It’s always great to see Australian domestic issues making headlines around the world. This morning, it is yesterday’s High Court decision on plain packaging of cigarettes that is doing the rounds.
The judgment upheld the benevolent decision by my Government to not allow me to look at all of those cigarette packages that were already hidden away in a cupboard behind the counter of any store.
Thank Government, I say. The temptation from that multicoloured packaging underneath the pictures of cancer and gangrene was so strong sometimes, it was all I could do to pull myself away. Now I guess I will be able to overcome the overwhelming desire of buying a little blue and white box with a huge picture of a diseased eye.
I particularly liked this report from the Jerusalem Post:
Several major tobacco companies challenged Australia’s legislation. But the industry’s attempt to derail this effective tobacco control measure failed.
Plain packaging is a highly effective way to counter industry’s ruthless marketing tactics, Chan said.
It is also fully in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which was ratified by 170 countries including Israel – but not the US, due to its strong tobacco lobby, and went into effect in 2005. “The Australian lawsuits filed by Big Tobacco look like the death throes of a desperate industry.
Sounds horrifying. Ruthless marketing tactics, Big Tobacco, strong tobacco lobby. Lucky Nicola Roxon and Tanya Plibersek are here to protect us from this evil!
… as they were very keen to point out.
“This is a victory for all those families who have lost someone to a tobacco-related illness,” Nicola Roxon, the attorney general, and Tanya Plibersek, the health minister, said in a joint statement. “No longer when a smoker pulls out a packet of cigarettes will that packet be a mobile billboard.”
Mobile billboard?? Quick! Ban them! We can’t have mobile billboards with cigarette company logos under all those pictures of gangrenous feet and rotten teeth!
Even better was Roxon in Question Time:
I do indeed have some good news for the House: today the highest court in the country has confirmed legislation that was passed by this parliament. That means that Australians will no longer be subjected to tobacco being sold in packaging which is attractive to young people and which entices them to take up what is a deadly and addictive habit. This decision is good news for every parent who worries about their child taking up this habit.
Attractive to young people? Government forbid! Thanks Nanny Nicola for protecting us from that. As a ‘young person’ myself, it’s nice to know that I am in good hands.
But it’s not just the ALP that is looking out for my best interests. See, a few weeks ago a young man was tragically killed in Sydney’s Kings Cross by a random attack. Fortunately, the perpetrator was found and imprisoned. It seems as though he was on some kind of a rampage at the time.
Luckily, the NSW Liberals know exactly how to respond to such random acts of violence: regulate!
The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has announced the government will introduce a ban on shots, doubles, ready-to-drink beverages and glassware after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays for the area’s 58 venues.
No more than four drinks may be purchased at a time after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays under the changes and from 11pm two responsible service of alcohol ”marshalls” must patrol all venues and alcohol sales must cease one hour before closing.
Clearly there is a problem with alcohol-fuelled violence in Kings Cross after 11pm.
Yes, you could say “well the boy was killed just after 10pm”, or “there’s no evidence that the attacker had been drinking heavily”, or “this was a random attack and is not really evidence of an ingrained culture”. And you would technically be completely right on all counts:
The man accused of murdering Sydney teenager Thomas Kelly, 18, in Kings Cross this month went on a crime spree lasting more than an hour, punching four people in total, police said.
According to police documents, Kieran Loveridge, also 18, allegedly began his crime spree at 10.03pm on Saturday, July 7, assaulting an 18-year-old boy on the corner of Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street.
But why let a little thing like the truth get in the way of some good regulation? Clearly if I am no longer allowed to keep ordering drinks at night before I wonder out onto poorly-policed streets with no way of getting home, I am much less likely to go around punching random people in the head!
It must be all that alcohol that’s the problem, not the fact that the 3am enforced closing time happens to coincide with cab changeover and comes two hours after all public transport has ended, which actually leaves no way of getting home for hundreds of people.
That couldn’t be it.
This is actually one of those rare occasions where I agree with NSW Labor.
The Opposition Leader, John Robertson, said the measures ”will not put a single extra police officer on the streets and they do nothing to address one of the biggest problems in Kings Cross – and that is getting revellers home on Friday and Saturday nights”.
I know, someone pinch me.