… Address Perverse Flow of Money to Pollies Instead of Anti-Smoking Groups

The Tasmanian Greens today said the State’s high smoking rates required leadership from its elected representatives, and urged the Legislative Council to support the upcoming legislation to put an end to political donations from tobacco companies.

Greens Health spokesperson Paul O’Halloran MP described as “perverse” the current situation which sees some political parties boost their coffers from tobacco companies, while anti-smoking groups are struggling to fund vital public education campaigns.

“Recent research reveals the shocking situation where Tasmania has the highest number of smokers, the shocking self-reporting rate of nearly 50% of women smoking while pregnant, and we still continue to trail the rest of the nation in cutting our smoking rates,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“The ongoing public health impacts across our community, and the associated cost to our public health system of our smoking rates are truly cancerous.”

“It is utterly perverse to see anti-smoking NGOs struggling to fund important public education campaigns to counter our deadly smoking rates, when the Tasmanian Liberal party received thousands of dollars from Philip Morris and British American Tobacco.”

“Anti-smoking organisations, such as the Heart Foundation and Quit Tasmania, do a fantastic job to turn around our smoking rates, but they should not be expected to do it on their own.”

“The community deserves to see leadership from its elected representatives, and see them also walk the talk to break addiction. In this case we need to break the addiction to political donations from Big Tobacco.”

“The important amendment Bill to the Electoral Act when finalised in the Lower House will provide the Legislative Council with the opportunity to break this funding addiction which undermines good public policy, and reassert the community’s right to expect leadership from their politicians,” Mr O’Halloran said.
Paul O’Halloran MP Greens Health spokesperson Thursday, 1 November 2012