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Greens encourage floor-crossing on plain packaging

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 24 May 2011

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has called for more Coalition MPs to voice their support for plain cigarette packaging.

“A strong political and legislative stance is needed, and it is good that some members of the Coalition appear to be taking that approach, rather than following the non-committal path taken by Tony Abbott,” Senator Siewert said today.

“It is a shame that more people from the Opposition are not prepared to take a strong lead against Big Tobacco and publicly back measures which are aimed at saving lives and cutting the cost of tobacco related illness to our health system.

“The Coalition should also end the practice of accepting political donations from Big Tobacco, which are absolutely inappropriate given the industry’s ongoing intent to undermine important health initiatives.

“Big Tobacco are using their financial strength to try and manipulate outcomes in their favour. They spent a fortune during the election, they’re advertising, they’re worried about impact of plain packaging and they’re clogging up the Health Department with onerous FOI requests.

“Major health organisations across the country agree that anti-smoking measures such as plain packaging are essential for reducing the toll of tobacco, which remains our highest preventable cause of death and disease.

“We are keen to see the plain package initiative progressed,” said Senator Siewert.

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