As the federal election campaign moves along, news comes today that Kevin Rudd intends to reform party political donations, and ban such from tobacco companies should he win the September 7th poll.
|Rudd Pledges To Stub Out Big Tobacco’s Political Push|
“Tobacco companies will be frozen out if Labor is re-elected, with Kevin Rudd pledging to completely end their involvement in the political process, and to phase out any investment in cigarette firms by public sector super funds.”
“The move is designed to end big tobacco’s influence and to wedge Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, whose party has not ruled out accepting donations from cigarette makers.”
“The ALP stopped taking tobacco industry support in 2004 but the Coalition continues to accept donations.”
While personally I am undecided as to whether actively preventing tobacco companies from making political donations is a fair thing to do – (after all, being a democracy, everyone should have the right to donate as they see fit) – but given the massive cost burden smoking and related illnesses places on our health system, the argument for doing so has a lot of merit.
If such a ban comes about, we should remember that tobacco companies get around bans all the time – so any ban needs to be watertight.
How do they get around the bans? Very sneakily – and here is an example from Australia’s past.
In 1995, tobacco advertising in sport was banned in Australia – existing advertising contracts were allowed to run their course, but new contracts were not permitted to be initiated.
In motorsport, we saw Phillip Morris – through its popular ‘Peter Jackson’ brand – actively sponsoring teams between 1986 and 1995. See below the Peter Jackson Falcon of Glenn Seton from the 1995 season: