Tuesday 19 November 2019
Hansard of the Legislative Council

 Establishment of Select Committee
 Public Health Amendment (Prevention of Sale of Smoking
Products to Under-Age Persons) Bill 2018

[3.33 p.m.]
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, as you can tell from the fact I have no notes, I have not gone deeply into my research for a presentation today.  I thought I would listen and see what other members contributed and then hopefully my thoughts would be crystallised to be able to be definitive about where I am going to go.  Like others, I am all over the show.  It has been very difficult to have a positive course of action.

Through this I have appreciated people commending the member for Windermere for persisting and pursuing this, and keeping going.  I will draw no short bows to the fox issue, but certainly you are indefatigable when you have an issue you want to pursue.  This issue is something I share. 

It is interesting that the member for Huon has not been a smoker.  A lot of people do not understand the impact smoking has on your life when you are addicted to nicotine.  I was a 60-a-day person for many years and managed to go cold turkey, which was very helpful to my willpower over the years.  A lot of people at that stage, when I was trying to give up 40-odd years ago, did not understand how compelling nicotine addiction is.  There was a lack of understanding of what people were going through and how hard it was.  People who were non-smokers would say, 'Just give up' - 'Well, it ain't that easy.'

Ms Webb - There is a lack of understanding on many issues of addiction in the community.

Mr FINCH - Sure.  I was interested to watch how this issue of smoking would unfold for our society.  The reason I gave up was the cost and that it was bad for my health, and I felt it as a young person.  I was interested to see how society would deal with this addiction that our community had.  Thankfully, we have done it incrementally.  We have not been jackbooted about the way we have gone about trying to swing those smokers over to be non-smokers.  Slowly but surely things have been put in place that have compelled people to give strong consideration to their addiction to smoking.

I remember in the old radio studios where we would be puffing away and ashtrays were everywhere, and going through the equipment - buses, planes, there was not a place you could not go - and then you are flicking your butts all over the streets. 

Sorry, member for Huon, I am probably getting you off track here too, so you might need to call a point of order.

Mr PRESIDENT - If he does not, I will.

Mr FINCH - Okay, I will truncate what I am saying.  I would be pleased with the way we have dealt with things, and  even in my time here, in my 18 years here, I have seen we have made those moves to put more and more pressure on smokers to question what they do in the hope it will encourage them to take that really serious look at giving up.

This is another increment in that campaign I talked about, of trying to change society, to get people to come around to a completely smoke-free society where everybody has made that decision not to smoke.  Of course for the young ones, it is this brand image - the cigarette in the gob making them look mature or whatever it is - that drives them.

We are dealing with another section of the community, but there are the younger ones who respond to the education programs the Government needs to consider constantly, and the Menzies research that gives us more of a focus on what is happening and what can be done.

At this stage, because it is one of those incremental steps in focusing on this issue of smoking, I am inclined to support the member for Windermere's motion.  He is a great man on numbers and I think he has been having a look around the Chamber and a message might be coming through. 

I am also a bit interested in the fact that in respect of the proposed committee, members who have opted to support you by saying they will be on the committee are then quite negative about their involvement in that.  Generally, I would like to think that people go into, or are able to go into, an inquiry like this with an open mind.  It is not always the case, but it is interesting that on this one there are so many members who, from the get-go do not have an open mind, as has been expressed here.

Ms Armitage - I would not say I do not have an open mind.  I am simply saying I do not believe that a committee is the right process, but should it go ahead, I would like to see everyone represented.  I am quite happy for you to take my place on the committee.

Mr FINCH - I may not have been speaking about you.

Ms Armitage - I do not mind but I am quite happy for you to take my place.

Mr FINCH - No.  It is interesting that you make that comment.

Ms Armitage - You mentioned the committee.

Mr FINCH - Members of the committee.  I did not cite you specifically.

Mr PRESIDENT - Order, quarrelling.

Ms Armitage - Through you, Mr President - last comment:  you did say those who make negative comments, and I was one of them.

Mr FINCH - Okay, it must be your conscience playing up on you.

Ms Armitage - Not at all, Mr Finch.

Mr FINCH - I will leave it there.  I will support the honourable member.