Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2281 ..
I certainly hope that there is not a pre-determined response already prepared that states we should ban smoking in enclosed areas.
This is interesting because, in 2001, the then leader of the Liberal Party and Chief Minister, Mr Humphries, gave a commitment to the people of Canberra that they would do exactly that, if they were elected to government. In fact, Mr Humphries said, on 17 September 2001, when announcing the Liberal Party's election commitment in relation to tobacco policy:
The ACT Liberals believe the ACT should be at the forefront of tobacco control. The current exemption system ... places a significant cost on business while failing to protect workers.
Mr Humphries made it clear that the regime failed to protect workers. He believed the exemption scheme did not work. He said that it may also be anti-competitive. He then said that none of the high-quality air filtering systems installed is capable of removing the invisible gaseous components of environmental tobacco smoke.
The Liberal Party went to the last election saying that they would phase out the exemption regime. We now have the current Liberal leader and the shadow minister for health saying, "Prove to us that the exemption scheme doesn't work."Your own leader said it in September 2001. He said that the exemption scheme fails workers. Mr Humphries said that it fails workers.
Mr Smyth: There are no fines-and you have your health workers out there. How many inspectors do you have on the job? How many fines have you issued?
MR CORBELL: I think Mr Smyth is embarrassed on this issue.
Mr Smyth: I am not embarrassed at all.
MR CORBELL: Mr Smyth is very embarrassed on this issue. So he should be, because his position is a back-down from the commitment the Liberal Party took to the people of Canberra. Their statement was that it was an agenda for removing current exemptions which apply to licensed premises and restaurants. That was the position the Liberal Party took to the people of Canberra at the last election. "We are going to remove exemptions,"the Liberal Party said. "We are going to phase them out."We now have Mr Smyth on the public record saying, "Give us a reason why they should be phased out."Mr Speaker, that is a big back-flip on the part of the Liberal Party. Mr Humphries said:
The current exemption system ... places a significant cost on business while failing to protect workers.
Those are not my words but the words of the then Chief Minister, when he announced the Liberal Party's policy. That was the Liberal Party's policy.
Mr Humphries announced that the Canberra Liberals will "work towards completely smoke-free enclosed public places legislation for the ACT". That was your position-the phase out exemptions.