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7 August 1991


Attached is a copy of a letter to the Editor of the Australian Financial Review in response to an article "Tate ignored advice on cosmetics" on page 5, August 6 1991.

The matter was subsequently the subject of a press release by Mr Peter Costello MP.

Released by Adrian Wild: (002) 349 100



> · * ι


Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs Senator the Hon. Michael Tate

6 A U G 1991

Dear Editor

In yesterday's article headed "Tate ignored advice on cosmetics" your reporter Julie Power drew some very odd conclusions.

The tenor of Ms Power's argument is that I should not have taken action to encourage removal from the market place of an ingredient (urocanic acid) in cosmetics which the National Health and Medical Research Council had recommended should be phased out

as a "matter of prudence". Is Ms Power seriously suggesting that the Government should have done nothing about an important health issue which was of concern to millions of Australian women?

She also claims that I "ignored advice". The Attorney-General's Department advised that action to ban the suspect cosmetics under the Trade Practices Act was not justified and I accepted that advice.

However, I sought the industry's cooperation in removing cosmetics containing urocanic acid from the market. If the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association of Australia (CTFAA) had been more cooperative rather than inflaming public concern by

refusing for some days to identify the particular cosmetics involved, the issue would have been resolved with consumers' faith in the cosmetics industry maintained.

Early publication of a list by the CTFAA would have allayed fears attaching to a whole range of cosmetics quite unjustifiably. I was not responsible for the industry's tardy response.

Again, had cosmetics on sale in Australia carried full ingredient labelling, then consumers could have made well informed choices without the hysteria which is associated with ignorance.

The leaking of this story is part of a rearguard action by the industry upset by the prospect of making that full disclosure of all ingredients.

Once again, I am appalled by the cosmetics industry's refusal to move into the twentieth century and adopt standards of behaviour and information disclosure long accepted elsewhere in the world.

Yoi ' ’

(Michael Tate)

The Editor Australian Financial Review PO Box 506 Sydney NSW 2001

Parliament House, Canberra, AC.T. 2600 Tel. (06) 277 7260 Fax (06) 273 4136