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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1325

Question No. 143

Dr Charlesworth asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 12 May 1983:

(1) Has his attention been drawn to an article in the Australian of 29 April 1983 in which he is reported to have said that he would be holding talks soon with the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism about the problems posed by cigarette companies sponsorship of sport.

(2) If so, has he held these talks; if so, what has been the outcome.

(3) Has there been any change in the attitude of the government towards tobacco advertising arising out of the recent conference of Health Ministers in Hobart.

(4) Will he give priority to taking action in the field of tobacco advertising.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes, informally. The Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism is aware of my opposition to tobacco sponsorship of sport-it is a definite form of advertising and it is incongruous that a product known to be harmful to health should be associated with a healthy pursuit such as sport. Equally, I am aware of his concern, as the Minister for Sport, that many sporting groups' viability may be jeopardised by a sudden withdrawal of readily available tobacco company funds.

I share his concern in that regard. However, I do not believe the matter is insoluble. Discussions between our respective Departments will continue in an effort to develop options that will accommodate health concerns and ensure the continued development of sport in Australia.

(3) I see no need for a change. The Government's attitude is reflected in the ALP 1982 Platform, Constitution and Rules-it is committed 'to take further action to inhibit the promotion of cigarettes'. However, because of the complexities of the issues surrounding tobacco advertising, no government can act precipitately. Nevertheless, I believe I can assure the honourable member that Government decisions on tobacco advertising will accord with its stated policy.

(4) I recognise, as do my State counterparts, that for any smoking control program to be effective it must address the wide range of complex issues involved, of which advertising is one. Accordingly, I shall continue to do what I can to inhibit the further promotion of tobacco products, having regard to those broader dimensions.