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Witness to the History of Australian MedicineWitness to the History of Australian Medicine
Table of Contents

Tobacco Control: Australia's Role

Transcript of Witness Seminar


Building the case for tobacco control

Producing, and Responding to, the Evidence

Campaigning for Tobacco Control

Economic Initiatives in Tobacco Control

The Radical Wing of Tobacco Control

Revolutionary Road

Tobacco Industry Strategies and Responses to Them

Campaign Evaluation

Managing Difficulties in Light of Community Consensus

Radical Wing Again

The Process of Political Change

Tobacco Campaigns Up Close

A Speedier Pace of Change

Political Needs and Campaign Strategies

Litigation and its Impacts

Insights from Tobacco Control

Tobacco Control in Australia in International Perspective

Appendix 1: Statement by Anne Jones



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The Process of Political Change (continued)

Harley Stanton: Id like to come back to the issue of how the ban on tobacco advertising in NSW came into effect in 1990. After the 1987 passage of the legislation here in Victoria, Steve (Woodward) and others presented papers in 1990 at the World Conference in Perth which were published in the WHO Bulletin in 1990.[120]

Nigel also featured in an article in Cancer News that set out how it came about, with timelines that might clarify some points.[121]

Dorothy Reading: There are things that are not in that record though.

Lyn Roberts: Following the passage of the Victorian legislation ASH tried to create bipartisan support in South Australia, with the aim of replicating that (legislation).

Once again we had a fantastic (health) minister in John Cornwall[122] who was very interested and made it very clear that he was keen to try to put legislation up.

But right from the beginning the Opposition said it would oppose it and it was going to come down to the two Democrats in the Upper House in terms of being able to pass any legislation. Our intention always was to see if we could get it to the stage where it would have bipartisan support. But we were never actually able to achieve that.

It was a bitter and ugly campaign that played out, both publicly and behind the scenes. And the leadership at that particular stage of the Anti-Cancer Foundation was important. It didnt have a Nigel Gray as a CEO, but they had Professor Barrie Vernon-Roberts[123] who was chairman of the board and he played an extraordinary role. He was an eminent pathologist from the pathology department at the University of Adelaide. He was such a measured voice in the debate.

And the Heart Foundation and the Drug and Alcohol Services Council, which was an agency under statutory authority, decided this was something theyd put resources into behind the scene, like a silent player. But their actual dollars and the commitment of their staff were really important.

It was very intense at the time because a woman called Jennifer Cashmore,[124] whod been the Health Minister in the previous Coalition government. She upset her Liberal colleagues because she said she would cross the floor when it was going to be voted on. They were determined to stop her doing that.

She was going on to be married the next morning and the debate was that night. She had broken her ankle and was on crutches. Her colleagues filibustered and filibustered until 2 in the morning so they didnt have the embarrassment of someone on their side crossing the floor. But good old Jennifer stayed through to the vote. For the record, she was an extraordinary woman who worked behind the scenes in the Liberal Party to get that legislation through. She was one of the early people who raised the idea that cigarettes should be sold in brown paper bags from chemists, making that comment during that debate actually.

Ron Borland: In the lead-up to all of this, the Western Australians were trying to ban tobacco sponsorship (of sport) but failed. Id like to hear Dorothy and David on the strategising that went on to overcome problems associated with the VicHealth bill.

Dorothy Reading: Was it in the Western Australian act?

Simon Chapman: Picking up on something Mike said earlier about how someone said there were no new stories in tobacco control. If you look at the history of what weve been doing, there have just been so many stories.

There were politicians and other people like Dick Smith,[125] Bob Ansett[126] who ran Budget Rent A Car and banned ash-trays and cigarette lighters in his rental cars, Dean Southwood[127] of course in South Australia, and Peter Wilenski[128] who was the head of the Public Service Board.

There must be many, many bigger and smaller players who weve all got in our heads. Maybe we can get them down on paper after lunch.

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