Tobacco Products Regulation (Smoking In Cars) Amendment Bill

20 Feb 2007 archivespeech

This speech indicates that the Liberal Party reluctantly support the Tobacco Products Regulation (Smoking In Cars) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I will be brief in my contribution to this bill. The opposition somewhat reluctantly supports this particular measure. Reluctantly, I say, because, in many ways, it is a rather tokenistic measure. Certainly from the opinions expressed on talkback radio and in other fora, the issue of policing smoking while children are present will be a difficult thing for the government to do. I look forward to receiving a report or some statistics at some point after this bill has been passed as to the efficacy of having introduced it.

I am grateful for the briefing I received from Drug & Alcohol Services South Australia. It presented me with a powerpoint presentation in which it stated that SA Police were consulted during the drafting of this legislation. However, the wording which I found quite intriguing was ‘they have raised no specific objections to the ban.’

I am also advised that the onus is on the person to prove that the minors in the car are over the age of 16. It will be interesting to gain some reports, as I said, once this has been implemented, because there are some particular instances that will present a quandary for SA Police when they encounter a car load of teenagers and ask them to provide proof of age. Will they be hiding behind trees with their binoculars to try to identify minors in the car and so forth? There is a view among a certain number of people that adults should not smoke when children are present, but is that really a matter in which the state should intervene and legislate, or is it a parenting decision; and to what extent will this government legislate for people to do the right thing by other people?

I also note that the maximum penalty is some $200. In the case of repeat offenders, why is this penalty set so low, because one would consider that, if a parent, or indeed someone else, was continuously smoking while children were present, there should be a higher penalty or some further measure that should be taken? With those brief remarks, I conclude by saying that this is a tokenistic measure. Indeed, there are some in the anti-smoking lobby who say that it is really just a smokescreen because in 2004 the government caved in on the issue of retail displays. It had provisions for complete bans and pulled those after lobbying from certain people. Yes, it has provided a few handy headlines for a while and generated some discussion, but it really does not get to the nub of the matter.