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Landmark smoke ruling.

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Senator Lyn Allison Australian Democrats Senator for Victoria

11 April 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/166

Landmark smoke ruling The Australian Democrats today welcomed the decision of the Victorian Supreme Court to award $700,000 to lung cancer victim, Mrs Rola McCabe, calling it a landmark decision.

Democrats’ Senator for Victoria, Senator Lyn Allison said, “This decision is a first for Australia and an important precedent for the victims world-wide of tobacco company products and misconduct.”

Senator Allison also welcomed the lifting of the suppression order on evidence on British American Tobacco Australia’s destruction of thousands of documents, which led to BAT’s defence being struck out in Mrs McCabe’s trial.

“This evidence will be crucial for others in bringing action against tobacco companies for their smoking related illnesses and crucial for the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s inquiry into unconscionable conduct of tobacco companies, due to report by 30 April 2002.”

Senator Allison, who initiated the inquiry through the Senate last September said, “Today’s ruling calls into question the consumer watchdog’s conscientiousness in protecting us from becoming smoking victims.”

The inquiry requires the ACCC to examine its responsibilities under the Trade Practices Act 1974 with respect to: ! misleading, deceptive or unconscionable conduct by tobacco companies in Australia;

! evidence from US litigation that implicates tobacco companies breaching Australian law; ! the adequacy of current labelling laws; ! avenues for litigation and compensation in Australia.

The Democrats also called on the Federal Government to establish an independent foundation to reduce smoking and disease rates, funded by tobacco companies.

The text of the motion is available on Hansard or via email:

For Interview: Senator Lyn Allison 0407 691 512 or 0408 056 167