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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tony Abbott Supports Tobacco Industry

Tony Abbott is a fitness fanatic and former health minister so he knows that smoking kills. Last year he said that he would support plain cigarette packaging with graphic warnings but now he’s changed his mind. He says he’s not convinced the changes will help reduce smoking. Tobacco companies give huge donations to the Liberal Party so could it be they have made him an offer he can’t refuse?

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said they expected the tobacco companies to fight them but hadn’t planned on having to take on Tony Abbott as well. NSW and Victorian Liberal governments are supporting the move but Abbott said “My anxiety with this is that it may end up being counterproductive in practice”.

Chief Executive of British American Tobacco Australia, David Crow said they would “spend as much as it takes” to kill off plain packaging. They would contact every MP today to warn it was a “dangerous experiment” that would waste taxpayers’ money. They argue that plain packaging will allow illicit tobacco to diminish their market share.

We really need bipartisan support on this one but it looks like the tobacco industry has Tony Abbott over a barrel. And this will be a true test of his character.