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					The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987 –
the untold story




First edition:
researched and written by Margaret Winstanley
for the Victorian Smoking and Health Program (Quit)
December 1990
Advisory panel:
Dr Nigel Gray, Ms Dorothy Reading, Dr David Hill, Mr Stephen Woodward,
Ms Trish Cotter, Mr John Cain, Mr David White, Mr Peter Worland
Second edition:
edited by Dorothy Reading, October 2007
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




2
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Table of contents
Introduction …………………………………………………………………… 5

 1. The starting point ……………………………………………………… 6

 2. Structure of the State Parliament of Victoria …………………… 6

 3. Outline of the bill ……………………………………………………… 7

 4. Tactical overview ………………………………………………………… 8
        Economic factors …………………………………………………… 8

        Consultation ………………………………………………………… 8

        Confidentiality………………………………………………………… 9

        Red herrings and diversionary tactics …………………………… 9

        Responding to the tobacco industry ……………………………… 9

 5. Massing the troops …………………………………………………… 10

 6. Parliamentary lobbying and the public battle ………………… 11

 7. Lobbying the press – ‘Victoria’s Dying Habit’ ………………… 14

 8. The letter writing campaign ……………………………………… 15

 9. Measuring public opinion ………………………………………… 15

10. ‘The Big Kill’ …………………………………………………………… 17

11. Winning over sport and the arts ………………………………… 18

12. The advertising industry …………………………………………… 19

13. Organised publicity events ………………………………………… 19

14. Resistance – the tobacco industry allies ………………………… 22

15. The legislative process ……………………………………………… 24




                                                               3
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




4
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Introduction
The first edition of this report,                                                          perfect”. I rang him in Tokyo and he
researched and written by Margaret                  By Nigel Gray AO,                      accepted	 a	 job	 which	 didn’t,	 at	 that	
Winstanley in 1989/90, documented                MBBS, Hon LLB (Monash),                   time,	 exist	 and	 he	 didn’t	 need	 but	
the political campaign which led to the           Hon LLB (Melb.), FRACP,                  enjoyed greatly. Virtually no­one refused
foundation of the Victorian Health                    FRACMA, 2007                         a request to help but the strategy was
Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) by                                                        guided by a small dedicated group and I
Act of the Victorian Parliament.                                                           did what I was told as often as I initiated
                                            creating a health lobby and took an            events. It is impossible to thank all the
It was not published although it has
                                            overtly political position, often for the      parties involved, from the role­model
been used by interested people as an
                                            first time.                                    athletes to the parliamentary back­
important record ever since. In the 20th
                                                                                           benchers, and the numerous forceful
year after the formation of VicHealth,      Passed by a unanimous Parliament, it
                                                                                           individuals who added their weight.
we have taken the time to contact a         set a global precedent for an independ­
number of the individuals involved to       ent Health Promotion Foundation with           In retrospect, the health lobby had gath­
flesh out the original document.            secure hypothecated funding, and               ered together a truly remarkable number
                                            despite a change in funding arrange­           of people from all walks of life. It may
Regrettably, Ron Casey, John Clem­
                                            ments, remains an independent body             have been the single most consequen­
enger and Bruce Redpath are no longer
                                            with strong political support to this day.     tial	 ‘lobby’	 in	 Australia’s	 history,	 made	
with us. They played significant roles
                                                                                           up as it was by so many non­political
which will probably never be fully          VicHealth has fostered a myriad of             citizens,	 encouraged	 to	 express	 their	
documented.                                 health promotion initiatives that would        view of a public health issue, which had
We were able to contact the following,      otherwise have struggled for funds. It         been dominated for decades by the
whose position in 1987 is indicated in      also successfully bought sport, and            vested interest of the tobacco lobby.
brackets:                                   some arts bodies, back from the tobacco
                                            industry, eradicating one of the indus­        All they needed was information and
•	 The	Hon	David	White	MP	                  try’s	 key	 approaches	 to	 smoking	 initia­   encouragement plus the knowledge
   (Minister for Health)                    tion and establishing long­lasting suc­        that the opportunity to act was now.
•	 Peter	Worland	                           cessful partnerships, which continue.          The resultant outpouring of activity and
   (advisor	to	David	White)                                                                opinion simply swamped the tobacco
                                            As a central figure, I acted very much on      lobby, which had no support in commu­
•	 The	Hon	John	Cain	MP	                    the advice of other major players, often       nity sentiment.
   (Premier of Victoria)                    as	an	intermediary,	a	role	well	explained	
                                                                                           The time was right in 1987 for such an
•	 Andrew	Herington	(advisor	to	the	        by	example.		Minister	for	Health,	David	
                                            White said “We need the interest of a          initiative. For over 20 years the Council
   Premier)
                                            newspaper”,	 so	 I	 saw	 The	 Age’s	           and its allies had been pushing the
•	 The	Hon	Mark	Birrell	MP	                                                                bandwagon of tobacco control. The first
                                            Creighton Burns. White said “We need
   (Opposition spokesperson                                                                struggle	with	the	Victorian	Government	
                                            a date on the Parliamentary agenda ­
   for Health)                                                                             over health warnings in 1970 had been
                                            ring Bob Fordham”. I did and we got
•	 The	Hon	Tom	Reynolds	MP	                 November	 17.	 He	 once	 said	 “Criticise	     followed by the battle in Federal
   (Opposition spokesperson for Sport)      me in the papers on the weekend. It will       Parliament for broadcast media restric­
                                            help me take a strong line in Cabinet”.        tions (1975), and smoking rates had
•	 Steve	Harris	(Day	Editor	of	The	Age)
                                            With some astonishment, I did this.            started to decline by the late 1970s.
•	 Graeme	O’Neill	                          Opposition Health spokesman, Mark              Tobacco was newsworthy, attributable
   (Science Reporter for The Age).          Birrell, suggested we needed pressure          deaths were climbing and the public
We have used their recollections to pro­    on opposition leader Jeff Kennett from         was beginning to see the death toll for
duce	a	second	edition	of	Margie’s	excel­    within the Liberal party. I rang Bruce         itself as doctors increasingly spread the
lent report and have published it to cel­   Redpath, who organized about 20                message to patients.
ebrate the 20th anniversary.                phone calls from key Liberals. Birrell
                                            said “The Christians in Shadow Cabinet     Finally the credibility of the health
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987 was          are having trouble with the freedom of     groups had triumphed over what had
indeed unique and pioneering. Although      speech argument. Can you ring the          been a respected industry but was now
led by the Anti­Cancer Council of           Archbishops?” I rang both and they         perceived as something between a
Victoria (ACCV), an unprecedented col­      acted.                                     maverick and a pariah, whose takeover
lection of supporters was gathered. In                                                 of sport was at last seen as a form of
retrospect, it remains astonishing that     White and Birrell both said “We need a advertising of an undesirable product,
so many non­political individuals and       Chair for the Foundation who is above which parents wished their children to
groups played such an active part in        the	 battle.	 Sir	 Gus	 Nossal	 would	 be	 avoid.
                                                                                                                                       5
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




1. The starting point
In a meeting in February 1987, The Hon         considerable     time                 This meeting signalled the beginning of
                                                                         investigating
David	 White	 MP,	 the	 then	 Minister	 for	   possible approaches to reducing       nine months of intensive planning,
Health, concluded a discussion on mam­         tobacco use throughout 1986. The      political lobbying, mobilising the health
mography	 with	 Dr	 Nigel	 Gray	 with	 the	    approach that was to become the       community, running a broadly­based
comment that he was interested in              Victorian Health Promotion Foundation community campaign, and out­ma­
addressing the tobacco problem in              (VicHealth) was developed by Mr       noeuvring the tobacco industry. The
Victoria.	 David	 White	 was	 the	 eighth	     Worland during this time.             result was a creative, imaginative piece
Minister	for	Health	with	whom	Dr	Gray	    1987 was a propitious time to pursue of legislation called the Victorian
                                          legislation.	 The	 State	 Government	 had	 Tobacco Act 1987.
had	 liaised	 since	 becoming	 Director	 of	
the ACCV, and this was the first time he  been voted in for its second successive This report documents the various
had received a clear signal that a        term in office in 1986. Hence 1987 was threads	 of	 the	 complex	 strategy,	 and	
Victorian	 Government	 was	 prepared	 to	 a	non-election	year,	and	the	Government	 describes how they were worked into a
undertake significant action.             was generally electorally popular.         single, cohesive campaign. It is hoped
David	 White’s	 father	 had	 died	 of	 a	 The	fact	that	the	Opposition’s	Shadow	 that apart from providing an historical
smoking­related disease and the Health spokesperson, the Hon Mark view on a significant piece of public
Minister’s	passion	for	reform	was	long- Birrell MP, was also known to support health legislation in Victoria, that health
standing. He had taken note of the introduction of sensible measures lobbyists elsewhere in Australia and
Dr	 Gray’s	 regular	 submissions	 to	 to reduce tobacco consumption, com­ overseas can glean some useful infor­
Parliament over previous years and had, bined to provide a rare window of oppor­ mation which may help them succeed
with his advisor, Peter Worland, spent tunity for genuine legislative reform.        with future campaigns.




2. Structure of the State Parliament of Victoria
The Parliament of Victoria has two
houses, a Legislative Assembly (Lower
House) and a Legislative Council (Upper
House). Eighty­eight members are
elected to the Assembly, and 44 are
elected to the Council from specified
geographical regions. Broadly, the
regions for the Council overlap those of
the Assembly. The government of the
day is determined by whichever party
holds the majority of seats in the House
of Assembly.
In 1987, the Australian Labor Party held
government, but the conservative Liberal­
National	Party	Coalition	held	the	majority	
in the Legislative Council by one vote.
Therefore passage of legislation required
the assent of both major parties.




6
3. Outline of the bill
The basis for the Act began as an ACCV
submission	 to	 the	 State	 Government,	
eventually metamorphosing into a com­
prehensive piece of legislation. Following
on	 from	 Dr	 Gray’s	 propitious	 February	
meeting with the Minister for Health, in
March the ACCV made a submission
outlining its usual series of pre­budget
requests: a state tobacco licence fee
(state	 tax)	 increase,	 in	 this	 case	 of	 50	
cents per packet, and a ban on all forms
of tobacco advertising and promotion
easily controlled at the state level.
This included cinema and billboard
advertising, competitions, giveaways,
and state­based tobacco sponsorships.
The submission also proposed a replace­
ment of tobacco­sponsored sport with
money	 raised	 from	 the	 increased	 tax,	
and a ban on the sale of smokeless
                                           •	 The	Bill	targeted	small	packets	of	cigarettes	which	were	clearly	marketed	to	children.
tobacco.

The	 proposal	 that	 the	 extra	 revenue	  The proposals in the planned legislation        Advertising restrictions
gained	 from	 the	 tax	 increase	 could	 be	
                                           were thoroughly researched by the
hypothecated (or earmarked) into a new                                                     A ban on cinema advertising, billboards
                                           ACCV,	and	expert	advice	was	obtained	
organisation called VicHealth, a stand­                                                    and	 external	 displays	 of	 advertising	
                                           from each of the government depart­
alone independent body with secure                                                         materials on shop fronts, and on unso­
                                           ments that would be affected by them.
funding, came from Peter Worland.                                                          licited leaflets advertising cigarettes.
                                           These included the Treasury, the
Early in the development of the Bill it    Department	 of	 Management	 and	                Interior point­of­sale advertising and
was decided that sporting bodies (and      Budget,	 the	 Department	 of	 Health	           print advertising (newspapers and mag­
some arts bodies), including those that    (HDV),	 the	 Department	 of	 Industry,	         azines)	were	excluded.
had previously refused tobacco spon­       Technology and Resources, the
sorship, should be compensated for the     Department	 of	 Agriculture,	 and	 the	         Sponsorship restrictions
loss    of     funds      from     tobacco Department	 of	 Youth,	 Sport	 and	
sponsorship.                                                                               Initially the Bill proposed a complete
                                           Recreation. Voluntary advice was given          ban on tobacco company sponsorships,
The	Bill	excluded	a	ban	on	print	media,	 by constitutional lawyer, Professor               with	 the	 exception	 of	 special	 events	
not because it was impossible but Cheryl Saunders.                                         exempted	 by	 the	 Governor-in-Council.	
because	it	was	extremely	complicated,	                                                     However, under Opposition pressure a
and could have provided a sticking point, Key points of the Bill                           ban was not introduced, and organisa­
which could have compromised the                                                           tions were permitted to retain or adopt
                                           The major objective of the Bill was to
Bill’s	 chances	 of	 success.	 The	 major	                                                 tobacco sponsorship if they wished.
                                           actively discourage smoking by encour­
problem with introducing a state ban on
                                           aging non­smokers, particularly young           Sponsorships would be restricted to
printed advertisements is that it would
                                           people, not to start smoking: by limiting       naming rights, and handbills and other
have caused difficulties with newspa­
                                           exposure	of	children	and	young	people	          promotions and signage restricted to
pers and magazines printed in other
                                           to enticement to smoke; by encourag­            display of the brand name or trademark
states: all major Australian magazines,
                                           ing and assisting smokers to give up            of the tobacco product.
in	particular,	are	published	in	New	South	
                                           smoking; and by the promotion of health
Wales.
                                           and illness prevention.
To attempt a state­specific ban would
                                           These ends were sought through the
have opened a new line of opposition
                                           following measures:
centred upon the constitutional implica­
tions of the legislation, inasmuch as it
could be seen to impinge on the free­
dom of interstate trade.


                                                                                                                                       7
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Other promotional restrictions               (i.e. sale to someone who supplies to a         Morris (one of the cigarette manufactur­
                                             minor),	was	banned.	A	caveat	excludes	          ing companies operating in Australia).
Promotions such as competitions and
                                             vendors from prosecution if they had
free samples of tobacco products were                                                    The small packets were priced at a little
                                             ‘reasonable	 cause’	 to	 believe	 that	 they	
banned.                                                                                  over a dollar each, around a dollar less in
                                             had sold or supplied tobacco products       cost than other larger packets of ciga­
Establishment of VicHealth                   to a person aged over 16.                   rettes. A South Australian survey had
VicHealth was established, funded by a The fine for selling tobacco to under 16 shown that the smaller packets were
levy of 5% on wholesale tobacco sales. year-olds	increased	to	$1,000	for	a	first	 especially popular among young peo­
This increased the state tobacco licence offence	 and	 $2,000	 for	 a	 second	 ple. Small packets were subsequently
fee from 25% to 30%. The money offence, and provision was made for a banned	in	South	Australia	in	November	
raised	 (approximately	 $23	 million	 in	 its	 $100	on-the-spot	fine.                    1986.
first year) would be paid directly into the                                              Smokeless tobacco
foundation, directed and administered Health warnings
independently	of	Government	by	a	small	 Existing	 provisions	 providing	 for	 four	 The manufacture and sale of tobacco
staff and a board of eminent people rotating health warnings on all tobacco products other than for smoking, such
from cultural, sporting, health and com­ packets were moved into the ambit of as chewing or sucking, was prohibited.
munications fields.                            this Bill.                                Nasal	snuff	was	initially	exempted	from	
                                                                                         the	ban	under	a	special	‘sunset’	clause,	
These funds would be used for health Vending machines                                    which	expired	in	mid-1990.	
promotion, sponsorship of sporting and
cultural events, and provision of grants Cigarette vending machines were lim­ Products available under medical pre­
for research into health promotion ited to premises where entry to under scription (in particular products contain­
measures and public health research. 16 year­olds is restricted (e.g. staff ing nicotine for use in treating tobacco
Amendments introduced in the Upper amenity areas for use of adults, and dependency)	have	been	exempted	from	
House guaranteed 30% of the funds to premises covered by the Lotteries, this prohibition.
sporting bodies.                               Gaming	 and	 Betting	 Act	 1966	 or	 the	 Although the market for smokeless
                                               Liquor Control Act 1987).                 tobacco products in Victoria was very
Sales to minors
                                                                                         small,	the	Government	was	concerned	
                                               Small packets of cigarettes
Existing	 legislation	 was	 simplified	 and	                                             that it may become a problem in the
moved from the Summary Offences Sales of cigarettes in packets containing future. Smokeless tobacco had also
Act into the new Bill. The sale of tobacco less than 20 sticks were banned. In been banned in South Australia, in
products to under 16 year­olds, and the 1985 and early 1986, packets of 15s November	 1986,	 and	 has	 since	 been	
supply of tobacco to under 16 year­olds were introduced to the market by Philip banned federally.




4. Tactical overview
Economic factors                             but	tobacco	tax	was	on	the	agenda	for	 Consultation worked in both directions:
                                             future attention.                       the public servants were able to high­
At the time that the ACCV made its sub­                                              light the various aspects of the propos­
mission,	the	Victorian	Government	was	                                               als which would cause problems, and
contemplating	a	$100	million	budgetary	      Consultation
                                                                                     provide insights to the Health Lobby on
deficit,	 due	 to	 unexpected	 reductions	   The ACCV and its allied key strategists how potential sticking points might
from other revenue sources, particularly     (described further in Section 5, and be overcome. The Health Lobby was
oil royalties.                               hereafter referred to as the ‘Health able to act on their advice and
It was therefore strategically a good        Lobby’)	 consulted	 closely	 with	 all	 satisfy their information requirements
time	to	suggest	tax	increases,	and	the	      relevant	 Government	 departments	 as needed.
increases	proposed	in	the	ACCV’s	sub­        from the time that the submission
mission were calculated to earn the          was first planned, until after the Bill Consultation with key politicians and
Government	precisely	$100	million.	The	      was eventually passed.                  the media (described in more detail
Government	 did	 not	 increase	 tobacco	 This ensured workable proposals were                below) ensured that the way was
taxation	 in	 the	 1987-1988	 Budget	 devised and last minute problems were                  smoothed for acceptance of the
because of prior budgetary promises, minimised.                                              Government	proposals.


8
Confidentiality                                tobacco­related events, which kept
                                               the tobacco industry occupied on
Up until October 1987, when the                many fronts.
Government	publicly	announced	its	sup­
                                             The Quit campaign had its most busy
port for the Bill, the legislative proposals
                                             and successful year to date, and
were kept secret as far as possible. In its
                                             announced its major sponsorship of the
earliest days only key people, even          Fitzroy Football Club. (Section 11 gives
within the Health Lobby, were aware of       more detail of this important step.) ASH
the proposals.                               Australia, Action on Smoking and Health
The shroud of secrecy surrounding the (ASH), continued its usual attack on the
Bill meant that until it was publicly industry at every opportunity. The
announced, the tobacco industry was ACCV appeared to be pursuing its
                                             annual	 ‘cracked	 record’	 of	 pleas	 to	
kept	 in	 complete	 ignorance.	 Naturally	
                                             increase	tobacco	tax	and	prohibit	state- •	 Fitzroy’s	Paul	Roos	with	QUIT	
this was greatly resented by the indus­
                                             controlled advertising ­ and this 	 sponsorship	1987.
try, which was forced onto its back foot
                                             appeared to have failed. Passive smok­
for the duration of the campaign. ing was a continuing major issue.
However,	David	White,	saw	no	impera­                                                     smokeless tobacco products banned,
tive to consult with the industry.           The	 Australian	 National	 Health	 and	 had failed. The ACCV and other health
                                             Medical Research Council published its groups had worked towards having the
His view was that “The first principle
                                             major review of the evidence on the products restricted under Victorian reg­
they had to recognise was a health risk
                                             health	 effects	 of	 passive	 exposure	 to	
associated with the consumption of smoke. International anti­smoking cam­ ulations, but their efforts had foundered
tobacco. As long as they are prepared to paigners, Professor John Banzhaf from on technical grounds. This may have
                                                                                         given the industry the impression that
say there is not a health issue, there was ASH	 in	 Washington,	 and	 Dr	 Bobbie	
                                                                                         they had the upper hand, and were not
no basis for discussion.”                    Jacobson,	 a	 British	 expert	 on	 women	 under	 further	 Government	 threat	 of	
As much as this confidentiality disad­ and smoking, both visited Melbourne regulation.
vantaged opposition to the Bill, it aided and received wide press coverage. Once the legislation was in the public
                                             Professor	 Stanton	 Glantz	 also	 visited	
the	Bill’s	supporters.	It	meant	that	detail	
                                             and took the idea of hypothecation back domain, the ACCV, Quit, ASH and oth­
of how the legislation would work in
                                             to California, where it was later ers created substantial diversions which
practice was thrashed out before it                                                      underpinned	the	Health	Lobby’s	battle,	
                                             enacted.
became an issue for wider debate ­ thus                                                  and served to keep the industry on the
the best possible draft legislation was Pressure for a ban on tobacco advertis­ defensive. These carefully timed and
prepared.                                    ing intensified in the first half of the planned strategies allowed the Health
                                             year, with a lobby co­ordinated by ASH Lobby to control the public debate, and
It also gave the Health Lobby valuable
                                             and its membership, in collaboration included campaigns such as ‘The Big
time in which to assemble its support
                                             with	 Dick	 Smith:	 a	 popular	 Australian	 Kill’,	 and	 the	 anti-smoking	 advertise­
base and plan for the onslaught of pub­ adventurer, anti­drug campaigner, and ment	 ‘Coroner’	 made	 by	 Quit	 (see	
lic lobbying which would ensue, and publisher	 of	 the	 naturalists’	 journal	 Sections 10 and 13).
limited the time available for the tobacco Australian	Geographic.	
industry to muster its considerable                                                      These tactics removed the spotlight
forces.                                      The then­named Industries Assistance from the intense behind­the­scenes
                                             Commission,	 a	 Federal	 Government	 political activity, and created publicity
Of course this confidentiality was never advisory body, had recommended dur­ which the tobacco industry was forced
guaranteed, especially as the consulta­ ing July 1987 that the Federal either to address or ignore, risking loss
tive	 period	 extended.	 It	 was	 always	 Government	 scale	 down	 its	 level	 of	 of public face.
possible that there could be a weak link assistance to the tobacco industry. The
among the politicians involved, or within new rotating health warnings were due Responding to the
the bureaucracy. This did not appear to for implementation, and the industry tobacco industry
be a problem at any stage.                   was also battling the threat of a federal­
                                                                                         It was decided that no member of the
                                             ly­imposed smoking ban on domestic
Red herrings and                                                                         Health Lobby would debate the tobacco
                                             aircraft.
                                                                                         industry directly in the media (although
diversionary tactics
                                             Another matter which may have con­ David	White,	and	Dr	Gray,	did).	Instead,	
The confidentiality surrounding the tributed	to	the	tobacco	industry’s	appar­ the health advocates stuck firmly to
development of the legislation was ent	‘blind	spot’	on	the	Victorian	legisla­ their own agenda, generating replies to
crucial, as described above. It was tive front, was that the Health Lobby arguments from various supporters
assisted by a busy foreground of other attempts made earlier in 1987 to have when this was seen as necessary.


                                                                                                                                 9
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




5. Massing the troops
The Anti-Cancer Council
of Victoria
The ACCV spearheaded the overall
campaign. Established by statute in
1936, the ACCV derives its funding
from around 140,000 regular donors
and income from bequests. From
the early 1960s onwards, the ACCV
has been at the forefront of campaign­
ing for measures to reduce tobacco
consumption in the community.
The ACCV enjoys wide public recogni­
tion and approval. Its involvement in
medical research and cancer support
services also makes it well­connected
with the scientific and medical commu­        Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC),        in the central business district of
nities, as well as the state health           headed	by	Dr	David	Hill,	and	the	Cancer	      Melbourne, close to major newspapers
department,	HDV.                              Epidemiology	 Centre,	 headed	 by	 Dr	        and other media outlets. The offices
                                              Graham	Giles.                                 were a 10 minute walk from the ACCV.
The campaigning for the Bill was
directed	from	the	office	of	the	Director,	    The Victorian Smoking and                     Broadening the network
Dr	 Nigel	 Gray.	 Dr	 Gray	 developed	 an	
                                              Health Program (Quit)                         Each of the organisations listed above
action	 plan	 in	 conjunction	 with	 David	
White, which was reviewed and devel­          Quit is the most widely­recognised            were able to access a base of known
oped further in regular strategy meet­        face	 of	 Victoria’s	 anti-smoking	 cam­      supporters. These included a large
ings	with	Dr	David	Hill,	Dorothy	Reading	     paign, sponsoring the major public            number of professional medical col­
and ASH, throughout the year.                 education campaigns in the media,             leges, hospitals, bodies of scientific and
                                              schools and the wider community.              medical researchers, and a wide range
During	 the	 period	 February	 to	 August	                                                  of community and sporting groups and
the	focus	was	on	the	Labor	Government,	       Established in 1985 as a result of a          individuals.
then when the intent to bring forward         Ministerial Review under Minister for
                                              Health, Tom Roper, during 1987, Quit   Each key individual or organisation was
a bill was announced, the focus
                                              was jointly funded by the ACCV, the    assigned a role in accordance with their
shifted to the opposition Liberal and
                                                                                     area	 of	 expertise	 and	 capabilities.	 The	
                                              National	 Heart	 Foundation	 of	 Australia	
Country parties.
                                                                                     network ranged from the most eminent
                                              (NHF	-	Victorian	Division)	and	the	HDV.	
The	 role	 of	 the	 Finance	 and	 Executive	                                         and conservative, to the most radical
Committees of the ACCV was conse­ Quit was housed within ACCV premises, and grassroots coalitions. Among the
quential. They approved the Fitzroy and at the time of the campaign, was latter was the Movement Opposing the
Football Club sponsorship, the general led	by	Dorothy	Reading,	with	a	full-time	 Promotion of Unhealthy Products (MOP
strategy and the basics of the television staff of five.                             UP), which took a very active role in
advertisements ­ unusual activities for a Action on Smoking and                      letter­writing.
cancer charity, but politically crucial in
                                             Health Limited (ASH Australia) The Victorian branch of the Australian
achieving legislative change.
                                                                                     Medical	 Association	 (AMA),	 the	 NHF,	
                                             ASH was established in 1984 by the
Conservative in nature, they neverthe­                                               and	the	Royal	Children’s	Hospital	were	
                                             NHF	and	the	Australian	Cancer	Society,	
less had a history of supporting activist                                            among the key supporters. The Scientific
                                             to act as a specialist lobbying and
anti­smoking activity going back to the                                              Committee of the ACCV played a key
                                             resource organisation in the area of
series of controversial and satirical tele­                                          role in the letter­writing campaign and
                                             smoking and health. When the cam­
vision advertisements made with                                                      many visited politicians and lobbied
                                             paign commenced, ASH had a full­time
Warren Mitchell, Miriam Karlin and Fred                                              directly.
                                             staff of four, under the direction of
Parslow in 1970, which had been inte­
                                             Stephen Woodward.                       The Health Lobby also received support
gral in achieving health warnings and an
                                                                                     from a number of local government
advertising broadcast ban.                   At the height of the campaign, staff
                                                                                     authorities (see Section 10) and from
                                             numbers increased to around 10.
Within the ACCV, he was supported by                                                 individuals within the advertising indus­
the research efforts of the Centre for During	the	campaign	ASH	was	located	 try (see Section 12).


10
6. Parliamentary lobbying and the public battle
The lobbying effort concentrated on the   and lobbying himself. The Health Lobby          then Treasurer, had to be persuaded
Victorian Parliament was, of course,      worked in close liaison with the                firstly, that the state tobacco licence fee
central to the passage of the Bill.       Minister’s	 office,	 providing	 advice	 and	    needed to be increased, and secondly,
                                          information as needed, and responding           that he should permit the money gained
The	 Health	 Lobby’s	 strategy	 can	 be	
                                          to	the	Minister’s	instructions.                 from any increase to be hypothecated
roughly divided into three overlapping
                                                                                          into the proposed fund.
phases. The first was the campaign to Convincing the
convince	 the	 Government	 Cabinet	 Government leadership                                 The first proposal was not a sticking
that they should act. This phase, for                                                     point, but agreement with the second
the most part, took place behind The Hon John Cain MP, the then                           could not be guaranteed. In general, the
closed doors although pressure was Victorian Premier, although an enthusi­                notion of hypothecation does not appeal
also strategically being applied in the astic supporter of action to control              to Treasury officials since it removes
public arena.                             tobacco,	 was	 a	 cautious	 politician.	 Dr	    the	Government’s	ability	to	control	that	
                                          Gray	 had	 established	 this	 in	 an	 early,	   portion of income. However Mr Jolly
The second phase focussed on gaining
                                          informal approach made at a football            agreed to support the proposal, chiefly
support from the Parliamentary
                                          match	 (the	 Premier’s	 wife,	 Mrs	 Nancy	      because of its likely benefits to the
Opposition, which coincided with the
                                          Cain,	 being	 the	 official	 Number	 One	       health of Victorians, and was responsi­
final phase: the public debate.
                                          Ticket­Holder of the Quit­sponsored             ble for the decision to allocate the large
Lobbying Parliament, in all stages, Fitzroy Football Club).                               amount of money finally achieved.
depended on a number of tightly co­or­
dinated activities: arranging for letters                                                 The Minister for Transport
and telephone calls to be received, over­                                                 The Hon Tom Roper MP, the then
seeing the provision of information to                                                    Minister for Transport and previous
Ministers and their advisors, and organ­                                                  Minister for Health, was also consulted.
ising delegations. This private lobbying                                                  Experienced	 in	 dealing	 with	 tobacco	
was complemented by a constant back­                                                      issues while holding the health portfo­
drop of carefully planned publicity,                                                      lio, and a long­standing supporter of
designed to increase political resolve.   The Premier was uncommitted about               efforts to reduce tobacco consumption,
                                          the proposed legislation until he could         Mr Roper had been involved in the intro­
Phase one – the Government                be convinced that it was acceptable to          duction of the first Victorian Quit cam­
                                          the	Government’s	support	base.	A	stick­         paign in 1984. He had overseen the
The Minister for Health                   ing point was the size of the proposed          regulatory changes introducing rotating
The	first	phase	commenced	with	David	 tax	increase.	Because	of	its	likely	impact	         health warnings on tobacco packages,
White’s	indication	that	he	would	like	to	 on those in lower socioeconomic cir­            and had been responsible for removing
act	on	tobacco,	and	the	Health	Lobby’s	 cumstances, the Premier would not ini­            tobacco advertising from state govern­
ensuing efforts to devise a plan for tially	 agree	 to	 sanction	 it,	 and	 the	 tax	     ment­owned property and public trans­
reform	 which	 would	 gain	 Government	 increase was eventually significantly             port in 1985. The idea of replacing
support. As previously mentioned, the reduced.	 The	 Premier’s	 overall	 doubts	          tobacco sponsorship of sport via a buy­
ACCV had lodged a submission request­ were allayed by an opinion poll commis­             out originated with Mr Roper. He was
ing an increase in the state tobacco sioned by the ACCV (see Section 9).                  eventually to introduce the Bill in the
licence fee amounting to a 50 cent             The Hon Robert Fordham MP, the then        Lower House.
increase per packet of cigarettes, a ban       Deputy	Premier,	was	an	early	supporter	
on all forms of tobacco promotion, and         of the proposals. He was an important      Government Committees
dedication	of	at	least	a	portion	of	the	tax	   figure in overall strategy as one of his
                                                                            The support of senior parliamentary
increase to replace tobacco­sponsored          duties was to control the agenda of
                                                                            committees (the Estimates Committee
sport and art.                                                              – overseeing finance, and the Health
                                               Parliament. For tactical reasons already
                                                                            Policy Committee) was essential.
                                               outlined, the timing of the Bill in the
The early commitment of the Minister
                                                                            Concerns about the possible impact of
                                               Parliamentary Session was crucial.
for Health greatly enhanced and accel­
                                                                            the	 proposed	 tax	 changes	 on	 lower	
erated the efforts of the Health Lobby. The Treasurer                       socioeconomic sections of the commu­
The Minister advised on appropriate                                         nity were raised. The evidence of huge
tactics, identified key people who The	taxation	and	hypothecation	aspects	 public support for the proposed meas­
needed to be consulted and lobbied, of the Bill required the support of ures was important in convincing the
and	engaged	in	exhaustive	consultation	 Treasury. The Hon Rob Jolly MP, the Health Policy Committee.


                                                                                                                                  11
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Publicity                                     In	summary,	once	the	Government	was	            The legislation required the support of a
                                              convinced that the legislation was work­        majority of the 20 Shadow Cabinet
Publicity was not neglected during this able and electorally popular, it was pre­             members (from both parties). If gained,
period of intense private consultation.       pared to act. The groundswell of public         Opposition support in Parliament would
The	 ACCV’s	 proposals	 were	 widely	 support generated by the Health Lobby,                  then be unanimous as, apart from under
discussed during the July series of arti­ and the series of articles which appeared           exceptional	     circumstances,	     the	
cles	 in	 The	 Age,	 Melbourne’s	 quality	 in The Age, secured their commitment.              Opposition votes en bloc outside its
morning newspaper, (see Section 7 The	decision	to	do	an	exhaustive	cover	                     meeting rooms. Had this support not
for discussion), but to the eye of the of both sides of the tobacco issue fol­                been forthcoming, the Bill would have
tobacco industry, it probably appeared lowed	 an	 early	 discussion	 between	 Dr	             been defeated in the Upper House,
that these were no more than the usual Gray	and	Mr	Creighton	Burns,	The	Age	                  where the Opposition held the balance
annual	arguments	for	taxation	increases	 Editor, who, while insisting on covering             of power by one vote.
and advertising bans.                         both	 sides,	 agreed	 that	 Dr	 Gray	 could	
                                                                                              In that case, success for the Bill would
                                              influence the date of publication.
It was a new twist that a replacement                                                         have depended upon a Member of
of tobacco­sponsored sport with the The series of articles was launched on                    Parliament from the Opposition agree­
increased	taxes	was	being	suggested,	 the day Cabinet discussed the Bill, ran                 ing to cross the floor ­ that is, to vote
but the package of proposals received heavily for a week and, according to Mr                 against the will of his/her own party and
such an apparently off­handed public Burns, generated more correspondence                     support	the	Government’s	legislation.
response from the Minister for Health, than	 any	 issue	 in	 the	 paper’s	 history.	
                                                                                              The Opposition was most likely to
that there appeared to be no serious The	extensive	space	given	to	the	indus­
                                                                                              oppose the legislation on the grounds
grounds for the tobacco industry to be try point of view was regarded as helpful
                                              by the Health Lobby on the grounds that         of civil liberties and perceived threats to
concerned.
                                              it	exposed	a	relatively	‘ugly’	position.        personal freedoms, in particular the
Once it was clear by late July that the                                                       rights of the tobacco and advertising
ACCV’s	submission	had	actually	missed	 Phase one was completed by October                     industries to promote a legal product.
the	deadline	for	Government	considera­ 7,	 when	 the	 Government	 publicly	
                                                                                              Here, it was useful to remind Liberal
tion	 for	 that	 year’s	 budget,	 the	 issue	 announced its legislative proposals. In
                                                                                              members of the precedents in preven­
was dismissed by the tobacco industry the meantime, the second phase was
                                                                                              tive health measures, which had been
and forgotten by the media. But the already underway.
                                                                                              introduced in Victoria in years past,
media coverage had suited the Health
                                              Phase two –                                     mostly under the aegis of a Liberal
Lobby’s	purposes	perfectly.	
                                              the Parliamentary Opposition                    Government.	
During	the	time	Cabinet	was	meeting	to	
                                              Once the proposed legislation had the           These included compulsory screening
discuss the proposals, they were
                                              commitment of Cabinet, the Health               for tuberculosis (which virtually eradi­
exposed	 to	 an	 unprecedented	 barrage	
                                              Lobby concentrated its efforts upon the         cated the disease), the introduction of
of supportive press coverage on the
                                              Parliamentary      Opposition.         The      compulsory seat belts, compulsory
issue, and coincidentally, an episode of
                                              Opposition consisted of a coalition of          wearing of crash helmets by motor
the	popular	British	comedy	series	‘Yes	
                                              two conservative parties, the electoral­        cyclists, and the provision of random
Prime	 Minister’	 examining	 the	 issues	
                                              ly­stronger Liberal Party, and the              breath­testing for blood­alcohol levels
surrounding tobacco legislation, was
                                              National	Party.	Despite	their	political	alli­   on the roads. It was important that the
screened on ABC Television (see
                                              ance, the two parties have separate             Opposition be convinced that no funda­
Section 13 below).
                                              structures and some separate policies,          mental freedoms were at stake, which
On August 4, Cabinet agreed to support        and tend not to run on a joint platform         were not justified by a much larger ben­
the proposed legislation.                     during elections.                               efit to the community.




12
The Shadow Spokesperson                      Dr	Gray	that	he	had	taken	“a	course	of	 A	major	concern	for	the	Nationals	was	
for Health                                   action”, which remained unspecified.       their belief that the legislation was not
The Hon Mark Birrell MP, was identified There is little doubt that the Church Lobby supported by public opinion. These
by	David	White	and	the	Health	Lobby	as	 had a major influence on the outcome of objections were negated by the results
an early and important target, and an Shadow Cabinet voting. Certainly, all of of opinion poll undertaken by the ACCV,
ally.	Mr	Birrell’s	views	on	tobacco	were	 the known Roman Catholics in Shadow which showed the legislative proposals
well­known. As State President of the Cabinet voted for the Bill.                       had broad­based community support,
Young	 Liberals	 in	 1980,	 he	 had	 spon­ The	 Government	 announcement	 about	 and	 that	 Liberal	 and	 National	 voters	
sored a successful resolution calling for the proposed Bill on October 7 was met were as likely as Labor voters to approve
bans on cigarette advertising. On Mr by a measured response in a press of the legislation.
White’s	advice,	Mr	Birrell	was	contacted	 release from Mark Birrell, stating that
by	Dr	Gray	and	given	a	preliminary,	lim­ the Liberal Party would “treat the Cain Phase three – the public battle
ited briefing about the legislative pro­ Government’s	 proposals	 on	 their	
posals during May.                           merits”.                                   Phase three began on October 7,
                                                                                        when	the	 Government	made	public	its	
Dr	Gray	provided	a	vital	function	by	act­ The Leader of the Opposition                  intention to pursue the piece of legisla­
ing as an intermediary between White
                                             The Hon Jeff Kennett MP, the then tion now generally known as the
and Birrell. Although both were strongly
                                             Leader of the Opposition, was thought Tobacco Bill.
in favour of introducing measures to
                                             not to be a supporter of tobacco control The Parliamentary agenda allowed four
control tobacco in Victoria, the
                                             measures. Public opinion and the weeks for passage through the two
Parliamentarians were from opposite
                                             growth of support among the Shadow Houses. The Bill would rapidly be
sides of the political spectrum, and
                                             Cabinet forced his hand, and he was approved	in	the	Government-dominated	
negotiations had to be handled with tact
                                             eventually to speak in support of the Bill Lower House. The Upper House was to
and discretion. Without this delicate bal­
                                             in Parliament.                             be the forum for major debate and
ance, and the political generosity of the
two men, the passage of the Bill would       Mr Kennett received around 20 tele­ amendment.
not have been possible.                      phone calls from senior businessmen For the Health Lobby it was the great­
                                             who were either donors to the Liberal
Mark	Birrell	was	extremely	helpful	to	the	 Party,	 or	 extremely	 important	 to	 the	 est battle. The tobacco industry was
Health Lobby, providing important advice Liberal Party in other ways. Unknown to apprised of the legislation and applying
on how support for the legislation might Mr Kennett, all of these contacts were the	full	extent	of	its	pressure	 on	politi­
                                                                                        cians and in the media. Parliamentary
be gained among the Opposition, and initiated by Mr Bruce Redpath AM,
                                                                                        lobbying now meant reinforcing the
working hard within his Party to secure FCIT, FAIM, a prominent Melbourne
                                                                                        resolve	of	the	Government	and	putting	
this where possible. He was supported businessman, a committed Christian
                                                                                        out bushfires as they arose.
within	the	opposition	by	the	Hon	Graeme	 and long­standing supporter of the
Weideman MP, the Hon Tom Reynolds ACCV and its tobacco control activities. Press interest was also running at a high
MP,	 and	 the	 Hon	 Geoff	 Connard	 MP.	                                                level and needed constant monitoring
                                             On October 27, Shadow Cabinet voted
Probably	 the	 most	 striking	 example	 of	                                             and attention. Where central themes
                                             to support the thrust of the Bill,
Mr	 Birrell’s	 assistance	 came	 with	 his	                                             recurred, these were dealt with by spe­
                                             meaning that the legislation, at least
identification	of	the	‘Church	Lobby’.	                                                  cial	bulletins	from	Dr	Gray’s	office,	dis­
                                             in theory, would receive broad support
                                                                                        tributed to all politicians and the media.
Perceiving the influence of the church on in Parliament.
                                                                                        Philip Morris called its employees
the Shadow Cabinet, Mr Birrell provided
                                             The National Party                         together and requested them to tele­
Dr	Gray	with	a	list	of	committed	Christians	
                                                                                        phone           their        Parliamentary
and	 their	 denominations.	 Dr	 Gray	 duly	 It came as no surprise to the Health
                                                                                        representatives.
approached the appropriate church lead­ Lobby	 that	 the	 National	 Party,	 tradi­
ers, requested that they support the Bill, tional supporters of the Tobacco Lobby, The result was a complete blocking of
and make their views known to mem­ were not in favour of the proposals. the Parliamentary switchboard. Many
bers of their church within the Shadow Their media response on October 7 by politicians were seriously antagonized
Cabinet.	 The	 late	 David	 Penman,	 the	 the then leader, the Hon Peter Ross­ to discover that the many calls they
then Anglican Archbishop, wrote to the Edwards MP, criticised the proposals were requested to reply to, were
Anglicans, and Sir Frank Little, the on the grounds that they would give the directed                to     the    Philip   Morris
Roman Catholic Archbishop, informed Government	undue	power	over	sports. switchboard.


                                                                                                                              13
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




7. Lobbying the press – ‘Victoria’s dying habit’
The nature of press coverage was very
important to the progress of the Bill.
One of the components of the failure of
attempted legislation in Western
Australian in 1982 and 1983 was the
open hostility of the press: it was clear
that the Victorian campaign stood a
much greater chance of success if the
press were, at worst, neutral.
At the suggestion of the Minister for
Health,	 Dr	 Gray	 wrote	 to	 Creighton	
Burns at The Age in early May. After two
meetings and the presentation of thor­
ough briefing notes, the Editor agreed to
publish something on the issues in late
July, during the week in which Cabinet
would meet to discuss the proposed
Bill. He assigned responsibility for the
task	to	Day	Editor,	Steve	Harris.

The Age began its series of articles on
smoking on July 27, the same day that
Cabinet met to discuss the initial pro­
posal. Harris assigned two young jour­
nalists,	Fiona	Harari	and	Graeme	O’Neill,	
to the series – featured under the run­          Organisation (WHO) medals recognis­     freelance journalist who was well­con­
ning	 title	 ‘Victoria’s	 Dying	 Habit’,	 and	   ing contributions benefiting public     nected with the major Melbourne
accompanied by a repeated graphic                health, for their work on the series.   media, especially the newspapers.
showing a cigarette emerging from a
gun barrel.                               News	Corporation,	publisher	of	The	Sun	        Ms	 Geddes	 assisted	 the	 campaign	 by	
                                          (a morning tabloid newspaper) and The          writing press releases for Quit and other
The	journalists	were	extensively	briefed	 Herald (the only Melbourne afternoon           supporting organisations, drafting lob­
by the ACCV, ASH and Quit. The lead daily newspaper) were also approached.               bying letters, contacting and recruiting
story	outlined	the	ACCV’s	series	of	pro­ Dr	 Gray	 discovered	 informally	 that	 the	    potential supporters, and arranging
posals, and released findings from the proprietor	 of	 News	 Corporation,	 Mr	           radio and press interviews.
Council’s	 opinion	 poll	 (described	 in	 Rupert Murdoch, would not object to
Section 9).                                                                              She	also	drafted	‘opinion	pieces’	for	Dr	
                                          The Herald making a local decision, not
                                                                                         Gray	 and	 Professor	 Sir	 Gustav	 Nossal	
The commitment by The Age was far to oppose a ban on cigarette advertis­                 (an eminent scientist and the proposed
beyond what could have been antici­ ing.	A	visit	to	Mr	John	Darcy,	the	Editor	           Chairman of VicHealth). Following her
pated. Several articles appeared each of The Herald, was to result in initially          efforts with The Herald, an editorial
day for a week, concluding with a non­committal, and later, supportive,                  appeared which supported the legisla­
strongly supportive editorial on the coverage from The Herald.                           tion on October 7.
Friday. Letters to the Editor featured A traditional foe of tobacco advertising
daily, frequently half a page of them, restrictions, support from The Herald             With	the	Government’s	support	for	the	
and continued for another week. These was something of a coup for the Health             proposals becoming public, media cov­
letters overwhelmingly showed support Lobby, and was certainly noted by the              erage intensified.
for further action against the toll of politicians.                                      The Bill gained its own momentum in
tobacco on the community.
                                          The ACCV gained professional assist­           the news, editorial and letters columns.
Journalists,	 Fiona	 Harari	 and	 Graeme	 ance with media liaison by employing           Overall, media coverage supported the
O’Neill,	 later	 received	 World	 Health	 Margaret	 Geddes,	 an	 experienced	            Government	initiatives.




14
8. The letter-writing campaign
Although the letter­writing lobby did not      administrative and medical staff),             Another major resource was the donor
swing into action until The Age publicity      churches, sporting groups, trade unions,       list	of	the	ACCV.	They	had	approximately	
about the proposals during July, plan­         consumer	 groups,	 women’s	 organisa­          140,000 donors, in an estimated one­in­
ning and compiling of suitable mailing         tions, science and environmental               four	households.	Donors	each	received	
networks had been underway for three           groups, fire protection agencies, teacher      a	 letter	 signed	 by	 Dr	 Gray,	 explaining	
months. Each of the organisations listed       and educational institutions, and many         the legislation and asking them to make
in Section 5, activated their various mail­    others. The groups and individuals were        their support known to their politicians.
ing lists, asking for letters of support to    asked to write a letter in support of the
be written to key or all politicians in sup­                                                  Well	in	excess	of	150,000	letters	were	
                                               legislative initiatives to all members of
port of the Bill.                                                                             sent within a month. Letters to key
                                               Parliament.
                                                                                              individuals were followed up by a tele­
In	 addition	 to	 using	 existing	 networks,	
                                              Only a small range of briefing materials        phone call.
new mailing lists of potential supporters
                                              was provided, with the suggestion that
were researched.                                                                              The letter­writing campaign was a major
                                              they	rely	on	their	particular	expertise	in	
                                                                                              success. In cases where an organisa­
A wider list of potential supporters was any correspondence. Consequently,
                                                                                              tion was keen to participate in the cam­
compiled from membership lists of each of the letters had its own individual
                                                                                              paign, but lacked the resources, ASH,
friendly organisations, professional flavour, reflecting the particular con­
                                                                                              Quit or the ACCV assisted with drafting
directories, and telephone books. The cerns of the corresponding organisation
information was entered into a compu­ or individual.                                          and printing of letters. All letters were
ter database to facilitate mass mail­                                                         personalised, printed on original letter­
outs. The net was cast as widely as A second level of contact was initiated,                  head, and individually signed by the
possible, to demonstrate the broad base in which people and organisations were                organisation.
of community support for the contacted on an electoral basis and                              Mark Birrell estimated that he received
legislation.                                  asked to write to, telephone and/or visit
                                              their Member of Parliament. Individuals         more than 10,000 letters on the issue
This also detracted from the usual and groups such as schools, churches,                      (from both sides) over the course of
tobacco industry criticism that the legis­ doctors, physiotherapists, dentists,               the campaign, and other parliamentari­
lation was the unreasonable obsession pharmacists, hospitals and community                    ans received hundreds. Many reported
of	a	‘vocal	minority’.                        organisations were identified on an             that they had never received so many
                                                                                              communications on any single issue
Several hundred peak organisations electorate­specific basis.
                                                                                              before.
were contacted. These were drawn Since the support of both the
from medical and health groups, school Government	and	the	Opposition	parties	                 They were particularly important in influ­
councils, community health centres, were necessary for the Bill to succeed,                   encing	the	members	of	the	Government	
community groups, church groups, local information and requests for action                    Health Committee and, apart from form­
government authorities, university were sent to organisations and individu­                   ing opinion, strengthened the position
departments,         hospitals     (including als in all electorates.                         of supporters of the legislation.


9. Measuring public opinion
                                               Clearly, a demonstration of community          The Roy Morgan Research Centre

      VICTORIA’S                               support for the Bill was needed to con­
                                               vince political parties to act, and it was
                                               especially crucial to show the Premier
                                                                                              undertook the survey in June 1987. A
                                                                                              representative sample of 1,136 adults
                                                                                              aged over 16 years were interviewed at

     DYING HABIT                               and his office that the proposals were
                                               electorally popular. The CBRC commis­
                                               sioned a prominent independent polling
                                                                                              home. The wording and order of the
                                                                                              questions were carefully designed to
                                                                                              eliminate bias, the sampling method
                                               organisation to survey public attitudes to     was rigorous and provided a good rep­
                                               the current anti­smoking campaign,             resentation of the population, and the
                                               increases	in	tobacco	taxation,	restrictions	   number of people interviewed was large
                                               in tobacco advertising and promotion,          enough to allow a high level of confi­
                                               and the response to the idea of putting        dence that the estimates reported were
       •	 Title	of	Age	series								
                                               tobacco	tax	revenue	into	a	fund	to	pay	for	    accurate to within 4%.
                                               sporting, health and medical activities.
       	 which	began	
       	 on	July	27                            Opinions were also measured by voter           The poll pointed to strong community
                                               intention, making the results particularly     support for the new initiatives. In sum­
                                               salient to the political parties.              mary, the results showed that:


                                                                                                                                       15
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




•	 71% of Victorians knew that the
   Government	was	conducting	an	anti-                                  Figure 1: Summary of public opinion poll on tobacco
   smoking campaign.                                                              1,136 Victorians were asked …
•	 Including the minority who did not                                           Is there a Government campaign to reduce smoking?
   know	about	Government	involvement	                                                                              17% No
   in the campaign, 79% of Victorians
   believed the smoking reduction                                                              71% Yes
   campaign, currently in progress,
   should be the same or tougher.                                                         Should the campaign be tougher?

•	 47%	approved	of	an	increased	                                                                                  4% Reduced
   tobacco	tax	of	50	cents	per	packet.	
                                                                                    46% Tougher       33% Same
   Disapproval	tended	to	be	higher	
   among men, the less­educated, and                                                        79% Total               12% Stopped
   blue­collar workers. Smokers were
   more likely to disapprove than                                                 Would you approve of an increased tobacco tax?
   non-smokers	of	the	tax,	but	just	
   over 20% of smokers approved of a                                           47% Yes               48% No

   50	cent	tax	increase.
•	 The	most	common	reason	for	
                                                                                       84% Total
   disapproving	of	an	increase	in	tax	
   was that it would make smoking too
   expensive	(38%).
                                                                                                   37% Yes
•	 When	asked	if	they	would	                                                                                           Approve conditionally*
   approve of a 50 cent per packet                                                                            16% No
   tax	increase	if	the	revenue	raised	
                                                                               Would you approve of a ban on cigarette advertising?
   were put into programmes such as
   health education, medical research                                                        63% Yes             30% Yes
   and funding sport and the arts,
   total	approval	for	the	tax	increase	
   soared to 84%.                                                           Would you approve of a ban on tobacco sport sponsorship?

•	 Asked	how	they	would	prefer	this	                                            37% Yes             56% No
   extra	revenue	to	be	expended,	
   priority was given to educating
   children about smoking (56%),                                                   57% Total
   followed by medical research
   (45%), general health promotion
   (29%), helping adults to quit (23%),                                                     20% Yes     35% No
   sponsorship of sport (13%), and                                                                                   Approve conditionally*
   sponsorship of arts, theatre and                 * Approve on condition that money goes to special programs
   music (11%). 16% would have                      * Approve on condition that sponsorship is replaced with money from taxes
                                                    Note: Where percentages don’t add up to 100, the rest said “I don’t know”.
   preferred the money be used to
   reduce	other	state	taxes,	and	16%	
   maintained their disapproval of           the common public view that they                           arguments that the legislation was out
   tobacco	tax	increases.                    are separate issues.)                                      of step with public opinion.
•	 63%	approved	of	a	ban	on	all	forms	       Those in favour of a ban tended to                         The findings were shown to the Minister
   of tobacco advertising. Approval          be better educated, upper white­                           for	Health,	the	Premier’s	senior	advisor	
   tended to be higher among women,          collar workers and non­smokers.
                                                                                                        – Mr Bob Hogg, and the Treasurer,
   white­collar workers and non­smok­     •	 57%	would	approve	of	a	ban	                                Mr Rob Jolly, on July 20 and were
   ers, although 49% of smokers              on sponsorship of sport by                                 distributed to the rest of Cabinet at a
   approved of a ban.                        tobacco companies if sponsorship                           later date. The results of the survey
•	 The	most	common	reason	given	             funding were replaced by money                             were publicly reported by The Age on
   for not approving of a ban was            raised	from	tobacco	taxes.	                                July 27.
   the belief that issues such as            35% continued to disapprove of
   freedom, rights and democracy             bans on sponsorship under these                            A full report of the findings of the public
   would suffer (54%).                       circumstances (the remaining                               opinion	poll	has	been	published	-	Hill,	D	
•	 37%	would	unconditionally approve         8%	couldn’t	say).                                          1988. Public opinion on tobacco
   of a ban on sponsorship of sport by    There was no major difference in opin­                        advertising, sports sponsorships and
   tobacco companies. (Separate           ion between supporters of the two                             taxation	 prior	 to	 the	 Victorian	 Tobacco	
   questions were asked about adver­      major political parties. The results of the                   Act 1987. Community Health Studies,
   tising and sponsorship because of      poll were therefore able to counter                           XII, 3, 282­288.


16
10. ‘The Big Kill’
In July 1987, a major study was under­          figures for the state as a whole). It was     their electorate. For good measure,
taken to estimate the numbers of deaths         considered that the provision of more         appropriate brochures were also sent to
caused by smoking compared to alco­             information, (e.g. the data for other local   all Victorian­based Federal politicians.
hol, motor vehicle crashes, and other           areas), would reduce the impact of the
drug use, in each of the 212 municipali­                                              The project received considerable
                                                statistics.
ties in the State of Victoria.                                                        response at all levels. It received state­
                                            The pamphlet was titled ‘A study of wide media coverage in over 50 press
ASH co­ordinated the publication and deaths due to smoking in your munici­ articles, frequently as a front page story,
distribution     of    Victorian      data. pality’.	The	front	cover	showed	a	colour	 and was the subject of many radio and
Epidemiological, research and computing photograph of a typical crowd scene
                                                                                      television interviews. There was wide­
expertise	 were	 provided	 by	 the	 Cancer	 from a Victorian Football League game.
                                                                                      spread appreciation of information tai­
Epidemiology Centre within the ACCV.        One­in­five of the faces in the crowd lored to specific localities. The ACCV
The idea for the study originated with the was obliterated by a black cross, repre­ received over 30 separate communica­
Scottish Committee of ASH, with their senting	 the	 approximately	 one-in-five	 tions from local government officials,
publication	of	‘The	Scottish	Epidemic’	in	 Victorians who die from disease caused some of whom were prompted to
1982. The document provided smoking by tobacco each year.                             review or introduce policies on
mortality and hospital morbidity calcu­
                                            The back cover bore a brief message smoking.
lated for each parliamentary constitu­
                                            signed	by	Dr	Gray,	describing	the	mag­
ency, local government region and health                                              Over 50 individual letters of support
                                            nitude of the tobacco problem in Victoria
board area in Scotland.                                                               were received from Members of
                                            and suggesting ways in which commu­
                                                                                      Parliament, most of whom were eligible
The purpose of the Victorian project nities could work to reduce it.
                                                                                      to vote in the forthcoming debate on
was to present statistics on deaths due
                                            Commencing on September 1, copies the proposed legislation.
to smoking on a local scale. It was envis­
                                            of the pamphlet appropriate for their
aged that specific regional information
                                                                                      ‘The	 Big	 Kill’	 ran	 as	 a	 campaign	 for	
would have greater impact on local area	were	sent	to	each	LGA,	local	and	
areas, and would generate wider inter­      regional media, doctors, school coun­ around	 six	 weeks.	 Once	 released,	 it	
est than the larger, nationally­calculated cils, local libraries, hospitals and tended            to     generate     its   own
statistics most frequently used when        pharmacists.                              momentum.
describing tobacco deaths.                  Because electorates often include Surprisingly, tobacco industry response
It would also be difficult for politicians      several	 LGAs,	 it	 was	 necessary	 to	       was negligible ­ it did not even attempt
to dismiss figures which related directly       research	which	LGAs	belonged	to	each	         to contest the calculations upon which
to their constituents, and would aug­           electorate. Members of State Parliament       the statistics were based, an unusual
ment the ACCV campaign by creating              received	 brochures	 for	 all	 LGAs	 within   omission for the industry.
an electorate­specific lobby group for
each Victorian politician, acclimatising
them to the need for legislative
change.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics
annually records deaths by a number of
variables,	 including	 age	 at	 death,	 sex,	
place	of	residence	by	Local	Government	
Area	(LGA),	and	cause	of	death	accord­
ing to the four­digit International
Classification	of	Diseases	code.	

By	 applying	 appropriate	 sex	 and	 dis­
ease­specific attributable fractions, the
number of deaths due to smoking, alco­
hol (including motor vehicle crash fatali­
ties), and illicit drugs, were calculated
for	each	LGA.

These were published in a simple, one
folded-page	brochure	for	each	LGA,	so	
that each locality received its own spe­
cific statistics (with a comparison to the


                                                                                                                                   17
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




11. Winning over sport and the arts
Sport                                       of sporting bodies. VicHealth was to be        Australian Open tennis tournament had
                                            established with the intention of ensur­       already relinquished its Marlboro spon­
The success of the Bill was highly          ing financial stability for those sports       sorship to the car manufacturer Ford,
dependent on its acceptability to sport­    currently accepting tobacco sponsor­           after having been targeted for several
ing bodies. The issue of sports sponsor­    ship, so sporting administrators could         years by demonstrations by MOP UP.
ship had been pivotal in the defeat of an   no longer argue that the banning of            Victoria’s	 second	 major	 football	 code,	
earlier attempt at legislation in Western   sponsorship would mean the end of              the Victorian Football Association,
Australia, and had ultimately been a        their	sport’s	well	being.	The	exemption	       announced in September 1987 that it
trump card played by the tobacco indus­     clause offered for events of national or       would ban tobacco advertising and
try, which had argued that, in the          international importance deflected the         sponsorship at matches and in its publi­
absence of its sponsorship, sport would     argument that the State would suffer           cations. Australian sporting heroes like
be starved of necessary funds. This         loss of major spectator sports, such as        Pat Cash (1987 Wimbledon Champion),
threat carries considerable weight in a     cricket. The Bill was therefore able to        Debbie	 Flintoff-King	 (track	 and	 field	
country well­known for its enthusiasm       gain a good deal of approval from those        events), and a range of Olympians and
about sport. It was very clear to the       who might formerly have been                   other well­known sporting personali­
Health Lobby that sporting bodies were      opponents.                                     ties, were very willing to be publicly
potential antagonists, and that their                                                      linked with Quit events. The Victorian
opposition to the Bill needed to be dif­                                                   Netball	 Association	 was	 strongly	 on-
fused with care.                                                                           side, and participated in the letter­writing
Long­standing ACCV supporter and                                                           campaign (netball is the most popular
mentor, Ron Casey, gave invaluable                                                         women’s	participant	and	spectator	sport	
advice about the attitudes, sources of                                                     in	Australia).	 Demonstrations	 and	state­
income, and key individuals in the sport­                                                  ments of support for the legislation from
ing field. Ron Casey AM MBE was                                                            key sporting personalities formed an
Managing	 Director	 of	 Channel	 7,	 and	                                                  important part of the publicity generated
creator of World of Sport. He was well­                                                    by the Health Lobby (see Section 13).
known and widely trusted and knew                                                          The strongest opposition to the Bill
most of sports sponsorships arrange­                                                       came from the Confederation of
ments. His advice was invaluable and, as                                                   Australian Sports (CAS), a national peak
a founding board member of VicHealth,                                                      sporting	council,	and	a	small	phalanx	of	
he led the buy­out of tobacco sponsor­                                                     sporting groups with strong tobacco
ship of sport with spectacular success.                                                    connections: motor sports, cricket, and
                                            To achieve this, it was necessary to con­
Earlier in the year, Quit had become the    sult with sporting administrators fully        horse racing associations. The CAS
major sponsor of the Fitzroy Football       and at the highest level, ensuring that        issued media statements, and during
Club. This was a major breakthrough for     the message was filtering down the             October actively encouraged its mem­
the campaign, which only the previous       ranks accordingly. This could not have         ber sporting associations to apply politi­
year had been unable to buy advertising     occurred without the co­operation of           cal pressure to see the Bill defeated.
signage around a football ground. First     the	 Department	 of	 Youth,	 Sport	 and	       The Premier, who was by now fully con­
to approach Quit for sponsorship had        Recreation, who were instrumental in           vinced that the time was right for legis­
been the Richmond Football Club.            briefing peak sporting bodies, providing       lation,	exerted	his	own	influence	where	
Negotiations	soon	broke	down	when	it	       mailing lists of organisations which           necessary. He quelled the objections of
became	 clear	 that	 Richmond’s	 home	      needed to be informed of the implica­          the Victorian Amateur Turf Club by sug­
ground,	the	MCG,	had	prior	advertising	     tions	of	the	legislation,	and	giving	expert	   gesting that without their co­operation,
contracts with a tobacco company and        advice on how best to convince sporting        they	might	lose	Government	underwrit­
that Quit signage would not be allowed      organisations that they would benefit          ing	for	a	new	$20	million	grandstand.
at the ground. The story hit the front      under this legislation.
page of The Age and was accompanied        An initial briefing session was held for        The arts
by cartoons by leading local cartoonist,   key sporting groups at the State Film           The arts world did not publicly oppose
Ron Tandberg.                              Centre, a central venue, on October 9.          the legislation ­ probably in part, because
Fitzroy Football Club staff, committee Meetings were arranged with senior                  few bodies in Victoria were beneficiaries
members and players were very sup­ executives	 from	 major	 sporting	 organi­              of the tobacco companies. The Victorian
portive throughout the campaign, and sations, including those most frequently              Arts Council strongly supported the Bill,
helped mobilise their considerable sup­ associated with tobacco funding ­                  and	one	of	its	senior	executives	wrote	to	
porter	 base.	 Coach	 David	 Parkin	 also	 cricket, horse racing, greyhound racing         all 60 of its regional branches on October
accepted a position on the board of and golf.                                              15, urging them to contact their local
VicHealth.                                 There was also no doubt that the tide           politicians about supporting the Bill.
The legislative proposals themselves        had already begun to turn for tobacco          Senior arts administrators were con­
were intended to offset the usual fears     sponsorship of sport in Victoria. The          sulted throughout the campaign.


18
12. The advertising industry
The	 Health	 Lobby	 never	 expected	 the	       As far as the latter are concerned, they        and	 that	 VicHealth	 would	 make	 exten­
support of the advertising industry, hop­       represent a comparatively insignificant         sive use of billboard advertising space
ing at best to keep the industry fairly         proportion of agency billings, probably         for the transmission of new advertising
quiet, especially since it was the stated       in the order of 1.5% or less.”                  messages, did little to stem their
intention of the legislation that there                                                         opposition.
                                                A news article from an advertising trade
should be no loss of jobs or hardship felt
                                                industry journal, B&T, dated October 16,    Dr	 Gray	 wrote	 directly	 to	 the	 Chief	
by its implementation. John Clemenger,          revealed that some of the Victorian agen­   Executive	 of	 Alan	 Davis	 Outdoor	
Director	 of	 one	 of	 Australia’s	 biggest	    cies,	 especially	 Mojo	 MDA,	 and	 Leo	    Advertising,      reiterating that     the
advertising agencies, gave invaluable           Burnett (both of which held tobacco         Foundation would be giving priority to
advice.	 He	 was	 loyal	 to	 his	 industry’s	   accounts), were ‘mobilised behind an        outdoor advertising in its future promo­
welfare but helped to neutralize any            effort	to	avert	the	legislation.’	It	did	not	
                                                                                            tions. His letter also made the point that
campaign against the Bill.                      become	clear	to	the	Health	Lobby	exactly	   if advertising bans were to proceed in
The Advertising Federation of Australia         what they did to further this intention.
                                                                                            the absence of a foundation, the out­
(AFA) wrote to the Minister for Health One advertising agency which refused door advertising industry would be
(and presumably other politicians), tobacco accounts as a matter of policy, greatly disadvantaged as they would
strongly criticising the proposals, stat­ did lend public support to the legislation. see a potential source of revenue go
ing the usual tobacco industry line about The	 Managing	 Director	 of	 Samuelson	 down the drain.
advertising not affecting consumption, Talbot and Partners wrote to politicians
and using freedom of speech and “legal in late October and rebutted the usual These elements aside, the advertising
to sell, legal to advertise” arguments. pro­advertising myths regarding tobacco. industry’s	opposition	was	not	as	strong	
The AFA also wrote to advertising agen­ This was a great fillip for the Health as anticipated. This may have reflected
cies, alerting them to the ramifications Lobby, and was a deciding factor in the the fact that the legislation did not touch
of the legislation.                             Shadow Cabinet discussions.                 print advertising (newspapers and mag­
                                                                                            azines), probably the last bastion of the
An interesting fact that arose from the The outdoor advertising industry, most ‘freedom	of	speech’	argument.	
AFA correspondence was the amount directly affected by the legislation, was
believed, by the advertising industry, to staunch in its opposition and apparently Further, the advertising industry did not
be at stake in tobacco advertising dol­ donated billboard space to the Tobacco have the support of the press, which
lars.	 A	 letter	 from	 the	 Federal	 Director	 Institute	 of	 Australia’s	 publicity	 cam­ overwhelmingly endorsed the legisla­
of the AFA stated “We are not defend­ paign (described in Section 14). tion. Perhaps it also reflected the wider
ing the interests of a vocal minority, nor Reassurances that the industry would recognition that the demise of tobacco
the tobacco manufacturers.                      not suffer job loss or other hardship, advertising was an inevitability.




13. Organised publicity events
The controversial nature of the legisla­     A	 key	 feature	 of	 the	 Health	 Lobby’s	         with its campaign efforts, and its spon­
tive proposals ensured that they would       publicity is that it followed its own              sorship of the Fitzroy Football Club.
receive a large amount of media atten­       agenda (rather than that set by the
                                                                                                Quit’s	 public	 approval	 rating	 was	 at	 an	
tion. It was the concern of the Health       tobacco industry). Additionally, as wide
Lobby that this attention be as favoura­     a variety of voices were raised as                 all­time high of 81%. ASH had also con­
ble and constant as possible.                possible.                                          tinued its public attack on the tobacco
                                                                                                industry in the press at every opportu­
This meant planning special publicity Various groups and individuals which                      nity.	These	‘background’	levels	of	pub­
events in advance, timed to coincide supported the legislation were encour­                     licity underpinned the special flurry sur­
with important political events (such as aged to get involved with publicity, to
                                                                                                rounding the Bill.
the	 Government’s	 public	 announce­ underline the fact that the proposals
ment about the intended legislation), had support from a diverse number of                      As the public debate about the Bill pro­
and	it	also	meant	having	the	flexibility	to	 community groups.                                  gressed, the Health Lobby co­ordinated
recognise	and	exploit	publicity	opportu­ As already mentioned, Quit had main­                   press releases from a wide variety of
nities as they arose.                        tained a high media profile during 1987            supporters.


                                                                                                                                          19
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Sometimes these were used to refute             Staged publicity events                          advertisement (described below).
tobacco industry argument; others intro­
                                                Quit engaged the services of a public            The formalities took place at the Royal
duced new issues of concern surround­
                                                relations firm to advise and assist with         Australasian College of Surgeons build­
ing tobacco which were specific to the
                                                the organisation of larger, more compli­         ing, on September 1, the day that the
       u
partic	 lar	 organisation’s	 area	 of	 exper­
                                                cated events. This investment served             new rotating health warnings were first
tise, but overall lent support for the pro­
                                                the Health Lobby well.                           required to appear on all cigarette
posed legislation (e.g. the Royal
                                                                                                 packages.
Children’s	Hospital	made	a	media	state­         The events were timed to coincide with
ment on the effects of smoking on cot           important points in the progress of the          The	next	event	was	jointly	run	by	Quit	
death).                                         Bill.	 Their	 complexity	 meant	 that	 they	     and the AMA, and took place on October
                                                required significant forward planning,           8,	around	the	timing	of	the	Government’s	
Other organisations wrote letters to the
                                                but	flexibility	also	had	to	be	built	into	the	   tabling of the Bill in Parliament. Several
press which appeared in the editorial
                                                planning because of the uncertainty of           prominent sporting personalities pub­
pages.
                                                the parliamentary timetable.                     licly signed a large petition in support of
‘Yes Prime Minister’                            Six	major	events	were	staged.	
                                                                                                 the legislation in the Bourke Street
                                                                                                 Mall.
The earliest event came about by fortu­   The first took place on July 27, marking
nate	 coincidence.	 The	 ‘Smokescreen’	   the commencement of the annual Quit                    Timed to take place at around lunch­
episode of	 the	 popular	 BBC	 series	 ‘Yes	
                                          Week, and involved a novelty race                      time, the event attracted a large crowd
Prime	 Minister’,	 was	 screened	 by	 ABC	between sporting and media personali­                  of interested onlookers and obtained
Television on July 20. The episode        ties in the City Square (a central public              wide media coverage.
depicts the embattled fictitious British  meeting place). The event also hap­                    On October 15, the official launch of
Prime Minister, Jim Hacker, taking on the pened to coincide with	Cabinet’s	delib­                VicHealth took place. This was organ­
tobacco industry.                         erations over the Bill (and the com­                   ised	 by	 the	 HDV	 in	 collaboration	 with	
                                          mencement	of	The	Age’s	special	series	                 Quit and the ACCV.
Apprised	of	the	screening	in	advance,	Dr	
                                          of articles), and provided a useful
Gray	sent	telegrams	to	all	parliamentari­                                                        Prominent members of the groups to
                                          opportunity for sportspeople to be
ans (and to the media), urging them to                                                           be affected by its establishment (mem­
                                          seen linked publicly with the Quit
view it. In his message he said that this                                                        bers of the sporting, arts and medical
                                          campaign.
program “represents precisely the poli­                                                          communities), along with the media,
tics of tobacco worldwide,	excepting,	of	 The second event was the official                      were invited to meet the Trustees of the
course, Victoria.”                        launch	 of	 Quit’s	 ‘Coroner’	 television	             proposed Foundation.
                                                                                                 The Premier, the Minister for Health,
                                                                                                 and	 the	 Minister	 for	 Youth	 Sport	 and	
                                                                                                 Recreation, were present and each
                                                                                                 introduced various aspects of the
                                                                                                 Foundation.       Opposition       Health
                                                                                                 Spokesperson, Mark Birrell, was also
                                                                                                 present. The function was held as a
                                                                                                 breakfast in one of the large private
                                                                                                 rooms within the Victorian Arts Centre
                                                                                                 ­ a central and prestigious location.
                                                                                                 The event gave guests and the media
                                                                                                 the opportunity to ask questions about
                                                                                                 the Foundation. The acceptance of the
                                                                                                 Chairmanship of the Foundation by Sir
                                                                                                 Gustav	Nossal	was	announced.	He	had	
                                                                                                 been	 contacted	 in	 Japan	 by	 Dr	 Gray	
                                                                                                 and willingly agreed to take on what
                                                                                                 turned out to be a considerable burden.
                                                                                                 The fact that all this took place before
                                                                                                 the Bill was law, occasioned some
•	 Image	from	the	AMA’a	press	advertisement                                                      notice but no objections.


20
•	 Quit’s	coroner	TV	advertisement	enraged	the	tobacco	industry.



The	 next	 major	 event,	 on	 October	 27,	   page, and appearing on July 31, the day        Television advertisement
focussed on children, and was staged as       on	 which	 The	 Age’s	 series	 of	 articles	
                                                                                         By coincidence, the new system of
part	 of	 Universal	 Children’s	 Week.	       concluded, and the same day that The       rotating health warnings appearing on
Sponsored by Quit, the event was held         Age published an editorial positive about  tobacco packages came into force dur­
at lunch­time in the Melbourne City           the legislative proposals.                 ing the campaign. These warnings had
Square, and featured a primary school
                                              The advertisement made three simple been agreed to during the previous year,
children’s	orchestra,	and	a	skipping	dem­
                                              points: that the price of cigarettes had and came into effect on 1 September
onstration	 by	 the	 National	 Heart	
                                              dropped in Victoria since 1949, while 1987. Quit planned to use the opportu­
Foundation’s	primary	school-age	‘Jump	
                                              the lung cancer death rate had increased nity to launch a new television advertise­
Rope	for	Heart’	team.                                                                    ment, which it could afford to run for
                                              by	 almost	 400%;	 that	 a	 tax	 increase	
                                                                                         two weeks.
Popular	children’s	television	host,	Daryl	    would reduce smoking among the
Cotton, was the Master of Ceremonies          young, and could be used to fund com­ Groundwork	 for	 the	 advertisement	
for the event, accompanied by his pup­        munity education campaigns and began in April 1987. John Bevins Pty Ltd
pet side­kick Marty Monster. Invited          replace tobacco sponsorship of sport; was engaged to work on ideas and pro­
guests included the Minister for Health       and finally, that “the real cost of ciga­ duction. The advertisement was set in a
and	Ian	‘Molly’	Meldrum,	a	well-known	        rettes is 17 Victorians killed by smoking coroner’s	 examining	 room,	 featuring	 a	
commentator	on	pop	music.	‘Molly’	took	       every single day”.                         doctor of TV soap opera genre, perform­
the opportunity to publicly quit                                                         ing an autopsy on a corpse. The coroner
                                              Advertisements were also placed by draws a bloodied packet of cigarettes
smoking.
                                              the	 AMA	 and	 the	 Royal	 Children’s	 from	 the	 body’s	 chest,	 announcing	 “I	
The final major event occurred after the      Hospital.	 The	 AMA’s	 advertisement	 think	I’ve	found	the	cause	of	death”.
passage	of	the	Bill,	and	was	a	‘thank	you’	   appeared around October 22.
from	 school	 children	 to	 David	 White,	                                               The advertisement was made in two
                                              Headed	 “Do	 you	 want	 your	 kids	 to	
Mark Birrell and the other politicians for                                               versions, drawing specific attention to
                                              smoke?”, it related statistics about the two of the four new warnings: “Smoking
passing the legislation. A large group of
                                              uptake of smoking in Victoria and urged causes lung cancer” and “Smoking
school children massed on the steps of
                                              members of the public to contact their causes heart disease”. The advertise­
Parliament House, presenting supportive
                                              local members to lodge their support ment was intended to draw attention to
letters and flowers to each politician.
                                              for the Bill.                              the new warnings in a way that would
Press advertisements                          The	 Royal	 Children’s	 Hospital’s	 adver­ challenge smokers, but of course it was
Paid press advertising was kept to a          tisement appeared around October 26. also intended to alert politicians and the
                                                                                         wider community.
minimum and was strictly limited to           It began “If you care for kids, stop
issues on the agenda of the Health            smoking” and outlined the effects of It later became clear that this advertise­
Lobby: the health of Victorians, and                                                     ment had enraged the tobacco industry,
                                              parental smoking on the unborn child
especially that of children.                                                             when	 John	 Dollisson	 said,	 during	 the	
                                              and infant. Again, readers were urged television	debate	with	David	White,	that	
The ACCV ran only one press advertise­        to contact their local politicians about “this was when the gloves came off in
ment, occupying a modest quarter              the Bill.                                  this campaign”.


                                                                                                                               21
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




14. Resistance – the tobacco industry allies
The tobacco industry and                   for its content. The industry was partic­        public	attack	by	Mr	Dick	Smith,	a	widely	
the Tobacco Institute of                   ularly piqued because it had been delib­         respected publisher and ardent anti­
                                           erately	 excluded	 from	 consultation	 to	       drug campaigner.
Australia (TIA)                            date. It could only hope to overcome
                                                                                            Very soon industry­originated misrep­
The first inkling for the tobacco industry this disadvantage by mounting rapid              resentations and distortions of the leg­
that there was movement afoot, rearguard action. Their most prominent                       islation were appearing in the media. In
occurred	 when	 the	 ‘Victoria’s	 Dying	 spokesman	 was	 John	 Dollisson,	 the	             the first days after the announcement
Habit’	series	of	articles	commenced	in	 then	Director	of	Corporate	Services	for	            of the Bill, the Minister for Health issued
The Age on July 27. The leading story Philip Morris, and a former Chief                     a media statement with a lengthy
reported that the State Cabinet was Executive	Officer	of	the	TIA.	                          attachment, systematically debunking
considering	the	ACCV	tax	increase	and	 Mr	 Dollisson	 was	 undoubtedly	 the	                the confusion of new myths that had
sport buy­out plan, along with a ban on industry’s	 most	 aggressive	 and	 effec­           already arisen around the proposed
tobacco advertising.                       tive spokesman, and he assumed the               legislation.
The industry response called upon the        media	limelight	from	Dr	Hunt.
usual arguments about bans being inef­
                                                                                            Tobacco industry allies
                                             Mr	 Dollisson	 soon	 set	 the	 industry	
fective	 and	 unprincipled,	 and	 tax	       agenda,	 representing	 the	 Government	        The range of tobacco industry friends
increases unfair and coercive. The           as undemocratic, and the Bill as ‘un­          and allies contained no surprises. Their
notion	 that	 the	 Government	 might	        Australian’.	 Using	 catchwords	 like	 ‘big	   supporters were drawn from the adver­
replace tobacco sponsorship of sport         brother’	and	‘nanny	state’,	the	industry	      tising industry, known sporting support­
was	‘ridiculous’.                            and	 its	 allies	 accused	 the	 Government	    ers, and of course, the various compo­
                                             of curbing civil liberties and engaging in     nents of the tobacco industry itself.
As The Age series continued, the indus­
try responded in a more spirited way.        social engineering.                            Key organisations which made public
On August 7, the TIA lodged an adver­        Advertising bans on cigarettes were            their opposition to the Tobacco Bill,
tisement in response to that of the          discriminatory, hypocritical and ineffec­      were	 the	 Tobacco	 Growers	 of	 Victoria,	
ACCV,	using	statistics	from	the	ACCV’s	      tive, and the outdoor advertising and          the	 Australian	 Retail	 Tobacconists’	
opinion poll (they were yet to commis­       cinema industries would lose revenue           Association, the Federated Tobacco
sion their own) showing that the major­      and possibly jobs. Sporting organisa­          Workers	Union	of	Australia,	and	Fair	Go:	
ity of smokers and blue­collar workers       tions would lose the right to choose           a small Sydney­based, tobacco indus­
did	not	approve	of	higher	taxes	on	ciga­     their own funding sources. The com­            try­supported lobby group which had
rettes. On August 12, the TIA was            mercial freedoms of a legal industry           previously successfully persuaded the
granted	‘Open	Space’	in	The	Age	for	an	      would be unconscionably restricted.            New	South	Wales	State	Government	to	
opinion piece by the then Chief                                                             rescind a ban on smoking on public
Executive	Officer,	Blair	Hunt	PhD.	        Of all the tobacco companies, Philip             transport.
                                           Morris was by far the most active in
Clearly wounded by the media opposing the legislation. This was partly                      Two overseeing advertising bodies, the
onslaught,	 Dr	 Hunt’s	 column	 accused	 strategic	(Mr	Dollisson	being	the	indus­           Advertising Federation of Australia and
The Age of sensationalism and inaccu­                                                       the Outdoor Advertising Association of
                                           try’s	 most	 articulate	 lobbyist),	 partly	
racy. His article also sternly pointed out                                                  Australia (OAAA), were also critical of
                                           geographic (Philip Morris is the only
that	the	ACCV’s	controversial	proposals	                                                    the legislation (see Section 12).
                                           manufacturer operating out of Victoria),
were not the subject of Cabinet delib­
                                           and partly because Philip Morris was             A small number of prominent sporting
erations, but merely “a submission to a
minister.” The whole affair was a ‘gigan­ most individually threatened by the               organisations also sided with the
tic	beat-up’.                              legislation.                                     tobacco industry. These were the
                                             Among	the	proposed	legislation’s	inten­        Confederation of Australian Sport, the
Dr	Hunt’s	comments	accurately	reflected	                                                    Confederation of Australian Motor
                                             tions was a ban on sales of cigarettes in
the state of knowledge of the tobacco                                                       Sports, the Victorian Amateur Turf Club,
                                             packets smaller than 20, imports
industry, though not the actual state­of­                                                   the Victorian Racing Committee, and
                                             excepted.	The	only	Australian	manufac­
play. It was probably only with the press                                                   organising bodies for soccer and cricket
                                             turer using a packet configuration of
announcement of the content of the Bill                                                     (see Section 11).
                                             less than 20 was Philip Morris, which
on October 7 that full realisation dawned    was marketing two of its brands, Peter         The pro­tobacco lobby contacted parlia­
on the industry, while they were busy        Jackson and Alpine, in packets of 15.          mentarians from all parties, and arranged
responding to activity on another front:                                                    personal visits, telephone calls and let­
the	 Federal	 Government	 had	 just	         Advertising for both brands was particu­
                                                                                            ters. A barrage of information was
                                             larly attractive, and the lower price of
announced its intention to ban smoking                                                      directed to each politician.
                                             the smaller packets made them an obvi­
on Australian domestic aircraft.
                                             ous choice for children. Philip Morris         It was abundantly clear that the tobacco
Their response was instant, and was as       had been the target of sustained criti­        industry was not about to stint on
predictable for its vituperation as it was   cism by the Health Lobby, and very             resources. A press headline on October


22
20 proclaimed “tobacco firms willing to        sponsorship of sports, the arts and con­
spend millions on fight”, and the article      certs	 of	 the	 Government’s	 choosing.	
went on to claim that the industry had         Do	you	favour	or	oppose	those	sponsor­
“already run up a million­dollar bill for a    ships being controlled by the Victorian
concentrated newspaper and television          Government?
campaign”.
                                               61% opposed, 33% favoured, 6%
The tobacco workers’ lobby                     undecided.

Philip Morris encouraged its local work­       Cigarette advertising
ers to lobby their politicians. Philip         and its influence
Morris employees and representatives           The	 State	 Government	 is	 planning	 to	
of	 advertising	 and	 other	 ‘threatened’	     legislate to selectively ban cigarette
trades, also rallied on the steps of           advertising in cinemas, on billboards
Parliament House on October 20. Main           and posters and outside shops, but
catchcries concerned potential job             allow advertising in magazines and
losses, an anomaly which was not lost          newspapers.	Do	you	agree	or	disagree	
on	the	media.	The	next	day,	one	of	The	        with a selective ban on some cigarette
Age opinion writers wryly observed that        advertising and not on others?
if industry defences of advertisements
were	 correct,	 (that	 they	 don’t	 encour­    28% agreed, 68% disagreed, 4%
age new smokers), then tobacco work­           undecided.
ers surely had nothing to fear from            Which do you think is the major
advertising bans.                              influence why teenagers start
                                               to smoke – advertising, or
Tobacco Institute of Australia’s               family and friends?
opinion poll
                                               80% said family and friends, 15% said
The TIA commissioned the Roy Morgan            advertising, 5% undecided.                   •	 Tobacco	Institute	press	advertisement
Research Centre to undertake an opin­
ion poll to counter that of the ACCV.          The proposed legislation - push it
                                                                                            Age’s	series	of	articles	and	Quit	Week.	
Given	 the	 phrasing	 of	 the	 questions,	     through quickly or more debate?
                                                                                            The first advertisement bore the slogan
which	implied	that	the	Government	was	         Do	 you	 think	 the	 State	 Government	      “If	 I	 don’t	 smoke	 in	 your	 face,	 please	
stifling debate, would control sport and       should push this legislation through         take your tongue out of my ear”. The
the arts, and that the advertising bans        Parliament quickly, or should there be       advertisement	carried	no	other	text,	and	
were illogical because of their selectiv­      more debate among the interested par­        earned general community distaste
ity (the industry stopped short of asking      ties first?                                  because of its somewhat unpleasant
whether public support would be higher                                                      imagery.
for a total ban!), it is not surprising that   76% wanted more debate, 21% wanted
their key findings ran directly against        the legislation pushed through quickly,      A second advertisement placed by
those of the ACCV. Their question about        and 3% were undecided.                       Philip Morris in August reported the
whether advertising has any effect on                                                       findings of another Roy Morgan
                                               The industry widely publicised the
teenagers was similarly designed to                                                         Research poll, presumably commis­
                                               results of their poll in media releases
gain a negative response (as, in general,                                                   sioned by Philip Morris.
                                               and in press advertisements. However,
people do not attribute decision to pur­       the poll did not only receive criticism      The headline stated “Who says smok­
chase directly to advertising ­ but in the     from the Health Lobby. At least one          ers have the right to be treated courte­
absence of advertising, are less likely to     press	 report	 (The	 Age	 News	 Diary,	      ously and without harassment? 90% of
be stimulated to make the decision).           October 29) criticised the TIA poll as       Victorians”.	The	subtext	stated	“83%	of	
The questions and responses are repro­         likely to be biased due to the leading       Victorians say that smokers have the
duced below:                                   nature of the questions asked.               right to normal commercial information
State Government control of                                                                 about cigarette products”.
                                               Press advertisements
sponsorship decisions
                                                                                            The TIA lodged their first advertisement
                                               A number of advertisements were
As well as banning cigarette companies                                                      on August 7, in response to the flurry of
                                               inserted in the names of Philip Morris
from sponsoring local sport, the arts                                                       activity in The Age over the preceding
                                               Ltd and the TIA.
and	 concerts,	 the	 State	 Government	                                                     week. The advertisement made use of
would	increase	cigarette	taxes	by	20%	         Philip Morris placed advertisements in       the	CBRC’s	opinion	poll,	publishing	the	
and	 collect	 an	 estimated	 $32	 million.	    the Victorian press in late July and early   sub-set	of	smokers’	views	on	some	of	
That money would be used to fund               August, presumably in response to The        the questions asked.


                                                                                                                                      23
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




Headed “Message for John Cain from
Victoria’s	 smokers”,	 the	 advertisement	
stated that nearly 80% of smokers did
not	approve	of	a	50	cent	per	packet	tax	                                                                                •	   The		 	
rise on cigarettes, and that over 60% of                                                                                	    tobacco		
blue­collar workers ­ smokers and non­                                                                                  	    lobby	hits		
smokers ­ did not approve of higher                                                                                     	    	 ack	with		the		
                                                                                                                             b
cigarette	 taxes.	 The	 tobacco	 company	                                                                               	    commissar’s		
had chosen the highest disapproval rat­                                                                                 	    TV	campaign
ings registered by the CBRC poll.
The	 next	 of	 their	 advertisements	
appeared on October 10, headed “The
Government	actually	believes	if	you	can’t	
see	 cigarette	 advertising	 you	 won’t	
smoke”. The advertisement criticised the
proposals	 on	 six	 counts:	 that	 it	 was	
“silly”; “unfair”; would “cost jobs”; was      to air during prime time on October 16,       the campaign “so crude it is laughable”,
“another	 tax	 increase”;	 was	 “hypocriti­    and	 continued	 with	 heavy	 exposure	        and commenting “the only avenue avail­
cal”; and in case there was still some         during sporting programs. Playing on          able to the industry was to distort the
doubt,	“wouldn’t	work”.	                       the	 ‘big	 brother’	 theme,	 it	 cast	 the	   issue, and that it has done admirably.”
                                               Government	as	some	kind	of	a	totalitar­
The TIA lodged a third advertisement           ian communist state run by sinister, uni­     Billboard advertisement
outlining the findings of their Roy Morgan     formed bureaucrats intent on enforcing
Research poll (described above) on             killjoy legislation.                          Using billboard space apparently
around October 27.                                                                           donated	 by	 the	 OAAA,	 the	 industry’s	
                                               Workers were deprived of their cigarette      billboard campaign was unveiled on
Television advertisement                       machines and Christmas parties, and           around October 13.
                                               sportspeople of their sponsorship.
The TIA commissioned advertising                                                             Blank white billboards appeared with
agency,	 Delbridge	 Otton,	 to	 produce	 a	 The advertisement did not gain the pub­          the message “Censored by the Cain
60 second television advertisement, at a lic response hoped for by the Institute.            Government”	 stamped	 diagonally	
cost	of	$70,000.	                                                                            across them. Beneath this was the line
                                            It was widely criticised in the media,
Code-named	 ‘Commissar’,	 it	 first	 went	 one commentator from The Age calling              “Tobacco	now,	what	next?”.



15. The legislative process
Drafting the Bill
Around the time the ACCV produced its          advisor to the Minister for Health. A         deserving of support. So the Foundation
first submission, the entire Health Act        new foundation would achieve a number         became a body which would be able to
was being revised. As the possibility of       of ends. Importantly, it would lay to rest    provide funds to any deserving sport­
new legislation became more real, Quit         criticisms	 that	 the	 new	 tax	 would	 in	   ing, arts or cultural body, in the interests
and ASH were invited to assist with the        effect	 be	 some	 kind	 of	 Government	       of health promotion. Funding of health
early drafting of legislation, which would     ‘slush	 fund’,	 which	 would	 allow	 minis­   promotion research and medical
enact the ACCV recommendations.                ters to hand out cheques to sporting          research was also allowed for.
Effort was concentrated on keeping the         bodies for electoral gain. It would also
                                                                                             Proposed curbs on advertising and pro­
objectives of the legislation precise and      secure the principal of hypothecation of
                                                                                             motion were restricted to the politically
workable, and the temptation to put            revenue following the life of the current
                                                                                             viable. This meant that a ban on print
together	a	Health	Lobby	‘wish	list’	was	       Government.
                                                                                             media	 was	 excluded,	 not	 because	 it	
carefully avoided.
                                               After this, the charter of the Foundation     was impossible, but because it would
Out of discussions surrounding the             rapidly filled out. It was obviously unfair   probably have been unattainable and
complexities	 of	 legislating	 for	 replace­   for the Foundation to give funding only       would have jeopardized the success of
ment funding of sport, the notion of           to groups which had previously accepted       the rest of the legislation. Strongly of
establishing a new, independent statu­         tobacco sponsorship: this ignored the         the view that a good Bill passed was
tory foundation developed. This was            many groups which had refused tobacco         better	 than	 an	 excellent	 Bill	 failed,	 a	
the brainchild of Peter Worland, senior        money on principle and were very              pragmatic attitude was maintained.


24
Other	 existing	 tobacco-related	 legisla­      Minister for Transport and former             Saturday, October 31. However, it was
tion was embraced by the Bill as well.          Minister for Health, on October 7. As         the	 view	 of	 the	 Government,	 and	 par­
Prior to this, legislation concerning           anticipated, the Bill rapidly passed          ticularly the Premier, that the amend­
smoking in Victoria was piecemeal and           through the Lower House, where the            ment allowing the continuation of spon­
scattered between a number of dispa­            Government	 held	 a	 majority.	 Major	        sorship by tobacco companies seriously
rate Acts.                                      debate commenced in the Legislative           compromised the intent of the Bill.
                                                Council (Upper House) on October 30,
All	 told,	 nearly	 six	 months	 of	 intensive	 when	David	White	delivered	the	Second	        The industry would be free to out­bid
and highly confidential work went into Reading Speech.                                        the Foundation for funding of key
the research and development of the The Opposition held a majority in the                     events:	tobacco	exposure	through	spon­
proposals and the Bill. At no stage dur­ Upper House by one vote, giving them                 sorship could even increase, especially
ing the drafting process was there any the power to force amendments to the                   as the industry would be prevented
guarantee that the Bill would actually legislation, or reject it outright. An                 from spending money on billboard and
come before Parliament. This depended attempt to delay the Bill by a filibuster,              cinema advertising.
on	the	political	will	of	the	Government,	 by	the	National	Party,	drew	a	response	
                                                                                              Premier Cain stated in press reports
the state of the Parliamentary timeta­ from Mr White, that Parliament would
                                                                                              that	 the	 Government	 would	 reject	 the	
ble,	 and	 on	 the	 continuum	 of	 external	 sit until the Bill was passed. As they had
                                                                                              amendments, altering the Bill to its orig­
political life, which at any time could publicly announced, the Opposition sup­
                                                                                              inal form and sending it back to the
have postponed or completely removed ported the thrust of the Bill, but intended
                                                                                              Legislative Council for renewed debate.
the proposed legislation from the to make a number of amendments.                             The Liberals made it clear that they
agenda.                                                                                       would not change their stance. The
                                                In fact, they amended it 45 times,
                                                although in practice only two of those        entire legislation appeared to be on the
Passage of the Bill                             amendments were consequential. (It is         brink of failure.
Despite the best planning, there was important to note that not all of the
never a watertight assurance that the Liberal	 Party’s	 amendments	 were	                     The Health Lobby worked feverishly to
Bill would pass. There was always the intended to weaken the Legislation.                     rescue	the	Bill.	In	an	‘Open	Space’	opin­
chance that it would be bounced from They ensured that the fine for selling                   ion	piece	in	The	Age	on	November	5,	Dr	
                                                cigarettes to children was doubled. Mr        Gray	wrote	that	“in	summary,	the	differ­
the parliamentary agenda for political or
                                                Birrell also called upon Mr White to liaise   ences between the parties (were) very
other intervening reasons, or that the
                                                with other state Ministers for Health to      small and the grounds for agreement
Bill would not get through the Upper
                                                ban advertising in the print media.)          very large”. He went on to say “As one
House due to last­minute shaking of
Liberal	 and	 National	 Party	 resolve	 by	 One amendment allowed for three poli­             who has advocated this cause for many
the tobacco industry.                           ticians, one from each party represented      years, I now feel that we are on the
                                                in Victorian Parliament, to be nominated      verge of taking an historic step
Because of the short period of time to the Board of VicHealth. The other                      forward.
available for debate, there was also the amendment was far more inflamma­
                                                                                              It would be a great tragedy if the baby
danger	 of	 ‘filibustering’	 (where	 those	 tory. The Opposition was intent on
                                                                                              were thrown out with the bathwater,
opposing the Bill find ways to keep the removing the total ban on tobacco spon­
                                                                                              and the certainty of the bill was
Bill from being put to the vote). This can sorship, thereby allowing sport and                destroyed	 because	 the	 Government	
happen through arranging for protracted other bodies the freedom to choose the                and the Opposition cannot negotiate
debate, having debate adjourned, or in source of their funding.                               this final issue.”
other ways deliberately stalling the train    On this point, the Opposition argued
of events.                                    that	by	allowing	exemptions	for	particu­        Dr	 Gray’s	 desperate	 eleventh-hour	
                                              lar sports (namely national and interna­        diplomacy was much resented by the
Had this happened, the Bill would have                                                        Government,	 but	 to	 the	 great	 relief	 of	
                                              tional events), the legislation unfairly
remained unpassed, and the tobacco                                                            the Health Lobby, the amendment was
                                              discriminated against lesser sports.
industry would have had the summer                                                            eventually conceded, with some regula­
recess to work towards ensuring that However the Foundation would have                        tion of advertising signage to be deter­
the Bill would not reappear on the parlia­ written into its charter the direction to          mined in the future.
mentary agenda in the following spend at least 30% of its annual income
autumn. In this event, it would have on funding sports clubs and arts groups.                 The	 Premier	 extended	 the	 sitting	 of	
been	 extremely	 difficult	 for	 the	 Health	 This would ensure that the Foundation           Parliament	 for	 an	 extra	 day	 so	 that	
Lobby to maintain the momentum of would have the capacity to replace all                      debate could be concluded, and the
its campaign.                                 current tobacco sponsorships.
                                                                                              amended Bill was ratified by the House
The Bill was introduced into the              The Bill was finally passed in the              of Assembly early on Saturday morning,
Legislative Assembly by Tom Roper MP,         Legislative Council at 12.43am on               November	14.


                                                                                                                                       25
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




26
27
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987




       VicHealth                             The Cancer Council Victoria
       Ground	Floor,	15–31	Pelham	Street	    1 Rathdowne Street
       Carlton South, Victoria 3053          Carlton, Victoria 3053
       Telephone: (03) 9667 1333             Telephone: (03) 9635 5000
       Web:       www.vichealth.vic.gov.au   Web:         www.cancervic.org.au
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