Stopping political donations by tobacco companies to “buy” the loyalty of our elected representatives.
Public health groups, including ACOSH, ASH, the Heart Foundation, and the Public Health Association of Australia, have urged the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters to close loopholes in political funding laws. The result we’re hoping for is to prevent the tobacco industry from channeling donations through third parties.
The Australian Labor Party and the Greens, along with some state Liberal parties, refuse to accept donations from tobacco companies. Tobacco spends (and spends big) to woo the loyalty of our elected representatives. Figures released in early February 2012 by the Australian Electoral Commission show that the Coalition government received $184,000 from British American Tobacco and $79,000 from Philip Morris over the past two years. In addition, big tobacco spent another $14 million fighting the Federal Government’s plain packaging legislation.
Australia’s Lobbying Code of Conduct
In January 2012, ACOSH provided input into reforms to the operation of the Lobbying Code of Conduct and the Lobbyist Register. We recommended a ban on all lobbying by tobacco companies. This is an appropriate remedy to the tactics utilised by the tobacco industry, which defies any accountability or transparency, contrary to Australia’s obligations under the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.