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Thursday, 1 June 1972
Page: 2441


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - On behalf of the Opposition, I move the following amendment:

In proposed section 100a (1.) leave out "Medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard."', insert '"The National Health and Medical Research Council warns that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health." '.

I wish to speak briefly to the amendment. The simple fact is that we of the Labor movement believe that the legislation introduced in another place on 10th May last contained a much stronger warning than that which now appears in this legislation. The warning that appeared in the Bill when it was originally introduced in the House of Representatives was in the exact terms to the amendment I have just moved. The Opposition's amendment is to the effect that the warning should read: The National Health and Medical Research Council warns that cigarette smoking is dangerous to health'. I mentioned a number of things about this matter during the course of my speech on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, including the intention of the legislation when it was introduced in the House of Representatives. During the Committee stage of debate on this Bill in the House of Representatives the Government circulated an amendment to clause 3 of the Bill. It proposed an amendment to the effect that the warning should read: 'The Australian Government warns that smoking is a health hazard'. After that proposed amendment had been circulated, a back bench supporter of the Government moved for the insertion of the wording that is in the Bill at the present time, namely, that medical authorities warn that smoking is a health hazard.


Senator Poyser - Completely innocuous.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES)

We believe that that warning is nothing less than a watering down of the original provision. Indeed, our argument is supported by the President of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Macdonald, who as recently as last Monday, 29th May, said that the AMA had recently set up a committee in Victoria to study proposals to increase the number of non-smokers, that the committee had drawn to his attention the watering down of the proposed health warning, and that he had replied: T agree with the committee that the change is to be deplored'. Although this legislation relates to cigarette and cigarette tobacco advertising the warning as it now appears states that smoking is a health hazard. As 1 mentioned in my speech last night, we will now have the situation where advertisements relating to cigarettes and cigarette tobacco will have to be followed by a warning but advertisements relating to cigars and pipes - surely they involve smoking - will not have to be followed by a warning.


Senator Mulvihill - They have just shifted the evil around.


Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is right. As Senator Poyser interjected earlier, the Opposition regards the warning now in the Bill as being completely innocuous. It may not be accepted that the wording of the warning in the legislation has been watered down, but il must be accepted that the warning has been watered down insofar as its time duration is concerned. The time occupied by the warning has been reduced from 5 seconds to 3 seconds. I submit that the length of time has been reduced only because the length of the warning has been reduced.

I do not wish to prolong the debate unnecessarily on this matter, but there is also the question of terminology insofar as the use of the words 'dangerous' and 'hazard' is concerned. In a Press statement he issued on 23rd April, the Minister for Health (Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson) used the word 'dangers' and not 'hazards'. He said that there was a need for a positive warning about the dangers of cigarette smoking. We believe that all the evidence shows that cigarette and tobacco smoking is dangerous to health. The National Health and Medical Research Council has expressed that attitude. We believe that by backing up the warning with a stated and authenticated medical organisation it will give the proposed warning much more weight. That is the reason we have moved this amendment. We hope that the amendment will be carried because we believe it is in the interests of the Australian people that it be carried.







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