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Home » Australian Politics » Roxon smoked with her own lighter!

Roxon smoked with her own lighter!

I have never been a smoker (trying it as a school boy doesn’t count) but I grew up with parents who were, like most of their generation regular smokers. When I worked in restaurants I hated the way that the smell of cigarettes would permeate every pore of your being by the end of a shift. we don’t even have one single ashtray in this house and when we do have guests who smoke they are all trained to do so outside. My children get a consistent message from us that smoking is a very bad habit with lots of negative consequences. That said I am rather ambivalent about the way that anti-smoking zealots want to try to pretend that smoking was never an all pervasive habit. We find old movies  and photographs digitally altered to remove cigarettes personally I would prefer that they don’t try to re-write the past in our own image because it just strikes me as being fundamentally dishonest.

which brings me to the latest episode in the politics of plan packaging for the ole coffin nails, If you were a Labor supporter you would just have to be shaking your head over this one:

click for source

I am entirely ambivalent about the plain packaging issue per se but the sort of moral grandstanding we have had from Labor over donations form tobacco companies to the coalition now looks very hypocritical indeed because to accept unsolicited donations is one thing but to actively seek funds from “big tobacco” is a whole lot more serious in my book.

Cheers Comrades

Gasp, irony!


  1. Ray Dixon says:

    Iain, it’s embarrassing for Roxon for sure, but it was only an invitation to a $1,500 dinner, and they didn’t accept. It sounds more like an oversight. You can’t compare it to the likes of Sophie Mirabella accepting a secret $15,000 donation from British American Tobacco at the height of the negotiations she was involved in with the Myrtleford Tobacco growers to end their contracts.

    As for the plain packaging, I actually think the tobacco companies are right to fight this all the way. It’ll heighten the black market in ‘chop chop’, which is now thriving up this way since Sophie helped shut the legal tobacco-growing industry down and, in the process, destroyed the economy of Myrtleford.

  2. Iain Hall says:

    Well there is a cue for you if ever there was one Ray 😉

  3. Ray Dixon says:

    A cue for a post? You beat me to it.

    To add a bit more gloss though: Sophie received the secret donation in 2006. It only came to light when the treasurer of her local party branch leaked it to the media (he was an ex-Alpine Shire councillor who was seeking Liberal Party endorsement for her seat). Sophie has to be about the most self-serving & hypocritical MP in the country. She also arranged a government funded job for her husband running the Wangaratta Jazz Festival, even though he seemed entirely unqualified for the position. She and her husband then bought a house next to a proposed high-tech Waygu beef abbatoir and proceeded to lodge objections to the development, even though it would have bought 500 jobs to her electorate. The company eventually pulled out.

    And you reckon Roxon is compromised!

  4. Iain Hall says:

    Neither side are perfect Ray and what I know about Sophie can be written on a postage stamp with a big crayon
    as for the post, well you are just going to have to be quicker off the mark 😉

  5. Luzu says:

    With the whole area of cigarette smoking, I like to remind people of the following: With nationalised medicine, we transfer the risk of our behaviours onto the government. Like any risk-carrier, the Government then seeks to lower that risk. If we funded all our healthcare out of our own pockets, then smoking would be a private issue. As we don’t do so, the Government is entitled to try and lower healthcare costs as related to treating smokers and passive smokers by trying to lower the percentage of the population that smokes.
    I use the same argument when people whine about having to wear bicycle helmets, the very same people who would expect a disablilty pension if they were permanently brain damaged after having been knocked off their bike, for example. If you want to transfer the risk of your behaviour onto the Government, then you have to expect that they will try and reduce the risk through the only tool they have: legislation.

  6. Ray Dixon says:

    Luzu, that’s the line the government adopts but the reality is that smokers are paying a very high premium in taxes on every packet – about 50% I think, maybe more – so aren’t they the ones who are the risk carriers? If someone smokes a pack a day they’re forking out about $2,500 every year to the government coffers above & beyond their medicare levy and any private health premiums they elect to pay. There’s a hell of a lot of hypocrisy going on over this – smokers are well aware of the risks but if they pay the premium surely it’s their choice to continue their habit.

  7. Iain Hall says:

    There is another effect of trying to raise the prices to deter smoking and that is the way that it makes untaxed illegal tobacco so much more profitable and as Ray suggested earlier “plain packaging” will help the “chop chop” trade as well in any case the effect of Plain packaging I foresee are that those who smoke will do one of three things, they won’t give a damn (most likely) they will take the efforts to discourage them as a reason to show their “rebellion ” by continuing to smoke or they will start using cigarette cases to compensate for the dung coloured boxes. If anyone is going to give up the gaspers (which I would recommend) I very much doubt that the packaging will have anything to do with it.
    This whole change just strikes me rather like the “carbon tax” in that its more about being seen to be doing something (anything!!!!) rather than it being effective in reducing smoking.

  8. damage says:

    Let’s explore that.

    $2,500 a year = $100 large over 40 years, which is about the time smoking takes to statr to seriously effect your health and you become an extreme burden on society.
    For the sake of this argument we’ll discount the effect smoking has on the health of others who don’t pay the tax and on the environment (because let’s face it smokers are littering pigs) and concentrate only on the smokers’ health.

    How long will $100 k treat a smoker for?
    A week in ICU would take care of more than that – and when the smoker has his hotel alpha or David Cloke or his emphysema or lung cancer has reduced his lung capacity to a zephyr he’ll spend well north of a week in ICU.

    So me you and everyone else is carrying the burden of all cost after that.
    Not too economically rational is it?

  9. Luzu says:

    I’m not saying that what the government is doing is right or effective. I am simply trying to unravel what is a complicated argument. Personally, I think it would be better for all of us in many ways if nobody smoked. Am I against personal freedom in saying that? No. But as Damage pointed out, smokers are not really paying their own way when it comes to covering the healthcare costs related to their choice to smoke. The rest of us are via our taxes.

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