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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Page: 5388

Ms HALL (ShortlandGovernment Whip) (16:31): Prior to coming up to the Main Committee I met with students from St Pius X Primary School. They come from Windale in my electorate and they are the lowest SES school in New South Wales. I met with them in the Prime Minister's office and the principal thanked the Prime Minister for supplying their school with a new school hall and a new school library. It was a wonderful experience to have those young people in the Prime Minister's office and for them to meet the Prime Minister. They are young people who probably would never have had that opportunity.

But today, in my contribution to this debate I would like to pledge my support for World No Tobacco Day. I was, once, a smoker. I gave up smoking over 30 years ago and since giving it up I have felt a lot healthier. But unfortunately 3.3 million Australians over the age of 14 were still smoking in 2007—16.6 per cent of Australians 14 years of age and over smoked daily in 2007. It is slightly more prevalent amongst men than women. I must say that one of my children—he is a male—does smoke and despite all the knowledge and all the effort that we have put into supporting him, he finds it very difficult to quit. That is because smoking is so addictive. I think, as legislators it is absolutely imperative that we do everything in our power to assist people to stop smoking, because smoking increases the carbon monoxide in our blood; puts nicotine through our bodies; and affects our taste, our smell and our blood flow. It increases the risk of lung cancer. My father died of throat cancer. It also increases the risk of cancer in other parts of the body and causes heart disease and stroke. The risks posed by smoking have been well acknowledged throughout the medical community and there is no argument whatsoever supporting smoking.

I welcome the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has finally agreed to support plain packaging on cigarettes. He has been very slow to act and maybe—just maybe!—that is because of the money that he receives from the tobacco companies to support his election campaign. It is not good enough. We need government and opposition to recognise the extreme health risk that is presented by smoking, get together and work together to eliminate cigarettes from our society. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): In accordance with standing order 193 the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.