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Outdoor smoking: the minor parties fight for us
Friday 14 September 2007
Family First and the South Australian Democrats have joined in Parliament of South Australia to get our feet-dragging State government to catch up to Queensland and other places when it comes to banning smoking in outdoor eating places.
Support their campaign.
Here are the Bill and their speeches:
Speech by Dennis Hood
Speech by Sandra Kanck
Wednesday 12th September 2007
The Hon. SANDRA KANCK: The Democrats have a long tradition of being innovators in tobacco law reform. I have cooperated with governments and also pushed them further, sometimes, than they want to go to bring about public health measures relating to tobacco control. If we had listened to the doomsayers in respect of South Australia’s smoke-free dining laws, we would have believed that the hospitality industry would grind to a screaming halt. We were told that people would abandon eating out because they would not be able to light up in restaurants. There was going to be economic ruin for the hotel industry, and thousands of jobs were going to be lost. Well, it did not happen. The industry panic merchants who foresaw no end of trouble from smoke-free dining have been proven wrong. People love it. Even the smokers support smoke-free dining. And the sky has not fallen in.
With the café culture and a large number of pavement restaurants across the state, it is now a natural progression to expand the protection of non-smokers and hospitality workers to the outdoor eating areas. I am very disappointed that the government has not taken up this initiative of its own accord.
It has managed to drag its feet on every other aspect of tobacco regulation in recent times and, at the same time, beat its chest about its reform. So, in this case, it has failed to take on the obvious. Other jurisdictions have seen the necessity for tougher measures, but not South Australia. Instead of leading the country, as we could have – and even the world, as we did a decade ago – the Rann government has limped slowly along. It is as if we as a state are stricken with some strange tobacco‑borne illness that has clogged our thinking about how to legislate for decent public health policy.
Families are the foundation of society, and the ability of families to participate together in activities in a suitable family friendly environment is important. My own clean air zones amendment to the Tobacco Products Regulation Act was not supported in this chamber, yet many of the arguments being put forward to support clean air in outdoor eating areas are the same ones that I used. I would like to strengthen this bill through amendment by again including my proposals for clean air at the Christmas Pageant, the Royal Adelaide Show, children’s playgrounds and events where children make up a significant part of the audience and at bus stops. I would certainly welcome discussions with the Hon. Mr Hood or others who would like to further such positive public health measures. However, if it turns out that we need to work issue by issue, place by place, bill by bill, to make South Australia a fairer, safer and healthier place, so be it.
I do not believe that we can have tighter tobacco control without more generous tobacco cessation programs. The two things need to go hand in hand. It is time that we took away the excuse for not stopping smoking, which I have often heard – for instance, the gum or the patches are too expensive. We need to recognise the addictive nature of tobacco and treat it as an addiction. Like teaching children their times tables, I will keep reminding MPs in this place of The Lancet article last year, which showed that alcohol was the fifth most dangerous drug, tobacco the ninth and others, such as cannabis, LSD and ecstasy, trailing behind. So, it is good that we are getting our priorities right and targeting tobacco.
The Hon. Caroline Schaefer: What is number one?
The Hon. SANDRA KANCK: Heroin. It is wonderful how well received the current smoking bans have been, and it is time to take them further. In so doing, we are protecting families and giving workers a safer workplace – and also in outdoor areas; you try waiting on tables where there are two, three or four smokers all puffing away and see whether your workplace is not contaminated with airborne toxins. I commend this initiative, which recognises that families need protection from tobacco smoke in outdoor eating areas. I indicate Democrat support for this important bill.