|The Non Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.|
Protecting the rights of the Non-smoking majority
from tobacco smoke and from the tobacco industry's propaganda.
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Issue 27, January - March 1999
Gloves off to Tobacco Pushers
In spite of wet and windy weather a dedicated group of NSMA members gathered in front of the Olympic Headquarters on Monday 22 March 1999 to demand the resignation of Nick Greiner from the Olympics management committee known as SOCOG. Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans and Dr. Jean Lennane stood on the steps of the Olympic Headquarters after addressing the rally, together with WD & HO Willie and WD & HO Millie, who went into SOCOG in a vain attempt to get someone to present the pro-Greiner argument. This marks the beginning of a new campaign by NSMA, not just to attack Nick Greiner for the damage he is doing to the community as Chairman of the WD & HO Wills tobacco company, but to attack all the evil men who promote death and disease though their roles as tobacco company executives.
Brian McBride, President of NSMA, told the rally these people are like cockroaches working in the dark to undermine the work of pro-health groups and to avoid the light of public scrutiny as far as possible.
Our role and the role of all health agencies should be to shine a spotlight on them as ugly people in our midst who deserve to be condemned and booed off the stage wherever they show their guilty faces.
Nick Greiner is trading on his past image as Premier of NSW where he sought our votes and promised to foster the health and welfare of the whole community, particularly our children. How the mighty have fallen into the pit of hypocrisy and drug dealing!. He now spends his time and energy promoting the world's greatest cause of death and disease and gets paid handsomely for his nefarious services. As one of the placards held high at the rally said " Greiner hooked on money - to hell with our kids".
SMOKEFREE OLYMPICS BACK-FLIP.
We are reasonably sure that Nick Greiner is behind the current back-sliding on Olympic policy for totally smokefree games. Anne Jones of ASH Australia has been waiting since last November for an assurance that they were observing a tough policy and were not providing indoor smoking areas. She appeared on TV in early February to comment on rumours that SOCOG was now yielding to pressure and would now be providing indoor smoking areas. Chief Executive of SOCOG, Mr Sandy Hollway, won't admit the back-slide and stonewalls with statements that the Committee is still developing a policy.
DEMOCRATS SLAM GREINER
Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans, NSW leader of the Australian Democrats, also addressed the Rally to point out that Nick Greiner's liberal party colleagues had effectively gutted the 1997 private members Bills by Peter Macdonald and Fred Nile and put the whole process of achieving smokefree public areas back for more that 5 years by requiring a new air quality standard which they then failed to produce. It was the most cynical and dishonest bit of politicking by the major parties seen in living memory. It was straight out collusion between the Liberals and the Labor "smoking" Health Minister, Andrew Refshauge, to ensure that the aggressive and well funded tobacco lobby led by the Australian Hotels Association were not upset.
SMOKING HEALTH MINISTER - A DISGRACE TO MEDICAL PROFESSION
Dr Jean Lennane, independent candidate for the electorate of Port Jackson, also addressed the rally and called for greater action against tobacco as one of the worst drug problems we face. She said that the Health minister had announced that he had quit smoking but was known to be still smoking. His lack of example to the youth in our community made him a disgrace to the medical profession.
PARADE DOWN GEORGE STREET
After slamming Olympic Management for refusing to talk to us the rally group proceeded to march from their offices down george Street to end the rally on Town Hall steps. Along the way crowds were urged to sign the petitions and to pledge their refusal to buy Olympic tickets until Greiner was removed. The megaphone chant was "Greiner must go - strike a blow against tobacco now".
Channel 7 and Channel 10 plus ABC Radio covered the event and Channel Ten news gave a good lingering shot of the placard featuring Nick Greiner's photo with a cigarette in his mouth over the caption " Do unto yourself what you do to our kids". We believe Channel 7 Today tonight is trying to get a response from Greiner to complete its segment but I don't think he has the guts to front the cameras. He will slink away just like he did when Liz Hayes tried to get him on the Sixty Minutes program last October.
Thirteen of the fifteen Directors on the SOCOG Board were invited to speak in reply to our rally but not one of them bothered to reply. Our fax to them said it was an insult to Australians and a sign of threadbare talent on the Board when a tobacco chief was put forward on their behalf to speak on TV against charges of corruption. This is such a joke because tobacco company executives are the very people who have practised corporate and private corruption for the last fifty years. They have paid doctors and scientists to twist the facts and do their dirty work to mislead generation after generation of new young smokers into a life of slavery to nicotine. We say that only people of the highest integrity, who are respected by the community at large, should be on the Olympics Board.
We will continue to collect signatures on petitions to have Greiner sacked because he does not come close to meeting these criteria. At the same time people will be pledging not to buy Olympic tickets while ever Nick Greiner remains on the Board. We will set up street stalls in shopping centres and at railway stations to collect these signatures for as long as it takes to get Greiner off SOCOG. A petition is included with this Update and we ask all members to sign it and attach a sheet with other family and friends signatures and return it to us for submission to the Olympics Minister.
Action Point 1
Write to Mr Sandy Hollway, CEO, SOCOG, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo, 2007. Ask him why a tobacco chief like Greiner can be on his Board when tobacco companies are barred from sponsoring the Olympic Games?
WERE YOU THERE?
If you did not attend this rally make a firm resolution to respond next time our hard working volunteers ring you. This will probably be for some event on World No Tobacco day, Monday 31 May 1999, so keep the date free.
The bad news in January was that Standards Australia released their new "Ventilation of Buildings" Standard 1668.2 with the disgraceful commentary that provided a door or window could be opened then cigarette smoking was acceptable. Readers of earlier UPDATES will know that this unhappy result was expected because the tobacco funded organisation, Healthy Buildings International, (HBI) was allowed to influence the other self interested parties on the Standards committee made up of faceless men who cannot be identified.
Furthermore, Standards Australia did not want to play policeman for a gutless Labor state government which would not impose bans without the crutch of a new high sounding "Air Quality" standard to lean on. Now we have two gutless parties looking at each other and saying - "you do it - don't expect us to be the bad guys". These events caused the Sydney Morning Herald to publicise the fact that this Legislation to ban smoking in pubs, restaurants and other enclosed public areas in NSW is still stalled almost two years after being enacted in May 1997.
A FRESH OUTLOOK
This is the "refreshing" title of a new publication produced by tobacco giant WD & HO Wills. Isn't it amazing that these tobacco front organisations like "Healthy Buildings international" and publications like "Fresh Outlook" always convey the wholesome imagery of good people doing positive things for our health and environment? We must be cynics to judge them as devious people trying to con the gullible public! Anyway its full of information for hotels and restaurants about smoking bans heading their way. It also reports the good news for them that smoking won't really be banned if they step up their air flow rates to 15 litres per second per person in dining areas and 20 lps for bars, thanks to the soft approach of this new standard. They give estimated costs of upgrading ventilation to comply with AS 1668.2 as ranging from $3,000 to $23,000 for equipment without builder's costs, for average sized buildings.
OTHER TOBACCO NEWS
There has been a flood of news on anti-smoking developments in other states and overseas in the last few months and we apologise for not having time or space to do them justice in this issue. Our limited resources have been fully diverted into organising the rally against Nick Greiner and against the Olympic administration for backsliding on smokefree policies. We have also been busy writing to candidates in the NSW state election to lock them into positions which we can follow up after the election. So I hope you will forgive us for being narrowly focussed in this edition on NSW issues, and what our members are actually doing at present. We also expect that you will have read in the general press of some of the main developments summarised below:
WE SAY CONGRATULATIONS:
- To South Australia - you have smokefree restaurants as from 1 January 1999.
- To Western Australia - you are about to get smokfree restaurants as from next month.
- To the Board of the MCG who have extended the ban on smoking at sporting events to include every inch of the ground. This means smokers actually have to go outside the gates to smoke.
- To the NSW Health groups who have brought Prof. Stanton Glantz to Australia again and who appeared on Channel Two 7.30 Report to expose the Victorian Premier Kennett's linkages to Philip Morris in those incriminating documents. Simon Chapman has advised that you can see these at www.health.usyd.edu.au/tobacco/Ozdocs.htm Look under passive smoking.
- To Queensland and Tasmania who have active groups and are working hard on anti-smoking issues.
- To Sarah Hodson and ACOSH for pioneering the way for others to sue for the cost of quitting smoking.
- To Steve Woodward and Judith Watt for their invaluable contributions to the anti-tobacco cause in Australia. They are shortly returning to the UK for family reasons.
- To Ian Kiernan and the Clean Up Australia campaign for their long overdue attention to the disgraceful problem of cigarette butt litter.
- To Owen and Fred and other NSMA members who have kept the smoking issue alive on talkback radio.
- To WHO which is to attempt an unprecedented worldwide ban on tobacco advertising - and possibly smoking in public.
- To the jury in the US which has awarded three packs per day smoker Patricia Henly $52million to be paid by Philip Morris.
ANYONE FOR TENNIS - - - AND SMOKING?
The Sunday Telegaph on 7 February 1999 published a picture with the story that Brian McBride, President of NSMA, has played competition tennis at Parramatta Baulkham Hills Tennis Association Club for over forty years. However, Brian has now been banned from playing there after he insisted on his right to play tennis without having to breathe in someone's cigarette smoke.
Workcover and Council Weak
The circumstances were complicated because Brian had been trying for six months to have Workcover NSW force the owners, Parramatta City Council, to apply a total ban in the precincts of the courts claiming that it is a work area subject to the Occupational Health laws. His argument was that coaches and groundsmen and kiosk attendants were employed there. When Brian challenged a young woman smoking about 3 metres from where he was playing with the smoke drifting across his playing zone he claimed that smoking was banned by virtue of Council's obligations under OHS Act 1983. However the young woman, who turned out to be the current secretary of the club, insisted that the club rules allowed her to smoke and accused Brian of inventing his own rules. She lodged a complaint that Brian was refusing to accept "Club Rules". Since her father was the club president and mother was also on the seven person Management Committee it was not surprising that they banned Brian until he gave a special written undertaking to "accept Club Rules" together with a written apology to the offended smoker.
Brian has refused to accept any rule which requires him to place his health at risk and sees no justification for apologising to a smoker whose own self-indulgent negligent actions are the root cause of the problem.
Good Media on Non Smokers Rights
The complaints to Council date back to July 1998. The original incident with the smoker was in November and the Clubs demand for apology and threat of ban was made in December. Hence Brian retaliated with a threat of adverse publicity unless they re-instated him. This led to Channel Seven coming to the tennis court complex and interviewing all parties and then screening the program on Monday 8 February 1999. Three other newspapers carried the story and there was talk-back radio debate for two days on the rights of sport players to be free of smokers pollution.
Brian did an interview on Triple MMM with Andrew Denton, Amanda Keller and Ray Warren. They expressed their concern that he was going to lead a lonely life with no friends if he kept up the fight. Brian told them in no uncertain terms to get rid of the idea that just because smoking was in the open air it somehow was not injurious to health and was acceptable to normal people. He made the confident prediction that in the future smoking in the street would be banned and smoking would be confined to designated areas as is already happening at sporting complexes like the Melbourne Cricket ground (MCG).
Legal Court Action
Brian is trying all avenues to get re-instated but if they fail he intends to sue the smoker for nuisance and negligence as well as the club for wrongful expulsion.
Action Point 2
Write to (1) The Town Clerk, Parramatta City Council, Argyle Street, Parramatta, 2150, and (2) Mr. R. Midson, President Parramatta & Hills Tennis Association, PO Box 249, Ermington, 2115. Ask both why they will not ban smoking in areas where people are trying to play tennis, and whether they will lift the ban on Brian McBride playing there.
NSW STATE ELECTION
This Newsletter went to print before the final result was known, so more comment in the next edition.
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.|
|This page was last updated on 7th August, 2012.|
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