By Clyde Mooney

The Federal Government has repeatedly refused to release a key document pertaining to its proposed laws concerning the sale of tobacco in plain packaging, according to a major tobacco company.

Supposedly available under the Freedom of Information process, British American Tobacco Australia (BATA) claims the document would demonstrate that the proposed plain packaging laws are flawed and may cost taxpayers billions of dollars in compensation.

A 1995 Senate report concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that generic packaging would reduce rates of smoking or be effective in achieving the health policy objective it is designed to fulfill.

The issue comes down to whether or not the plain packaging would be in the public’s best interest.

The tobacco industry believes Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, is yet to reveal any real proof or legal advice that plain packaging will reduce smoking rates.

On top of questions of effectiveness, the Senate report forewarns that the proposal would be a breach of Australia’s international obligations in terms of trademarks and free trade.

“We would have to buy the tobacco companies’ trademarks, and that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars,” said spokesperson for 1995 Minister for Health, Dr Lawrence.

BATA claim that documents already obtained bolster their attack on the proposed laws.

The company has stated that if the laws are passed it will sue the federal government for billions of dollars in compensation for expropriating its trademarks.

“If the Government is confident of its plans for plain packaging then we can’t understand why they won’t make this crucial document available,” said BATA spokesman, Scott McIntyre.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *