Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3227 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

There is even evidence that an introduction of a ban on smoking in commercial premises can do much more than protect people's health. The ban may even be good for business, as the Maroochydore Swan Bowls Club recently found when its membership doubled after the club banned smoking.

There is certainly quite a broad desire in the community to see tighter regulation of cigarettes in public places, inside and outside. The latest survey of 27,000 Australians over 14 years of age shows public opinion is way ahead of governments, with strong majority support for tougher tobacco measures, including 91.2 per cent support for stricter law enforcement of illegal sales, and 60.8 per cent support for smoke-free pubs and clubs. Those figures are from a newsletter produced by the Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council, dated June 2002, so there may have been further studies since then. That is certainly a good indication of general community opinion about this issue.

Once again, I commend Ms MacDonald for raising this issue and I hope members support my amendment to it.

MS DUNDAS (3.40): I will be speaking on Ms Tucker's amendment and the substantive motion and I rise to support both. Tobacco control is an issue in which I am interested, particularly when laws and standards that have been introduced are not being complied with. Before, in this place, I have raised the issue of there being absolutely no regime to ensure compliance with laws preventing the sale of tobacco to minors.

I understand the objections of the Attorney-General and I am still working to find a practical solution to this problem. As stated by the motion before us, the accumulation of evidence on the harmful effects of passive smoking during the last two decades has led to a number of landmark legal cases, as well as the introduction of legislation that prohibits smoking in many enclosed public areas.

As at mid-2001, there have been at least 35 legal cases in Australia and overseas in which people were compensated for damage to their health caused by passive smoking. Other significant cases have led to convictions under the trade practices and disability discrimination legislation.

We should look at the case of Scholean v New South Wales Department of Health in 1992. This precedent-setting case involved a Melbourne restaurant diner who had suffered a debilitating asthma attack after exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The complainant alleged that the restaurant had failed to enforce the no-smoking rule in the non-smoking area, failed to adequately separate the smoking and non-smoking areas, and did not adequately ventilate the premises. The court awarded the litigant compensation of $7,000.

Further, we have Sharp v Port Kembla RSL Club, the famous case of 2001, where a hotel worker was awarded $466,000 by a New South Wales Supreme Court jury. The worker had contracted throat cancer after years of passive smoking in her workplace. These damages were the first to be awarded for cancer caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .