Casablanca - . . Page.. 610 ..
One issue that Mrs Carnell raised, which I would like to deal with, is the allocation of a percentage of funds going to the HPF. Labor supports that. Inevitably, one still has to walk the balancing wire on the allocation of funds in a budget. The pressure for the allocation of those funds to other areas of health and other areas of the budget is often very high. So, it is sometimes difficult to divert those funds in the way that you might wish to. There is one other issue about the percentage allocation of funds, and another irony. If, say, a health promotion fund receives its funds by way of a percentage allocation, when it fails to achieve its aims and tobacco sales go up, the health promotion fund receives more money. That flies in the face of most arrangements. Usually, if you fail, you receive less. There is an interesting issue there to consider in the allocation of funds. But that is not to say that they should not get more money. It just brings to notice the issue that, if you fail in business, you usually go broke; but, in this sort of process, if you fail, you actually receive more. I just raise that one as a little issue in the scheme of things that is worth thinking about as well.
From my point of view and that of my colleague Mr Connolly, I would also like to say a few words about the ACT Government public servants who work in the area of health promotion. We both found them - and I am sure that the Liberals opposite have done so - to be a dedicated crew who work above and beyond the call of duty in this area in particular. All of those public servants, in my experience, have been completely dedicated to their job. In fact, had they the opportunity, they would have worn a path to my office on every occasion possible to enlist my support for one scheme or another. I think they are to be congratulated for their effort. The incremental changes to our legislation and attitude to tobacco consumption which have occurred over the years may not have been as easy without their full and dedicated support. So, that is a bouquet for them.
I would like to go back to a press article in 1990. This is not meant as a barb; it is meant to show just what happens in the scheme of things, how hard the tobacco companies will try and how they will try to drive the wedge at every opportunity. The heading is “Kaine forces Humphries' hand on tobacco law”. The article reads:
The Tobacco Institute of Australia has managed to get the ACT's Chief Minister, Trevor Kaine, to force the Minister for Health, Gary Humphries, to consult further over proposed changes to tobacco legislation.
It goes on further to quote Mr Humphries as saying that he thought the industry was playing a little bit dirty. That is the understatement of the year, I would have thought. The article said that the institute was objecting mainly to the ban on sponsorship and to the proposal to force restaurants to set aside 50 per cent of their tables for non-smokers. We got that out of the way. I do not know what other dirty tactics we can expect them to get up to, but I will bet that they have a bagful.
The issue that Mr Connolly raised, about encouraging filmmakers throughout the world to include pieces where people have a cigarette in their hand all the time, is in their bag. We all remember - I certainly remember - that in all the old films there was always a wisp of smoke in the background. In the most famous of them all - Casablanca - the smoke was lingering around Sam's piano. That was continued by the filmmakers over the years. They have obviously seen the success - - -