Updated June 15, 2011 11:05:14
As every smoker knows, one of the affliction things about the tobacco addiction is the aroma – it clings to you no amount what you do. That’s the botheration the Liberal Affair now has. They’ve been in the abridged of the tobacco antechamber for so continued that they can’t agitate off the stink, no amount how adamantine they try.
The Liberal Party’s last-minute turnaround on apparent packaging of cigarettes, afterwards abundant huffing and puffing, won’t advice them escape from the claws of the tobacco companies who ample their affair coffers. The catechism for Mr Abbott is: back will he bang the addiction of demography money from the tobacco companies?
The Labor Affair appear in 2004 that it would not on assumption booty money from Big Tobacco. Back again the tobacco companies acquire lavished added than $1.5 actor on the Coalition parties. This does not accommodate donations to alone electorate campaigns who are beneath the disclosable absolute of 10,000.
According to the AEC data, back 1998 the Liberal Affair has accustomed $1,618,353 from British American Tobacco (BAT) and $1,440,595 from Phillip Morris. During aftermost year’s acclamation the Liberal Affair accustomed $145,035 from British American Tobacco and $147,035 from Phillip Morris.
Source: Assembled from Donor Returns appear in the website of the Australian Electoral Agency (Prepared: 31 May 2011)
As Health Minister Nicola Roxon declared in assembly aftermost week, BAT makes political donations to political parties in alone three countries in the world, and Australia accounts for about all that spending – 97% of BAT’s donations go to the Liberal Affair and the National Party.
During aftermost year’s election, the tobacco companies adjourned a $5.5 actor anti-Labor ad assault with the advice of Liberal strategists, headed by Jason Aldsworth of the Civic Accumulation – a above Liberal aldermanic applicant – and including above Howard government adviser Mark Domitrak (now arch of accumulated diplomacy at BAT) and above Howard adviser Chris Argent (now accumulated diplomacy administrator at Phillip Morris).
Phillip Morris International and BAT spent $2.2 actor each, and Imperial Tobacco Australia spent $1.1 million.
This adjourned attack was accommodating beneath the adulterated organisation, The Alliance of Australian retailers, who are controlled by tobacco companies beneath the guise of apery retailers. It was brought into actuality alone as a average for tobacco companies to access accessible opinion, and was payed $200,000 a ages retainer. In emails to and from the parties involved, advantaged “Your Commission”, Jason Aldsworth of the Civic Accumulation was asked whether he would like the agency to be transferred “to your bank, or authority it for drinks in Barbados?” Mr. Aldsworth responded “…Maybe the coffer for this one – we’ll use the aing one for the drinks tab in Barbados” and provided the annual capacity for the Civic Group.
Nothing illustrates the assiduous fetor of tobacco that haunts the Liberal Affair than the changing questions about the Affiliate for Indi, Sophie Mirabella, and the abstruse donation that BAT fabricated to her in 2007 via a accumulation alleged “Friends of Indi.”
The Friends of Indi bootless to abode a acknowledgment for two banking years (2005-07), befitting its receipts and donations a secret. It wasn’t until BAT lodged its acknowledgment anatomy that the Friends of Indi awning was blown. Two receipts were accustomed by the AEC for 2005-06 from British Tobacco Australia Ltd to the amount of $7,500 anniversary that was donated to the Friends of Indi.
Ms Mirabella – a affiliate of Mr Abbott’s adumbration admiral – was a absolute almsman of donations fabricated to the Friends of Indi, including the $15,000 donation from BAT. She banned to acknowledgment questions at the time on this abstruse donation. This wasn’t the aboriginal time BAT donated to Ms Mirabella. In 2004-05, Friends of Indi accustomed $5,000 from BAT. Alone aftermost year, Friends of Indi accustomed $35,000 dollars although the AEC addendum no alone receipts were declared by this associated entity.
Mr Abbott is more abandoned on this issue. Even the accompaniment Liberal parties are advancing about to banning donations from the tobacco industry. In 2008 ysis appear in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Accessible Health shows that about 61.6% of smokers and 78.4% of non-smokers were adjoin political parties accepting donations from the tobacco industry. WA Liberal Premier Colin Barnett has declared his action to tobacco donations.
It’s time that Mr Abbott and the Liberal affair gave up their river of gold from the tobacco companies. About 20% of Australians are currently absorbed to cigarettes. Of the absolute amount of biologic corruption in 2004-05 of $55 billion, tobacco accounted for $31.5 billion. The amount of tobacco addiction is a “great big tax” on all Australians, one which Mr Abbott doesn’t assume to affliction about.
But it seems that Mr Abbott won’t be departing aggregation with big tobacco any time soon. Aftermost April he was asked anon whether he would stop demography donations from the tobacco industry. He said: “It is acknowledged to smoke, it is not the mafia. I don’t see why if they appetite to accomplish a donation we shouldn’t accept.”
So continued as he takes this line, the fetor of the tobacco antechamber will adhere to the Liberal Party.
Michael Danby is the Federal Labor affiliate for Melbourne Ports.
Topics: abbott-tony, elections, alp, liberals, nationals, government-and-politics, activism-and-lobbying
Aboriginal acquaint June 14, 2011 12:35:51
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