Thursday, August 05, 2010

Are you confused?

So what is the link between the Coalition and the tobacco industry funded campaign at the election?

Well the first question you might ask is - what tobacco industry campaign. The ads that are appearing are from the "Alliance of Australian Retailers" and it is reported that they are "fronting the campaign".

The only real link suggested is between strategy firm Crosby Textor and BAT - not confirmed but not denied.

The ads themselves are a disgrace. The retailers dress it up as a concern over "regulation" that the excise increase makes them a greater target for theft and that plain packaging isn't required because packets can't be displayed. The logic is breathtakingly stupid - as if the only time a potential customer or actual addict only looks at a packet is when it is being bought.

They resort to the worst argument of all - other countries have rejected plain packaging. As I note on all such arguments it was good that Australia and New Zealand didn't rely on it and decided to give women the vote before any other country did.

Tony Abbott needs to be stronger in his response. He is quoted saying "The Liberal Party has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of pro-smoking campaign. And as far as I'm concerned, if we are returned on August 21, we will certainly consider going ahead with the Government's plain packages for cigarettes."

His promise is to "certainly consider going ahead" - seems to me given what he's told us about what he says rather than what is in writing and given the Liberal Party takes tobacco industry money and the ALP doesn't - that we know what that really means!

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