way of our world first plain packaging legislation. I welcome this change of heart,” Minister Roxon said.

“But Mr Abbott has failed to completely kick his habit and is still accepting big donations from big tobacco.

“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

“Ashamed of this, Liberal MPs are now publicly calling on Tony Abbott to show true leadership and stop accepting big donations from big tobacco companies,” Minister Roxon said.

“I’m confident Tony Abbott will end it while he is leader"

Russell Broadbent MP, Member for McMillan

"I personally say we shouldn't do it”

Mal Washer MP, Member for Moore

While the Coalition has accepted almost $3 million from Philip Morris and British American Tobacco since 1998, West Australian Liberal Premier Colin Barnett has bravely declared his opposition to tobacco donations.

“…the state Liberal Party and I do not support receiving donations from tobacco companies. That is the position we had at the last state election; it is the position we will maintain.”

Colin Barnett MLA, Premier of Western Australia

“Tony Abbott needs to come out and declare that he’s kicked the habit for good and will stop accepting donations from big tobacco and fight this killer habit,” Minister Roxon said.

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

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