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Tobacco industry fight to undermine health initiatives uncovered

The Australian Greens say a series of Freedom of Information requests made by as-yet unnamed tobacco companies indicates the industry is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to undermine a range of health initiatives.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Health spokesperson, learned through Senate Estimates that tobacco companies had lodged 19 FOI requests to the Department of Health seeking very extensive information and internal documents going back almost twenty years.

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How can International tobacco try to buy an Australian Election?

The Greens are extremely concerned by revelations that international tobacco companies spent $5 million on advertising during the recent federal election.

"International tobacco companies (Phillip Morris, British American Tobacco Australia and Imperial Tobacco) used a front organisation - the Alliance of Australian Retailers - in an attempt to prevent the introduction of plain packaging laws, which are supported by the ALP and Greens," said Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"We believe these matters need to be referred to the ACCC immediately."

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Coalition health plan has gaps, say Greens

Rachel Siewert 5 Aug 2010

The Australian Greens say the Coalition’s health plan may offer short term improvements to hospital waiting lists but not reduce the number of Australians requiring admission.

Health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert says two thirds of the $3 billion promised for new beds will be directed to hospitals, offering some initial reduction in access block but doing nothing to reduce further demand.

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Greens reject claims on tobacco packaging laws

Rachel Siewert 4 Aug 2010

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens Health spokesperson has called on voters to reject an advertising blitz from retailers opposing new plain tobacco packaging laws- a campaign which is being financed by the tobacco industry.

Senator Siewert says the Greens and major health organisations across the country believe the new anti-smoking measures are important to reduce the impact of smoking in Australia.

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Greens: Action to stop cheap cigarette imports

Rachel Siewert 20 Jul 2010

The Australian Greens today said they would move amendments to set a floor price on cigarettes to stop Coles and any other retailers flooding the Australian markets with cheap and harmful products.

"Coles' action in bringing in cheaper cigarettes is irresponsible," said Senator Siewert, Australian Green health spokesperson today.

"The cigarette tax was increased in an effort to reduce the terrible health toll that smoking has in Australia. Importing cheaper cigarettes into Australia undermines the impact of these public health measures"

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Excise Tariff Amendment (Tobacco) Bill 2010 and the Customs Tariff Amendment (Tobacco) Bill 2010

Rachel Siewert 15 Jun 2010

 Senator SIEWERT (Western Australia) (1.18 pm)—Let me start by saying that the Australian Greens welcome this legislation—the Excise Tariff Amendment (Tobacco) Bill 2010 and the Customs Tariff Amendment (Tobacco) Bill 2010. It is a key recommendation of the Preventative Health Taskforce and has been endorsed by bodies such as Cancer Council Australia, the Australian Medical Association, the Australian Nursing Federation, the Heart Foundation and the International Union Against Cancer.

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Greens back tobacco tax hike and plain packaging

Rachel Siewert 29 Apr 2010

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to increase the tax on tobacco products by 25% and introduce plain packaging for cigarettes and tobacco products, describing it as important preventative health measures.

"This is a very positive step for the Government to take," Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"We support both the packaging changes and also the increase to taxes on cigarette and tobacco products."

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Any Tobacco Tax Increase Must be Spent on Health Measures

Rachel Siewert 6 Jul 2009

The Australian Greens said today more needed to be done to tackle smoking particularly for young people, lower income groups and Aboriginal people.

"The Greens would be likely to support a significant increase in the price of cigarettes if funds raised by the increase were spent on prevention measures" said Senator Rachel Siewert, the Greens health spokesperson.

"We know price is the single most effective measure to address smoking, followed by well-run, well-funded, sustained public education programs.

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