Page 4282 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005

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The government is firmly committed to reducing tobacco related harm by discouraging the uptake of tobacco use, encouraging smoking cessation and protecting people from environmental tobacco smoke. We are committed to reaching the goal of smoke-free, enclosed public places by December 2006. We will continue to work with health groups, the hospitality industry and others to achieve implementation of this important reform. The government does not support this disallowance motion today.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella—Leader of the Opposition) (11.09): As has been previously stated, the opposition will be supporting the regulation as it stands. We will not be supporting this disallowance motion this morning. We think that the regulation goes a long way to addressing the concerns that many groups have raised, and the minister has just referred to some of them. I acknowledge that it does not go as far as some groups would like, but I think there needs to be a process of both certainty and reality as to what it is that we can achieve here.

I have spoken with many of the groups that Dr Foskey said have done nothing to contribute to making the workplace smoke-free. They include the clubs and the hotels. If Dr Foskey had been at the clubs’ annual dinner earlier this year, she would have heard the president say, “We know we have to work on this. We want to do it. We want to do the right thing by all involved. What we want out of it, though, is some certainty.” This regulation gives certainty. That is why we will be supporting it.

As we have said, though, we will watch the outcome with interest. We will monitor the effectiveness of the regulation to make sure that it delivers what the minister has outlined. We think that, as many of the pubs and clubs have already made changes to accommodate the regulation, it is reasonable that it proceed.

Contrary to what Dr Foskey said, much has actually been done voluntarily, particularly in the pubs and clubs, to accommodate the non-smokers and to make safer workplaces. The clubs have worked very hard, in my opinion, to create a better environment. In the past few years the hotel industry has stopped smoking at check-ins and in lobbies. All the little troughs that used to be on the front of bars have disappeared to discourage smoking at the bar. There have been a lot of practical things that have been done on a voluntary basis.

I accept that some people do not think they have gone far enough. But what I have heard is a commitment from many of the industries where smoking is directly involved, such as clubs and pubs, that they want to make sure they are not affecting anybody. They are working towards that, but they want some certainty. With that in mind, we will not be supporting this disallowance motion.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.11), in reply: I rise to conclude the debate and to respond to some of the things that have been said by members. Their views are no surprise to me. The writing was on the wall about the way both parties would vote. Still I felt it was important to move the disallowance motion.

I thought it was really important to state my reasons and to have the debate, because a very large part of the community is very concerned about the definition of “enclosed” that we have come up with. I thought it was very important to represent those views in

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