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Issue 46, January 2004
Sponsorship, donations to political parties by Big Tobacco - "contributing towards opportunities for dialogue" call it anything but don't mention the b**b*** word.
Both major parties, Liberal and Labor, accept donations from tobacco. And yet tobacco sponsorship of all other community organisations is illegal.
The wrong message is sent out when legislation to curtail the effects of tobacco is introduced or discussed by politicians who seem unwilling to forego funding from that very industry.
For example, both WA State Labor and Liberal parties took $5000 from Philip Morris (now Altria) in 2002-03. The Health Minister Jim McGinty felt "uncomfortable" about it. His department had just launched its Quit campaign!
Politicians and party fundraisers say they are entitled to accept such funding, yet many party members are very uncomfortable about it, and some have taken action at last.
Federal politicians Duncan Kerr (Lab.), Carmen Lawrence (Lab), and Dr Mal Washer (Lib.) have proposed that no political party be registered if it accepts any funding from the tobacco industry. We congratulate these Members of Parliament for standing up to the hypocrites within their own parties. They have said "Reform of the Electoral Act is needed to prevent parties accepting these donations and would ensure a level playing field..most would agree that the human and financial cost of the tobacco industry outweighs any small gain for the parties."
Sponsorship and "The Great Debate"
We weren't surprised last November to sight another "Invitation" from Labor's Grahame Richardson exhorting supporters to come along to the "Great Debate", a Roman-Banquet style fundraiser dinner with the entertainment being a "State of Origin" debate between "Gladiators" Premier Bob Carr from New South Wales, and Premier Steve Bracks from Victoria. Supporters' names printed on the invitation included British American Tobacco.
The Great Debate
In response to this "invitation" the Non-Smokers' Movement staged a demonstration outside the venue, the Wentworth Hotel, Sydney. In partnership with The Democrats and The Greens, we protested against Big Tobacco's contributing to a party fundraiser. Other protesters spoke up against overdevelopment in Sydney
Dr.Arthur Chesterfield-Evans and Margaret Hogge both spoke of how they deplored the hypocrisy of political parties accepting tobacco funding, while making decisions about restricting tobacco use. Mr Ciggy Butts (pictured) carried a bucket of organs and Dr. Death chased our smoking NSW Treasurer when he tried to sneak a smoke outside the function. Overall, we gained some TV coverage, and may have reached some more of the public with our message.
Dr Ciggy Butts
PS. Would anyone like some very smelly animal organs which Mr. Butts left in our car in the heat that night?
BAT Seen at the Test Cricket lately - former Liberal NSW Premier Nick Greiner. Wonder if he'll be asked to speak at the next Liberal Party Conference, or if he'll be too busy spinning out an updated version of his British American Tobacco Company's 'Social Report'?
Snap Queensland Election 7 February 2004. We intend to question candidates on their attitudes towards tobacco funding of political parties.
Well here we go let's continue the "clean air revolution."
Firstly I want to thank all past and current members of Non-Smokers' Movement for their contribution over the past 26 years you should feel extremely proud of your part in the revolution so far.
However, we need to keep the pressure up in all areas, reminding policy-makers, politicians, friends, and the public that everyone and every body (sic.) has a right to clean, tobacco-free air, and that smokers, whether they are indoors or outdoors, encroach on those basic rights. I encourage you, as individuals, to stand up and speak up for your rights everywhere, in public places, at home, at private functions, and in vehicles smokers may have the right to purchase a product which is legally available, but they should not expect to be able to use that product where it will harm others. Cars, guns, tobacco legal products, but inherently dangerous and potentially lethal.
Our predecessors have fought long and hard for our rights let's not become complacent. follow through on any breaches of those hard-won changes in the law. Show smokers and their suppliers that the "clean air revolution" continues.
I welcome contributions from members copies of recent correspondence, etc.
Margaret Hogge (Pres., NSMA)
Individual Members' Action
We often hear of Government Ministers who take action on issues as a result of personal contact with, say, victims of crime, or discrimination, or abuse. Obviously, the government members should treat everyone evenhandedly, but the personal touch seems to win some of them over so contact your Local MP and Ministers with all sorts of personal anecdotes and anti-tobacco stories you never know which one will hit home.
Please take a few minutes to write personally to your own State Member of Parliament, on the issue of smoke-free workplaces and total smoking bans, indicating compliance dates of July 2004.
Along the same lines- letters to local papers can't hurt my friends may not see me much lately but they know I'm still around when they see the latest letter printed in the local rag. Local papers do print short letters with topical messages.
Smoke-free Licensed Premises (Pubs and Clubs) in Australia
According to a recent Newspoll survey, two-thirds of Australians want laws against cigarette smoking in pubs and clubs made tougher, with a total smoking ban!
Whether you use these venues or not, basic rights for smoke-free air in all public places continue to be denied to a vast section of the public and to a vulnerable workforce.
Young (and not-so-young) workers in the hospitality industry provide a service in the community and are a great asset towards tourism. Entertainers in pubs and clubs are often young musicians and comedians finding their feet, becoming accustomed to live audiences, and paying for their tuition. For other workers, there's not a lot of choice about jobs. Which other industry has casual jobs available outside normal lecture/training times in universities and colleges? Or part-time second-jobs for young families struggling to pay rent or mortgages? Why should any workers be subjected to foul, poisonous tobacco smoke?
Our politicians work in luxurious, smoke-free surroundings. Even tobacco manufacturers have smoke-free workplaces. Why are pub and club workers and patrons still waiting for equal rights?
What are the practical issues involved which are causing such lengthy delays? Let us guess. Tobacco industry money might be withdrawn from political party coffers if smoking is finally banned from all indoor public places. Also, proprietors are busy extending and beautifying outdoor areas for the smokers.
The tobacco industry tells its partners in pubs and clubs that they will lose money big-time if they go smoke-free. Pubs and clubs tell employees they will lose jobs if they go smokefree, and the poor little worker just keeps plugging away, sucking in a few cigarettes worth of smoke each shift, not daring to speak up or complain as there's always some other battler around the corner ready to step into their shoes. And the entertainers are given the same story by publicans and promoters.
It's up to our public servants, our elected Members of Parliament to treat this as a health issue, as well as a human rights issue. They have the legislation available to them - it's simple they must lift the exemptions to State Smokefree Environment Acts. Now! No delays. The practical issues are no different from when restaurants went smoke-free. Put up the signs, remove the ashtrays, ask the smokers to go outside. Publicans already have the right to remove lawbreakers.
South Australia's Health Minister should quickly be booted out for giving in to standover tactics from the tobacco industry and from their partners in pubs and clubs the industry claimed it would lose big-time if they were forced to go smoke-free before 2010. So the Health Minister proudly claimed, through her spin-merchants and the Treasurer, that they fought hard for health's sake and that workers and patrons will only have to wait four more years, until October 2007 for the same smoke-free conditions as everyone else in the State! And you thought the ACT. was bad at allowing three years, until December 2006! Whoopee congratulations! Big tobacco must be positively gleeful at this delay, especially after seeing those recent public opinion polls which show that about two-thirds of the Australian public want total smoking bans NOW.
A level playing field is the only answer.
*Democrats' Bill, early 2004 Former NSMA President, and now Leader of the Democrats in the NSW Senate, Dr Arthur Chesterfield-Evans's bill to lift the exemptions of the Smokefree Environment Act 2000 has its next reading in March 2004. We wish him every success.
* Stephen Kane the Masked Barman settled his case for Wrongful Dismissal out of Court prior to Christmas break. Steve courageously stood up for his rights when Moama Bowling Club on the NSW/Victorian border reversed its decision to go smoke-free after 18months of clean air. We wish you and your family well, Steve you highlighted the awful plight of barworkers in Pubs and Clubs all over Australia. The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, LHMU, encouraged and supported Steve during the case, and continues to fight for workers' rights for smoke-free air.
Meanwhile, Moama Bowling Club is appealing against a NSW Dept.of Industrial Relations Workcover Notice of Improvement which has been issued and which would force the club to revert to its previous smokefree status. The Appeal Hearing is on 5th/6th May.2004. in Sydney, Downing Centre.
* Assistant Health Minister (Cancer) Frank Sartor's Industry Working Group (working in pristine, smoke-free conditions) is looking into setting a date for smoking bans in licensed premises (taking into account "public opinion" and all the "practical issues"). They expect to meet for a second time in late January, and make a final decision by May this year.
The Working Group meets in secret and has never asked for submissions from the public.
The last Industry Working Group devised the wonderful "Share the Air" campaign for NSW more like "Share the Poison"!
Keep holding your collective breaths, all you workers and non-smokers, this could still take time.
Support these Smokefree (Indoors) Licensed Venues
Tilbury Hotel, Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Emu Rugby Club, Orange, NSW
Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport, NSW
Swan Bowling Club, Maroochydore, Qld.
Seymour Centre, near Sydney Uni.
Railway Bar, Central Railway Station, Sydney (closes about 7:30pm)
Harp Irish Pub, Tempe, NSW. Several smoke-free live gigs per month.- phone first.
Any others? We'd love to publicise them and encourage members to patronise them.
Tamworth Country Music Festival This major music festival is to be held 16th-26th January. We have written to the organisers, pointing out that, because they have a captive audience, they could easily go smoke-free indoors without suffering any loss in profits, and that they would be leaders in the industry in supporting workers and the public in their rights for smoke-free air. Very little response to date.
News of Big Tobacco
*Australian packaging company, Amcor proudly advises that it is the world's largest supplier of cigarette packaging.
* Altria The tobacco giant.. Philip Morris may have changed its name but it stinks just the same. Recent turnover of $US 109 billion. You have to sell an obscene amount of cigarettes to make that, and you need to keep recruiting new, loyal, young consumers. Compare that with $5000 donation to a political party does chicken-feed come to mind?
* Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co. in New York has been ordered to pay $US20Million in punitive damages because they covered up the dangers of smoking
* Cinema Advertising. Some sections of the tobacco industry are planning an advertising campaign in cinemas, telling us they don't aim their products at juveniles. Isn't this the same industry whose executives swore, hand on collusive heart, that no sir, nicotine is not addictive?
* Fire-safe Cigarettes: Apparently fire-safe cigarettes were available back in 1987 and many lives could have been saved, but only New York State in USA has so far decreed that manufacturers have until end June 2004 to make them to standard.
Health reports. * Reports published internationally showed non-smokers' risk of developing lung cancer jumps 32% if their work, social and home lives were not smoke-free.
* Mild or light cigarettes, according to a study of about 1 million smokers of the 1980's, are no guard against cancer deaths.
Advertising - Television and Film
It seems that some stations are unaware of laws regarding advertising tobacco products. When a live broadcast was cancelled recently, one of the channels showed a repeat of an old cricket match (with boundary advertising) from the days before tobacco advertising was banned. The Australian Broadcasting Authority is now investigating a complaint by our Vice President, Owen Graham.
Our Partners in the Smokefree Australia Coalition
LHMU - Liquor Hospital/y & Misc.Workers' Union
MUA - Musicians' Union of Australia
MEAA - Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance
ACTU - Australian Council of Trade Unions
ASH - Action on Smoking & Health
TCCA - The Cancer Council Australia
NHF - National Heart Foundation of Australia
ACOSH - Australian Council on Smoking & Health
AMA - Australian Medical Association
Our Committee plans to meet up with non-smokers who have similar problems of neighbours invading them with secondhand smoke. We expect to work out some strategies to combat or alleviate this problem without having to take matters to court. Every body has a right to safe, tobacco-free air, especially in their own homes and residents should not be forced to take court action to protect themselves from smoke invasion by neighbours. Please contact us with your ideas and strategies.
Smokefree Playgrounds/Sporting Arenas
As advised in the last Update, several local councils have legislated to ban smoking within 10 metres of children's playgrounds and sporting arenas - measures which will protect children and help in the process of de-normalising smoking in the eyes of children, as well as providing more venues where smokers cannot indulge.
Mr. Eric Turner is a smoker but also president of local athletics and Little Athletics in Dubbo, in Western NSW he is in favour of smoking bans around sporting arenas. Good on you, Eric we wish you and the community well.
Orange City Council (NSW) is considering smoking bans around the Olympic Swimming Pool.
Congratulations to Meagan Lawson from Cancer Council, also a member of Hawkesbury Local Council, whose presentation to the Local Government Conference has prompted a groundswell of community support for outdoor smoking bans near children.
NSMA members, contact Meagan at Cancer Council NSW for your own kit to present to your local council. The Cancer Council is at 153 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo 2011 or www.cancercouncil.com.au
Sydney's Royal Easter Show
The "Royal" at Homebush is the biggest family event of the year, when the Country comes to the City, and families go out for the day to enjoy seeing the animals, riding the fun-rides, and watching the Ring events from the grandstands. Only a few areas of seating are declared smoke-free. It can take 30 minutes to find seating for your family on a busy day, then only 30 seconds to realise that the people in front of you, or next to you are smokers and are ready to ruin your day. With Australia having the highest incidence of childhood asthma in the world, and with cigarette-smoke being a major trigger of asthma, you would think the organisers would think of the families first, but unfortunately, despite several years of written requests, they continue to allow smoking in all but the legally banned areas. We have written to the organisers, (with Action on Smoking and Health backing), requesting that smokers be directed to Designated Smoking Areas on the outskirts of the showgrounds. Apparently a meeting will discuss this matter on 22 January. We await a positive decision.
Public Transport Waiting Areas
Smoking is banned from public transport. All waiting areas should also be smoke-free. Smokers should finish smoking before joining queues. In Victoria, the government has baulked at banning smoking on railway platforms, giving in once again to smokers and tobacco interests. Railway platforms, NSW - According to a report, over 2000 smoking infringement notices have been issued since September 2003.
LEAVE A BEQUEST TO NSMA IN YOUR WILL.
Please think about this to keep the good work going into the future.
Smokefree Outdoor (Alfresco) Dining
With our great climate, many Australians enjoy dining outdoors and, because there are as yet no laws to ban smoking outdoors at restaurants, many smokers selfishly subject their fellow guests and adjoining diners to their filthy smelly smoke. NSMA has already made some recommendations in formal submissions (to ACT and South Aust).
Recently, following a letter from our member Denny Mountford, Pittwater Council, (Northern Sydney) allowed the local Avalon RSL Club to lease part of a public reserve adjoining the club.
We think the club originally wanted this space as an outdoor area for smokers for the time in the near future when all indoor smoking is banned, but Pittwater Council very neatly advised that the leased area is to be entirely smoke-free. Well done, NSMA members, and well done, Mayor Patricia Giles (pic) and Pittwater Council and congratulations, now, to Avalon RSL yours will probably be the first RSL to have a smokefree outdoor dining area!
NSMA Members - we suggest you write to your own local councils, suggesting that any leases of public land should only be allowed or renewed if the tenants agree to make the areas totally smoke-free.
What's happening around Australia?
The National Occupational Health and Safety Council (NOHSC) recently advised all states to ban indoor smoking in all workplaces immediately. Sure!
ACT. We have to wait until end 2006 for a total ban on all indoor public places.
NSW: "Industry" Working Group expects to make announcement about licensed premises by May 2004.
South Australia: 4 years for workers and patrons to wait for total indoor bans, end 2007.
Queensland - Health Dept. seeking submissions early 2004. Snap election for 7 February.
Victoria. Railway stations and sporting arenas miss out. Bans are being proposed for under-age dance clubs and on cigarette promotional girls.
Tasmania:. All gambling venues, but only 50% of bars to be smoke-free by end of 2004.
What's Happening Internationally?
Republic of Ireland: The planned smoking-ban of Jan 2004 is delayed a few months to Apr/May but Dublin Tourism is already advertising 2004 as the year to visit "Dublin a Breath of Fresh Air". They're not stupid, they know that the majority of tourists are not smokers, and that they will stay and spend their money once smoking bans are in force. It'll be a great feeling, to be able to enjoy the music and atmosphere without the smoke! USA 40 years after the first US Surgeon-General's Report on Smoking and Health, six States, California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts now have total indoor workplace smoking bans they're rolling them out!
Great Britain: The country's leading medical officer has told the Government that all indoor workplaces should be smoke-free now! Also in G.B., the Chief Executive of Britain's Imperial Tobacco company, agreed in court "one would have to accept cigarettes were dangerous." ASH in Scotland is linking up with a law-firm ready to fight compensation cases against companies which allow second-hand smoke indoors. Scotland has one of the worst rates for tobacco-related illnesses in Western Europe with 13,000 deaths per year.
New Zealand has legislated for all indoor workplaces to be smoke-free by end of 2004.
France: Taxes on tobacco products to increase dramatically.
Norway: Smoking bans at indoor workplaces, including pubs and restaurants, by June 2004
Netherlands: News indicates that smoking is banned in nearly all places where it may affect other people.
China: Britain's Imperial Tobacco Co. gains a foothold in the world's largest market when China's largest manufacturer produces the British West brand on-site.
PROFILE: Steve Patroni, longtime NSMA member in South Australia.
I was delighted to meet up with Steve Patroni in Adelaide recently. Steve has been a strong campaigner and prolific letter writer for Non-Smokers' rights for many years, and continues fighting strongly, having made strong submissions to South Australia's Government in 2003, calling for complete smoking bans in licensed premises.
By coincidence, Steve and I would have been working at the same place in Sydney in the mid-60's but I was a smoker then and would probably have regarded him as a "wowser" Who has the last laugh now!
Steve has many interests including square dancing and folk music, both of which are becoming almost entirely smoke-free.
Steve is a very friendly guy and would welcome further support in his part of Australia. Please contact us here at the Office and we'll send your name on to him.
Steve wrote to SA Govt. in December 2003,immediately after their announcement of 4 year delaying total smoke-bans saying, "It also appears that Mr. Foley, Treasurer and the Cabinet have been taken in by subtle "emotional blackmail" via threats of "job losses", from the Australian Hotels Association lobby".
Keep up the good work, Steve.
Smoking in Motor Vehicles
Not only are smokers in cars being targeted for damaging their passengers' health with secondhand smoke, (see Asthma NSW's advert, Car and Home, Smoke-free Zone) but now the smoker-motorist is being warned of dire consequences if butts are flicked out onto the street. Smokers are being blamed for starting some bushfires. A study by University of Technology and NSW Fire Brigade showed that 40 out of every 1000 butts tossed from cars started fires. Arson is punishable by up to 14 years' jail. Also, Albury City Council, on the border of Victoria and NSW, says "people who throw litter from cars, especially cigarette butts, risk an on-the-spot fine of up to $375." This is a serious fire danger and an offence.
To Dob in a Cigarette Tosser in NSW, Phone 131555 Describe the driver, vehicle (make, model, colour), Number Plate, time, date, and place of the offence.
We will continue to make our presence known, heard and seen at protest rallies outside Parliament House in Sydney and whenever or wherever we can gather a group to give out information about non-smokers' rights and about the delays in legislation. Please let us know if you can join us, the more the merrier. We can even invite Mr Ciggy Butt and the ghoulish Dr. Death always the crowd-pleasers!
Mesmerised by the Marlboro Man
As reported in the last Update, Myriam Cauvin (pic.) has begun a class action and wants to claim against the Tobacco Industry. She wants to set up a national compensation fund for victims of tobacco. She has been told recently that she may proceed in her case using the Trade Practices Act to claim up to $230 million worth of taxes back from tobacco companies, Philip Morris (Altria) and British American Tobacco (BAT). Good luck to Myriam and to Barrister Neil Francey.
New Application Form for NSMA
Since moving office, we find we need to update and re-design our application form. A new form is on the way. Meanwhile, can any member(s) help with cartoons/illustrations/graphics for our Update and for other stationery, please? Just send them in, whatever you can provide.
Meet-Up This internet address may be worth following up, please let us know.: antismoking.meetup.com
"Smoke-free Australia" (Sung to the Tune of Waltzing Matilda)
Smoke-free Australia! Smoke-free Australia!
Who'll come and breathe some clean, fresh air with me?
Oh, we'll fight against tobacco's filth
The poisons and the stinking greed
'Cos ev'rybody has a right to be smoke free!
(They get worse!)
The Non-Smokers' Update is the quarterly newsletter published for members of the Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc.. Contributions or comments should be forwarded to the Editor, NSMA PO Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
|The Non-Smokers' Movement of Australia Inc, Box K860, Haymarket NSW 1240.
|This page was last updated on 14th August, 2004.
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