|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 26, September-December 1998
NEW COMMITTEE FOR 1999
The Annual General Meeting was held on 28 October 1998 and the above enthusiastic members were elected to the Executive Committee for 1999. Brian McBride agreed to put off his retirement plans for another year and take on the job of President. Brian was the founding President and held the job for the first 10 years when he was succeeded by Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans who carried on until he entered Parliament in July 1998. Other office bearers are: Owen Graham - Vice president, Jenny Sanders - Secretary, James Proctor - Treasurer.
The President's Report for 1998 detailed activities on a wide range of issues including, new air quality standard determining the 1997 NSW Smoking Regulation Bill, SRA campaigns re workplaces and covered platforms, enforcement of shopping centre bans, point of sale advertising, Smokefree Olympics and other campaigns.
CAMPAIGN PRIORITIES FOR 1999
There are many projects which should be undertaken in the year ahead but the following ones require our best efforts.
NSW Bans - We must finalise the new air quality issue linked to the legislation and at the same time try to accelerate the implementation of bans to the Olympic year 2000 rather than 2003.
Target Politicians - A survey/questionnaire to be designed to force individual election candidates to declare where they stand on smoking issues. Action to be taken to influence voting against pro-smoking candidates.
Tobacco Executives - We must publicly expose the likes of Nick Greiner and Sir Roden Cutler as un-Australian and traitors to our children's future. Their ethics in promoting tobacco to the helpless, impoverished and uninformed youth of third world countries must be attacked.
Recover Costs - We should join with other agencies in pressing the Government(s) to sue the Australian tobacco industry to recover health care costs as has happened in USA.
Enforce Existing Bans - We must continue to protest about the non-enforcement of existing smoking bans in areas like railway stations, shopping centres, workplaces, etc. NSW Workcover must be pressured to prosecute not just give warnings. Seek heavier penalties for all breaches.
Sponsorships - We must campaign against the advertising exemptions granted to the seven significant international events such as the Melbourne Grand Prix, Ladies Masters' Golf etc.
Flats/Units - This is a difficult one but we should try to find a breakthrough on this to give some relief to the people affected.
Membership And Media - We need to arrest the decline in membership by promoting NSMA in the media whenever possible to increase contact with new members.
People Power - We plan to activate our members to be more active in letter writing and attending protest rallies to get our message across.
The disgraceful treatment given to train driver Stephen Maher by the NSW State Rail Authority proves that Minister Carl Scully cannot control the pro-smoking middle management staff in the NSW State Rail Authority. What is even worse is that Stephen's own Public Transport Union will not give support to non-smoking workers because they say it upsets their smoking members. The fact that Union managers are often smokers is also relevant.
The full story of Stephen's battle for a smokefree workplace cannot yet be told because he is fighting for his job at this very time. However the basic facts are that he has waged a one man war for the last 6 years demanding that his sign-on rooms be smokefree and that smoking contaminated driver's cabins be cleaned before he would work in them. This sometimes delayed trains and his smoking supervisors tried to blame him and impose fines etc. During a confrontation with two smoking women staff in an SRA building where they should not have been smoking he is alleged to have knocked a cigarette out of a woman's hand and he was subsequently convicted of assault as a result of action taken by these vindictive women smokers. We all know how some of these creatures behave when you try to take their dummy off them!
This result was now a wonderful weapon for the SRA to use against him after one more disciplinary incident he was obliged to go through an employees' "Appeal" hearing. Naturally Stephen was in a very distrustful and defensive mood so when he told the Chairman that he did not "trust his bosses" they directed that he must undergo psychiatric assessment. So workers beware - if you say you do not trust your boss, you are obviously in need of psychiatric re-programming! If that is a good and sufficient reason to call in the shrinks then half of Sydney's workforce should be on the psychiatrist's couch. It would be laughable if it were not for the serious consequences. They forced Stephen to go to their nominated psychiatrist and they supplied him with all the history of his fighting with SRA management so his report would obviously contain enough negatives to justify any action they wished to take against him.
Stephen has now been verbally informed that he will not be allowed to return to his job as a driver in spite of 19 years unblemished service, if you ignore the disputes over his "smokefree" workplace.
NSMA have been doing as much as we can including accompanying Stephen to several solicitors and also his local MP. None of these were very helpful and further action is necessary. Meanwhile Dr. Arthur Chesterfield-Evans raised the matter in parliament on 1 December and has called on the Minister to intervene. Arthur told the members " The gutlessness and lack of commitment of the Department stems from the gutlessness and lack of commitment of this Parliament on the issue". It is great to see someone in Parliament really telling them a few home truths about their performance on both workplace and public smoking. We will keep you posted on what action, if any, Minister Carl Scully takes on the matter.
One of our members complained to Workcover about smoking in front of the Hot Bread shop which directly faced the above Tobacconist in St Martins Village Centre, Blacktown. Her efforts were rewarded with new No Smoking signs now hanging in front of the Tobacconists.
WEST AUSTRALIAN ACTION
Peter Markham (ex NSMA Director) and our good friends in ACOSH have had a busy year with Peter standing for the Democrats in the Federal Election, Ron Edwards appointed as new Director, and the exciting move to get new state laws banning smoking. Originally these would have had the effect of a total ban on smoking in all workplaces, which includes all hotels, clubs, and restaurants from 1/1/99. There has been much politicking about allowing these comprehensive bans, courageously introduced by then Labor Relations Minister, Graham Kierath, or to water them down to softer bans through amendments to the Health Act. The latter seems to be happening but the next few weeks will see the issue resolved in WA Parliament. (See the ACOSH Newsletter for more background.)
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN ACTION
A special Xmas greeting and commendations to Steve Patroni and our SA members who have been active with letter writing on smoking issues. Steve has taken issue with Victorian Health Minister Rob Knowles for his published statement that he had no plans to outlaw public smoking because he believed that workplace safety laws were reducing it already! What a cop out! There is no logic in his position and it is just a typical politician's attempt to confuse the argument and justify them doing their usual nothing.
A special hello to John Coyle and other Queensland members who are still trying to get smoking banned in the Roadhouse stopovers used by the Greyhound and McCaffertys coach services. It is very frustrating now to enjoy the hard-won smokefree bus services while traveling but, as soon as you stop for a refreshment break, you have to put up with the immediate and all pervading smoking of the nicotine addicts. They can't wait to light up the minute they step off the bus in front of you and they will blow smoke all over you as you queue up for a sandwich or a drink.
In NSW we have joined the fight with representations to the Minister Carl Scully to bring these venues under the Transport Act and - dare we say it - ban smoking as on railway stations! It won't be easy but if we have enough dedicated campaigners like John Coyle we will get there eventually. We have also requested Dr. A. Chesterfield-Evans to raise the issue in Parliament.
Action Point - Write to your local member and to the Minister for Transport, The Hon. Carl Scully, Parliament House, Macquarie St. Sydney 2000, and request advice as to why they have not, or will not, ban smoking in long distance Coach Roadhouses.
It is worth emphasising the report from ACOSH that Prime Minister Mr. John Howard is "limp" on smoking! In a radio interview he defended the tobacco company sponsorship of the Liberal Party Convention in Brisbane. He also would not agree that tobacco is more of a threat to public health than illicit drugs. Don't hold your breath waiting for strong and decisive action against smoking by John Howard.
Action Point - Write to Prime Minister John Howard, Parliament House Canberra, ACT 2600, and express your outrage that he is such a wimp on the tobacco issue.
One of the problems with John Howard is that he is not prepared to take on Nick Greiner, Chairman of WD & HO Wills, and his big business network. Poor Nick is struggling to get by these days with a mere 38 company Directorships! How does he have time to make a sincere contribution to the "Smokefree Olympics" through his role on the SOCOG Board?. NSMA have written to Sandy Hollway, Chief Executive of SOCOG, pointing out the harm that will flow to SOCOG as we start to advertise the presence of drug pushers on the Board. Anyone can do this through the Internet and the message will reach those foreign visitors and their children who are being exploited and killed by Greiner's tobacco interests.
During the publicity for Rod McGeoch's resignation due to conflict of interest, two NSMA members raised the suggestion that Nick should also be forced to resign. This got a run on both Mike Gibson and Mike Jeffrey's radio programs on 25 November 1998.
Action Point - Write to Mr. Sandy Hollway, Chief Executive SOCOG, 235 Jones Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007, and ask him how many Board meetings have dealt with "Smokefree Olympics" policy and implementation matters? Then ask him how many Board meetings Nick Greiner has absented himself from voting due to a declared conflict of interest of any of his 38 companies?
The new committee has had two very productive meetings before breaking up for the year on 9th December.
Our celebration Xmas dinner on that night got off to a bad start when the pre-booked smokefree room in the BBQ King restaurant in Chinatown turned out to have smokers in our area. We gave them the choice of putting out two smokers or losing our table of twelve. With three chinese managers waving their arms and apologising, but apparently unable to make a decision, we staged a very vocal walkout. We then went to the Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Sussex Street which does have a genuine totally smokefree area upstairs. The food was excellent and the night finished on a happy note, but it just shows how far we have still to go for clean air in restaurants.
|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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