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Tuesday, 11 October 1983
Page: 1540

Mr FISHER —My question is directed to the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism. I refer the Minister to the Government's stated commitment to take action to inhibit the promotion of cigarettes. As sports sponsorship is in the vicinity of $50m annually, with $10m being provided from tobacco company support , does the Minister believe that individual sports should retain the right to select or reject any sponsor? Does the Minister agree that a ban on advertising a legally sold product is a form of censorship and is a more dangerous practice within the community than voluntary smoking?

Mr JOHN BROWN —The Government does not have a stated position on this matter and I guess it is something we will face up to in the course of time. At this stage we certainly do not have a stated position. But, with reference to the honourable member's question, I guess I should put my position, which is this-

Mr Burr —Ha, ha!

Mr JOHN BROWN —The honourable member may laugh. If he has a position, why does he not put it publicly? I am game to put mine. He is not. My position is quite simple. Whilst I deplore the smoking of cigarettes because I happen to believe that they are a product that has a very deleterious effect on people's health-I deplore any child I see with a cigarette-it is my view that, while the Government receives something like $800m from excise on tobacco products, it would be very hypocritical for us to suggest that this product, out of which the Government gains so much revenue, is too dangerous to be advertised. Revenue from tobacco companies which goes to sporting organisations is about $15m. I have no fear that, if advertising were banned and tobacco companies took their sponsorship away from sport, that amount could be replaced in some other fashion . I think a couple of cents more excise on a packet of cigarettes would raise $ 15m fairly adequately. So, my criticism is not about the amount of revenue that goes to sporting organisations. My concern is that it would be hypocritical in the extreme for any government to decide that advertising is dangerous when it relates to a product from which it receives so much revenue.