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Latham's stance on tobacco donations welcomed

Friday 23 January, 2004

Quit Victoria has welcomed the news that Opposition Leader Mark Latham plans to reject donations from tobacco companies to the Australian Labor Party .

Quit Victoria Executive Director Todd Harper said the move was appropriate, given the devastating impact of tobacco in the Australian community.

""Smoking kills around 50 Australians every day. I am confident that the community will be supportive of any moves to reduce the political influence of tobacco companies.""

""I think the perception of the Australian public would be that tobacco donations compromise the ability to get tough on these companies and properly address the damage they cause.""

Mr Harper said it was important that the ALP's position on tobacco donations applied at both the state and federal level.

“I would hope that Mr Latham will include state ALP branches in his proposed policy on tobacco donations, and we would be very supportive of the introduction of laws that would end tobacco donations to all Australian political parties.”

“It's also important that any legislation to end tobacco industry political donations also covers donations made through third parties, that is where the tobacco industry gives money to corporate entities who then make donations or loans to political parties.”

Mr Harper said it was also important to ensure that tobacco funding of government activities ceased.

“Last year we saw a situation where Philip Morris provided substantial funding to the Office for the Status of Women for a conference on domestic violence.”

“The tobacco industry has used these type of activities to improve its corporate image and distract community and political parties from the enormous damage and suffering inflicted by the tobacco industry.”

Further information:
Zoe Furman,
Media Communications Manager

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