Libs attacked over tobacco policy

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon says she is  disappointed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott won’t support all the measures that would deliver the world’s first plain packaging for tobacco products.

The  Australian Medical Association has backed the plain packaging reforms and awarded the Australian Government their annual tobacco award for the policy.

“You have to wonder whether the 97 percent of donations coming through to the Liberal and National parties (from foreign tobacco companies) are actually buying something here,” Ms Roxon said in Parliament last week.

“Is this what big tobacco are getting for their money?

“We know that the Leader of the Opposition has never been a true believer in this measure. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming by back-benchers in his own party who understood the importance of this measure.”

Asked by Newsbytes for an Opposition response, shadow Heath and Aging Minister Peter Dutton said the coalition had reduced smoking rates when it was in government.
“The Coalition introduced the graphic warnings on cigarette packets and together with our advocacy for increases in tobacco excise we oversaw the greatest reduction in smoking rates in the western world,” Mr Dutton said.

He did not respond to the issue of tobacco plain packaging.

In 2006 the Howard Government increased the legal disclosure threshold for political donations from $1,500 to $10,000.

This change lets corporations secretly donate up to $90,000 spread throughout national and state branches of political parties without public disclosure. 

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