Tobacco Products Regulation (Clean Air Zones) Amendment Bill

20 Sep 2006 archivespeech

This speech is to advise the council that Liberal members will be opposing the Tobacco Products Regulation (Clean Air Zones) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I advise the council that Liberal members will be opposing this bill. I declare my vested interest as a non-smoker who finds breathing in other people’s smoke incredibly annoying and offensive. Notwithstanding that, we will not be supporting this bill because the measures are pedantically prescriptive. The proposed bans include the Credit Union Christmas Pageant for the duration of the pageant and two hours before it starts, the Royal Adelaide Show, smoking within three metres of bus stops and smoking in an open public space (in the rather ambiguously used language) ‘at which children are likely to be present’.

I am advised that local government is already empowered to make by-laws to ban smoking in certain places and has the power to fix a penalty for the breach of a such by-law under the provisions of the Local Government Act. In many cases, local government has the ability to implement these measures in all the locations listed in the bill. The difficulties with such a proposal also relate to monitoring and enforcement. The opposition has received a copy of a letter to the Hon. Sandra Kanck from the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society. The letter states its case that it believes it has been singled out unfairly and indicates it has a smoking code in place which it believes addresses it as best it can. The letter states:

The Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society has a policy of no smoking in its exhibition facilities and buildings, grandstands, in its eating facilities, food preparation areas, society vehicles, within 10 metres of building entrances or as part of public performances.

A copy of that policy is attached. The letter continues: In paragraph three of your letter [the Hon. Sandra Kanck’s letter to the Royal Agricultural & Horticultural Society] you note that your bill is designed ‘to ensure that children are protected from exposure to tobacco smoke, especially at events where children are a target audience’. The Royal Adelaide Show is not an event which is targeted at children, rather it is targeted at all audiences. . . As you can see, the audience under the age of 18 years represents just 9 per cent of total attendances. The Royal Adelaide Show appeals to a very broad audience and is in no way targeted specifically at children. The Society is concerned that the bill would disadvantage the Royal Adelaide Show by singling it out as an event for which the bill would relate. This specific targeting of the Royal Adelaide Show would, we believe, risk placing the Society and the Show at a significant risk of financial hardship as a result of its implementation. To subject the Royal Adelaide Show to special legislation not applying to other events would be unfair and unwarranted.

It begs the question: why have all the fairs and events such as the Glendi Festival not been included? I would take it that their point is that they have been singled out and that it places unreasonable standards on them that are not being applied to similar functions. The letter continues: While the consumption of tobacco is a legal product in Australia, we believe it is not appropriate to legislate at which events individuals may consume that legal product. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that the consumption of tobacco products in the open air at public events is a hazard to the health and wellbeing of the public who share that space. . . As you can see from the above, the Society has in place a very stringent set of rules and guidelines about how its no smoking policy will be implemented. There is no evidence of any concerns expressed by the public attending the Royal Adelaide Show about potential exposure to tobacco smoke. While your proposed bill is, no doubt, well intended, it would very likely cause detriment in the way that it unfairly targets the Royal Adelaide Show, which is a very popular public event.

As we know, the Royal Adelaide Show, unfortunately, this year has had some difficulty with attendances due to both the weather and some highly publicised events with certain show rides. The letter continues: To our knowledge, there is no suggestion that there is a problem in relation to the consumption of tobacco products, and we would respectfully request that you reconsider your draft bill.

The smoking code which is attached outlines its particular policy. I note that it was signed on 1 July 2004 and is subject to review every four years. Clearly, the society has thought through this particular issue. It outlines where and thecir cumstances in which smoking is prohibited. It includes areas such as outdoor eating areas—which is something the parliament has not implemented.

It has regulations about the sales and strategy and support to staff. The Royal Adelaide Show supports staff who demonstrate a genuine desire to stop smoking and may pay 50 per cent of the fees for one of the approved quit smoking courses. I wanted to read that into the record to highlight that I believe one of the targets of the honourable member’s bill has been addressed and is believed to adequately address the situation. Smoking within three metres of bus stops is incredibly pedantic and, while it may irritate those of us who use public transport to have to breathe in someone else’s smoke, it begs the question of how it is to be policed. It seems that many of these measures may have been plucked out of the air rather than addressed sensibly. As a liberal, I point out that we do not believe in filling up the statute books for the sake of it and regulating everybody to death. For that reason, we will not support the bill.