Western Australia thankfully has the toughest anti smoking laws in Australia and in a back flip, Health Minister Jim McGinty has announced that if the Labor government is re-elected he intends to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children.

Previously McGinty has rejected calls from the AMA for such a ban, claiming that it was unenforceable and that police had more important matters to pursue than the health of minors.

In making his announcement Minister McGinty took the opportunity to claim the Liberal Party as being in the keep of multi national tobacco companies. McGinty called upon the Liberal Party to follow Labor’s lead and refuse to accept campaign funding from tobacco companies.

McGinty and the Labor Party apparently see no incongruity in this call when one of their new “star candidates” Ms Karen Brown, was, until her recent endorsement for a safe Labor seat, a senior associate with political lobbyists, Haldern and Burns who receive a substantial income lobbying Health Minister McGinty in the interests of tobacco giant, Phillip Morris.

It seems taking tainted money is one thing, but peddling the interests of doctor death is another. Apparently Health Minister McGinty’s concern for the wellbeing of Western Australians doesn’t extend to refusing to deal with lobbyists paid to argue against the health interests of the punters.

Hypocrisy of course is nothing new to either political party when dealing with the tobacco lobby. Smoking is banned on the main floor of Perth’s Burswood casinos as both a public health matter and an employee worksafe issue, however it is the health policy of both the Labor and Liberal Party that smoking be allowed in the high roller room.

Burswood casino is the only premise licensed in Western Australia with poker machines. Owners PBL claim the banning of smoking in the high roller room would dramatically effect revenue which in turn would dramatically effect State tax revenue.

Public policy is still run in Western Australia by obscene and ostentatious greed.

On the matter of back flips, just twelve months ago Premier Carpenter rejected out of hand a recommendation that young “P” plate drivers be banned from driving high powered cars.

On Friday night three young people died in Perth in a high powered car, wrapped around a tree. On Sunday Carpenter reversed his decision justifying his back flip by claiming that policy needed to change in line with changing circumstances and remarkably “it was now easier for young people to purchase such vehicles”.

Unsurprisingly as is invariably the case in such tragedies, the young dead people were in their parents’ car…

Peter Fray

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