The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987 –
the untold story
researched and written by Margaret Winstanley
for the Victorian Smoking and Health Program (Quit)
Dr Nigel Gray, Ms Dorothy Reading, Dr David Hill, Mr Stephen Woodward,
Ms Trish Cotter, Mr John Cain, Mr David White, Mr Peter Worland
edited by Dorothy Reading, October 2007
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987
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
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
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
and illness prevention.
To attempt a statespecific ban would
These ends were sought through the
have opened a new line of opposition
centred upon the constitutional implica
tions of the legislation, inasmuch as it
could be seen to impinge on the free
dom of interstate trade.
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.
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,
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
industry directly in the media (although
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.
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987
5. Massing the troops
The Anti-Cancer Council
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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
disapproving of an increase in tax
was that it would make smoking too
• 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
• 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
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
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
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”.
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
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?
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?
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”.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
The Victorian Tobacco Act 1987
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