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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1462..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

It is worth going back to the recent history of smoking and entertainment and to comments made by ClubsACT and similar bodies in other states. While everyone recognises the significant health impact of smoking and the dangers of compulsive gambling, especially with poker machines, it is a fact that clubs were concerned about the loss of revenue that comes with breaking the nexus between them. In other words, the viability of clubs in the ACT and more widely around Australia is linked into people smoking cigarettes whilst being trapped in that second addiction of problem gambling. I think that it is time to start to consider whether we should view clubs as entertainment businesses rather than the community facilities with the social purposes that once they had.

Nonetheless, the Greens opposed the 75 per cent rule when it was introduced a couple of years ago, because it simply did not make sense and because additional regulations ruling out smoking in dining areas were being predicted by the government at the same time as it was requiring clubs to make those alterations—I am sure quite expensive in some cases—to create these 75 per cent enclosed areas that the government was able to define by sleight of hand but that I do not believe that the Collins or Oxford dictionaries would see as outdoors or unenclosed space.

I am concerned that what the Greens predicted at that time—and we were alone in that battle—has come to pass and that future public health improvements are being impeded by the understandable resistance of businesses who have already made that substantial capital investment in complying with the government's definition of what was an unenclosed space. In that sense, while I wait to hear what the minister says, I am inclined, philosophically at least, to support Mrs Burke's amendment, which suggests that those public proposed control measures be made public—

Ms Gallagher: They are public; I have no problem with it.

DR FOSKEY: Okay. I am going to hear what the minister says in a moment. But I feel that they were always on the cards. It may be that Mrs Burke's amendment is unnecessary; we will see what the minister says.

While it is a bit of a no-brainer to support Ms Porter's motion, I would like to add into the mix what we discovered when it was revealed that quite a considerable amount of our superannuation funds is invested in tobacco companies. We need to follow this right through so that we are not supporting the very villains that are otherwise demonised. As it turns out, our investment portfolio does include some tobacco companies.

I also wonder whether the cuts to, or lack of increases for, support for community sport in this recent budget might not be seen as counter to the thrust of this. On one hand, sport and such activities make smoking less attractive to people. On the other hand, we know about the sponsorship of community events such as sport. This is an area where companies that profit from smoking—and drinking—are very likely to fill the gap.

I just make those comments. Of course, I could not possibly oppose Ms Porter's motion, but it is probably not quite as simple as it seems.


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