For sheer, blatant spin Mr Rudd is to be congratulated. Faced with a multitude of looming debacles what does he do?
Throws up a smokescreen, literally:Cigarette tax to increase 25pc from midnight
Hes announced out of the blue that smokers will face a 25% increase in the price of cigarettes from midnight tonight. Mouthing all the usual platitudes about saving chiiildren it allows him a free kick at a group hes already driven outside, and tried to ban from smoking in their own cars.
I hate ciggies, they make my nose run and sneeze, but I hate do gooder wankers even more. No-one in Australia should be under the impression smoking is good for you, it costs a lot and it stinks. Everyone has been informed about that for decades. Please piss off and moralize somewhere else.
My Grandfather died of asbestos, he was a builder/carpenter in the bad old days.His death was listed as “due to smoking”, despite his lungs asbestos related degeneration. Every smoker who goes to hospital now can expect their every aliment traced back to smoking, no matter how tenuous the link. tobacco is a killer, so why inflate the figures even more?
I dont believe the official statistics anymore. The semi-government cancer council and various lobby groups exist to let the government look as though its community pressure driving the bansturbation and tax raising. That same increase in tax revenue helps fund ever more generous grants to these same “charities” to start all over again.
Heres the group responsible for the report, and a few highlights of the members backgrounds.
Unbiased bloke N#1: He is currently President of the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and the WA Heart Foundation, and Chair of the WA Alcohol and Drug Authority. He has played a leading role in tobacco control, alcohol and other public health issues nationally and internationally for many years, and has advised governments and NGOs in some thirty countries.
Unbiased lady N#1: has developed national cardiovascular health programs within Australia, has been extensively involved with cancer prevention programs and is regarded as an expert on tobacco control matters.
Worrying lady N#1: She has been an active environmentalist since the early 1980s and is particularly passionate about climate change. She was recently trained as a climate change presenter by former US Vice President Al Gore, who is training climate change presenters around the world as part of the Climate Project.
All in all a roundup of people of similar opinions, very “Yes Minister” collection.
Still it achieves Turdfingers objectives nicely.
A: Moves the news stories away from his stuff ups.
B: May move debate back to health, where he has a temporary advantage (since it will take a couple of years for his new stuff ups to unravel there)
C: Raises more money for him to hose up the nearest wall.
In addition to the massive increase in tax, there is a move to “plain package” cigarettes to remove the distinctiveness of various brands.
Australia would be the first country in the world to force cigarette companies to use plain packaging.
“From 2012, companies will only be allowed to print their brand name in a standard style and graphic health warnings will remain on the packets.”
I suggest he goes one step further and does this instead.
One little problem, this is almost certainly not legal in any way. I dont have a huge amount of sympathy for the tobacco companies, as for some weird reason, defying all logic, they seemed to feel their previous concessions to the anti smoking lobby would appease them. What a surprise it hasnt, again.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be cured against ones will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock”
More under the fold, including how its increasing profits for criminals.
Hes single handedly expanding a new exciting avenue for organised crime to exploit, heres 2003 report on the Australian phenomena of “Chop Chop” tobacco.
A few ideas of the scale of the market hes creating, remember these figures are 7 years old, excise has been raised before now.
Each year the efforts of less than 150 tobacco growers earn the government almost $5 billion in taxes.
But a further half a billion dollars worth of tobacco escapes tax through being
sold illegally on the black market.”
Thats in 2003, but surely the farmers are raking it in as well?
“Your talking about the farmer getting $700 for a hundred kilo bale of tobacco, best price he’s able to obtain in the legal market, of which half might very well be his profit which he has to pay tax on and live, the Government’s take is $28,000 so you can understand the disparity, seven dollars a kilo as against $280,” Angelo Rigoni said.
Get that, the farmer make about $700.00 for a bale, the government nets $28,000. Scandalous, vile and wrong.
Still its a victimless crime isnt it?
“Yes they are and they’ll go to any extent to get their gain. And as a result of that we are concerned about assaults, serious assaults and we’ve been able to connect one murder to a chop chop situation, chop chop being the cut up leaf of tobacco,” Sergeant Lindsay Cummins said.
So your members are naturally armed?
“Yes they are, yes.”
Well at least they arent prosecuting innocent people after the thugs come calling are they?
Threatened with a letter of demand, the Tax Office backed down after police investigations established it was a genuine robbery and the Saric’s were blameless.
“In three years you wouldn’t make that sort of money, just three hundred and fifty odd thousand. I think it was 28,000 thousand dollars per bale,” Stefan Saric said.
This about sums it all up.
Tim at the end of the day, we’re protecting the Government’s money probably more so than our own. Our interest in the crop is probably far, far less than what the Government’s is,” Angelo Rigoni said.
They are effectively raising taxation on a product so much it is attracting people who normaly deal in hard drugs to make the same returns. Lunacy on roller skates.
UPDATE (I think the Mole-ster will be cool with this)
It’s been a bad news day for the tobacco industry. First up you’ve the Magnificently Useless Labor Prime Nanny, Kevin Rudd, not only ordering that by June next year all cigarette packaging in Australia will be in Franklins No Frills style packaging, he then dropped the bomb today announcing that a 25% tax hike on smokes was being brought forward to midnight tonight. An obvious (and reasonably effective, if not short-lived) distraction to his failed ETS, but a bum rap for sure that’ll bring the average price of a pack of 25s up to around $14 or thereabouts (woah!). The only upside is that Kevin, whose own party is sharpening knives, might not get away with the packaging law.
Meanwhile, it’s not much better over in England, where probably the last major act of interference by England’s Nanny State Labour government will be Marlboro being investigated for subliminal advertising on the Ferrari Formula One cars and on the drivers’ racing suits.
Excuse me, but exactly how does that photo advertise Marlboro cigarettes? As they say in England, bollocks.
But going back to KRudd’s latest brainfart, the no frills packaging will still have the graphic photos and warning labels on them.
And you know, it’s times like these that makes me really appreciate living in South Korea despite its many faults. A pack of 20s costs around $2.40 Australian, an example of which is shown below.
Heh. And the relatively innocuous warning label is in Korean, a language of which I only have a functional ability of.
To round this up, a commenter at the Ferrari link summed it up best.
Chris of Zurich Posted at 4:08 PM Today
Take the fast from F1, Take the taste from food, the alcohol from beer, the nicotine from cigarettes, humour from funny, sharp from knives let’s just keep taking out the the of everything and further abstract ourselves into post-modern ultra-existential hellish tasteless colorless senseless manilla nothingness while we question and label each other by the pills that are guiltlessly prescribed to numb the stinging emptiness. Where do I sign up!? You’re going to die from something and I’m only certain boredom is the worst possible cause. The continued evolution of absolute stupidity.