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Big Tobacco dealt a blow as plain packaging moves closer

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 31 May 2011

The Australian Greens welcomed the news today, World No Tobacco Day, that the Coalition will not oppose plain packaging legislation.

Australian Greens health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert says the Coalition should now belatedly stop the practice of accepting political donations from Big Tobacco.

"The Coalition have finally seen the light on plain packaging, so now would be the perfect time for them to quit the habit of accepting donations from Big Tobacco.

"The products being made by Big Tobacco remains our highest preventable cause of death and disease. It is unacceptable for those companies to also be funding a political party.

"It was revealed today in Senate Estimates that since the plain packaging initiative was announced by Government, 46 FOI requests have been lodged with the Department of Health and Ageing, with many more lodged with 15 Government agencies and offices.

"The majority of these requests have been lodged by tobacco companies.

"The Department of Health and Ageing believe that the pattern of the actions on these applications is to disrupt the work on the Department.

"These FOIs cost these Departments enormous amounts of time and resources, resources that could be put to better health outcomes.

"The industry are clearly worried about the impact this initiative will have on the sale of their product," said Senator Siewert.

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