Labor notes reports the Liberal Party is set to back Labor’s world leading tobacco policy after yet another backflip, but is concerned it will be a watered down version.
It’s not good enough for the Coalition to support Labor’s plan on tobacco excise whilst still taking donations from big tobacco.
If the Government adopts a watered down version of Labor’s plan, it will be because they were lobbied by big tobacco.
When Labor unveiled our policy in November to continue the existing annual increases in tobacco excise for four more years, Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer dismissed the idea as “another tax-take”.
Health Minister Sussan Ley was even more scathing, dismissing it as “a grab for money, it’s a political statement and I don’t like it.”
ABC Insiders, 29th November 2015
This was despite the fact the minister strongly endorsed raising tobacco tax, when Malcolm Turnbull proposed this in his 2009 Budget reply speech.
“There is no doubt that one of the single biggest disincentives to smoking is the price of cigarettes …. so it is a measure that I believe all sides of politics must support.”
Sussan Ley, Hansard, 1st June 2009
Each year in Australia, tobacco kills more than 15,000 people and has more than $31.5 billion in health and economic costs.
Labor would warmly welcome the Turnbull Government adopting our approach to tackling tobacco consumption which is both evidence-based and in line with international best practice.