Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
imageLabor is presenting its proposal to increase tax on cigarettes as an aid to the health of Australians and a boost to government revenue. 55Laney69/Flickr, CC BY-SA

A Shorten government would further substantially increase the excise on tobacco, taking the price of a packet of 25 cigarettes to nearly $41 by 2020 and boosting revenue by $47.7 billion over a decade.

Under the plan, earlier expected and announced Tuesday, excise would rise by 12.5% on September 1 2017, and then by the same percentage on September 1 in each of the following three years.

On current policy settings, a 25 cigarette pack that costs $24.69 currently will increase to $29.91 in 2020. Labor’s policy would see it cost $40.80.

The opposition is presenting its initiative as one that helps health as well as raising money, and contrasting it with the Coalition’s possible changes to the GST which would drive up prices generally.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said some 2.5 million Australians smoked every day. “I want to stop young people taking up smoking and I want more people to quit smoking. The difference between Labor and the Liberals could not be starker. Labor wants to reduce the number of people who smoke. Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals want to increase the GST and the cost of everything, including fresh food, school fees and going to the doctor.”

The extra revenue would be $3.8 billion over the current forward estimates and $47.7 billion over the medium term of a decade. The costing has been done by the Parliamentary Budget Office and takes into account the discouragement effect on smoking the higher prices would have.

In 2014-15 some $8.3 billion was collected in tobacco excise.

While the proposal would be unpopular with smokers, the health damage done by tobacco makes it harder for the Coalition to mount a credible all-out attack on it.

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen and health spokeswoman Catherine King said in a statement that once fully implemented, Labor’s policy would bring Australia into line with 33 other countries including the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand in ensuring that at least 75% of the overall cost of a pack of cigarettes comes from taxation.

King said that each year in Australia tobacco killed more than 15,000 people and caused more than $31.5 billion in health and economic costs. “We should be using the tax system for reform with purpose, reforms that will see more people give up smoking, and more kids never start.”

“The World Health Organisation considers that raising tobacco taxes to more than 75% of the retail price for tobacco products is amongst the most effective and cost-effective tobacco control interventions,” she said.

Bowen said that Labor was being upfront in saying more revenue was needed to get back to budget balance and fund important productivity-enhancing investments in our schools and hospitals.

King said that tobacco consumption had fallen 16.8% in the almost three years since the ALP’s plain packaging laws came into effect. Daily smoking declined between 2010 and 2014 from 15.1% to 12.8%, according to the latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

Labor in government introduced four 12.5% excise increments taking effect from December 1 2013. The third rise was in September this year and the final one comes next September. But “while the excise and taxation contribution to cigarette costs have increased following Labor’s tobacco excise measures in office, they remain well below other comparable nations,” the opposition said.

Postscript

The latest Newspoll in Tuesday’s Australian contains more bad news for Bill Shorten, with Malcolm Turnbull widening his lead as better prime minister to a huge 49 points. Turnbull’s better PM rating increased from 61% to 64%, while Shorten fell from 18% to 15%.

Satisfaction with Shorten’s performance declined a point to 26%. Turnbull’s satisfaction level rose from 56% to 60%, in the wake of his first major overseas trip during which he attended three summits.

The Coalition retained its two-party lead of 53-47% of a fortnight ago. The Coalition’s primary vote stayed on 46%; Labor’s vote was down a point to 33% . The Greens rose a point to 11%.

Shorten’s 15% support as better PM is the lowest for any Labor leader since Simon Crean was on 14 per cent in November 2003, just before he stood down as opposition leader.

If the poll result was replicated in an election, Labor would suffer a defeat of a similar magnitude to 2013.

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/labor-would-slug-smokers-to-boost-revenue-improve-health-51136

Writers Wanted

'Severely threatened and deteriorating': global authority on nature lists the Great Barrier Reef as critical

arrow_forward

'Unjustifiable': new report shows how the nation's gas expansion puts Australians in harm’s way

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Nisbets’ Collab with The Lobby is Showing the Sexy Side of Hospitality Supply

Hospitality supply services might not immediately make you think ‘sexy’. But when a barkeep in a moodily lit bar holds up the perfectly formed juniper gin balloon or catches the light in the edg...

The Atticism - avatar The Atticism

Buy Instagram Followers And Likes Now

Do you like to buy followers on Instagram? Just give a simple Google search on the internet, and there will be an abounding of seeking outcomes full of businesses offering such services. But, th...

News Co - avatar News Co

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion