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MR CONNOLLY (10.59): Mr Speaker, it is very appropriate on World No Tobacco Day that Mr Berry can move a very strongly worded motion and can achieve strong support from Mrs Carnell and, I hope, all other members of this Assembly. This is an issue where not only has strong leadership been shown by this Assembly and by previous governments over the years but we hope that we have had general bipartisan support for those strong measures that have been taken. Mr Berry was perhaps too modest to mention in his remarks that, despite the well-known differences that both Mr Berry and I have had with the AMA over the years, about 18 months ago Mr Berry was named by the AMA as a hero for a day, in relation to the original announcement of the ACT’s anti-smoking legislation. Indeed, last year, after that legislation was successfully carried through - I had the stewardship of carrying it through - the AMA awarded the ACT Minister an achievement award for getting that legislation through. I actually saw a photograph of that particular award in the AMA journal. I never actually got to see the award. Departmental officers take note. It may be sitting on somebody's desk or it may be able to be retrieved, but there was a photograph of it in the AMA journal.
Mrs Carnell mentioned the issue of prosecutions and the difficulties with prosecutions that have confronted the ACT over the years. Certainly, last year, we established a task force between police and Health to try to get successful prosecutions. One of the great difficulties, of course, is that police should not, and will not, entrap storekeepers. It would be quite inappropriate for police to grab a 16-year-old and say, “Would you go in and buy the cigarettes?”. That would be entrapment. But police are working with health officials to improve surveillance there. While it is true that there has been only one prosecution, there have been a great number of occasions when police or health officials have given warnings to shopkeepers and it appears that there has been a tightening up of processes afterwards.
A suggestion for Mrs Carnell to take up, which I floated last year, is an amendment of the franchising fee legislation to provide that, if a tobacco retailer is convicted of an offence of selling to people under age, their franchise may be in jeopardy. At the moment, you face a fine for selling cigarettes under age; but, if you could actually lose your licence to sell tobacco products if you were detected selling under age, that would be a massive disincentive. It is significant that some of the larger chains in Canberra operate under a single tobacco licence. So, that would mean that one breach, or perhaps two breaches, could put in jeopardy a multimillion dollar turnover, and that would be a very significant deterrent. So, that is something that I hope the Government will take up in a bipartisan spirit. I offer that as a way of toughening the existing sanctions provisions, and I hope that Mrs Carnell will look at moving that through in the months to come.
In referring to some of the achievements that have been notched up already in the ACT, I think that particular mention should be made of the Trades and Labour Council's campaign of blue-collar anti-smoking programs. Much of the work that had been done around Australia had focused on anti-smoking programs for white-collar workers - office workers - and the TLC was leading the way in Australia in programs specifically targeting blue-collar workers. I think the building trades group, in particular, had developed that