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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3225..


MR SPEAKER: There is no absolute majority as required by standing order 162.

Question so resolved in the negative.

Passive smoking

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (3.32): The Liberal Party will be agreeing with the principle of what has been placed before us today. However, I think what we need to do is put in context what has been done over the last 12 years or so. My understanding is that the initial work to free workplaces of smoke commenced in 1990 under the then health minister, Mr Humphries. There were indeed your bills in 1994, and of course more work was done in the term of the previous government.

However, there are moments when, standing in this place and listening to some of the speeches of Ms MacDonald, I suddenly feel that I am living in a parallel universe. Her comments that Michael Moore and Kate Carnell were under the control of the smoking lobby were ridiculous in the extreme, particularly when you look at what was achieved in the term of the last government. There were a number of wonderful initiatives, including those regulating the way that we sell cigarettes, which enforced the smoke-free environment. They included freeing up public places such as the Canberra Stadium, which is smoke free because of the work of the previous government.

I hope that one day we will come out of the parallel universe and actually get to the facts of the matter.

The motion before us is important. It is a serious subject of which we should take great heed. Without foreshadowing debate on Ms Tucker's amendment, which I have just received, the point that I wanted to make was that perhaps this is an issue of enforcement. I understand that reports have been made to the health inspectors about workplaces not using the extraction systems that they have fitted. Why they would do such a thing is beyond me. However, I think that, if they have an exemption, and they have the exemption because they have fitted the extraction system, it is important that the government of the day makes sure that those systems are used and are used appropriately.

There are a couple of other issues that we have to address, including the issue of the long tail. Yes, there certainly are people coming forward who have suffered from passive smoking-related diseases and conditions. They should be treated with consideration and everything they say should be taken seriously. However, I think the changes that have been made in the last 10 years should be looked at with regard to offering a choice of venues for those who smoke.

I will make it quite clear: I do not smoke and I would prefer people did not smoke around me. However, we have to have an assessment of the effect of the legislation. What I suggest, and I think Ms Tucker encompasses this quite nicely in her amendment, is that we look at whether or not the regime is working, with the extraction systems that have been installed at great expense by many of these places-the 77 exempt.


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