Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011, Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill 2011; Second Reading
I would just like to make a few comments in relation to the Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 and the Trade Marks Amendment (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Bill 2011. I personally congratulate the government for bringing forward the plain-packaging legislation. I identify with some of the concerns that have been raised in terms of the retailers, and I might get to that in a moment. But I think for people to back two horses on this piece of legislation is quite strange. I know we all have our constituencies to play to, but there is a very real health issue that we are trying to address here.
If I were God, I would ban cigarettes totally. Obviously that is not going to happen. I think most people recognise that that is not going to happen. In terms of the disease factors that are absolutely certain, it is the community that pays that bill. It is all very well for people to say that an adult should have the choice of making their own decisions, but, if we are chronic smokers—and I have been in my lifetime—or we are prone to obesity from overeating, we do not pay. The health system is not a user-pays system. It is not based on what you have done in your life. It is a socialist system that we all pay for. I think we are honour bound as representatives to, where we do see some form of health risk, try and do something about it.
I first smoked when I was at school. I was a bad boy—I am not a bad boy now, but I was a bad boy, I did smoke and I received quite severe punishment on occasions—