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Freedom of Choice: Australian Alcohol and Tobacco Party Launch Speech

Transcript of Media Conference held today at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Adelaide SA
Hello and Welcome!  My name is Bruce Holland, and today we are launching the Tobacco and Alcohol Party of Australia.  We are not a registered political party as yet, however we are seeking members now, and when we have sufficient members, we will then lodge with the Australian Electoral Commission formally.
The Tobacco and Alcohol Party has been formed to represent a voice for everyday
Australians. We could be more appropriately named: “Freedom of Choice Party”.
When the Federal Government introduced the Plain Packaging Bill, this became a
catalyst for us to form our Party.
We are a group of small business people, from a variety of backgrounds who share the
same concerns about the intrusiveness of government into the every day persons life,
and the taking away of our freedoms more and more by new laws and regulations.
We have not received any money or incentives from any Tobacco or Alcohol company.
We are very concerned about the interference of government which is leading to legal
products, trademarks and Intellectual Property being manipulated and compromised the
fundamentals of a free democratic capitalistic society in which we live are undermined.
When plain packaging becomes a legislative approach due to public health concerns,
where does it stop?
• By extension, Alcohol labeling and plain packaging of alcohol ogically could, and
should, become a focus also. Alcohol related death, illness and social impact is
as high as tobacco related health costs.
• Obesity (according to a report by Obesity In Australia, National Preventative
Health Taskforce 2010.) is singularly highest preventable cause of death in
Australia. Do we plain package fast food or even any food?
There is no evidence to suggest that plain packaging will change anything!
This is interventionist legislation that is dogmatic and draconian with no logical end in
sight as to where it might stop.
This is legislation (the Plain Packaging bill 2011) has adopted a philosophical-political
approach that states: “We the bureaucracy know better than you and what is good for
you. We will make decisions to protect you from yourself and from capitalistic national
and multinational companies and their manipulative advertising.”
“What’s more we will tax you for the privilege of us protecting you from yourself!!”
We could end up living in a drab, plain colourless world to protect us from ‘unhealthy
The following is the Charter of the Tobacco and Alcohol Party of Australia:
The Tobacco and Alcohol Party of Australia Ltd recognises and promotes the following:
1. We acknowledge that approximately 18% of adult Australians consume legal
tobacco products;
2. We acknowledge that approximately 40% of adult Australians consume legal
alcohol products;
3. We acknowledge that Excess consumption of legal tobacco and alcohol products
is a health hazard and can lead to health complications and potentially death;
4. We promote and maintain that Support, education, and counselling programs
should continue to be made available to assist those in the community who wish to stop
or reduce the excess consumption of legal tobacco and alcohol products;
5. We maintain that the rights of all companies to wholesale and retail legal
products should be defended and protected at all times. Infringement upon their
trademarks, copyrights, brands and pricing mechanisms should not be allowed at any
time and should comply with treaties determined by the multiple International Trade
Agreements as currently agreed to by the Australian Government;
6. We maintain and will defend Australia as a democratic nation and the freedom of
rights and choice of all individuals should be nourished and protected to participate in
the consumption of legal products;
7. We maintain that Legislative initiatives and reform should always be based upon
substantiation and fact. Therefore appropriate independent ‘evidence based’ research
should always be undertaken and published to determine the true value of any initiative
for the sake of all Australians to determine the likely impact of any legislative initiative or
reform. That substantiation should be made available to lawmakers and their
constituents freely and alike;
8. We defend the rights of people of the legal age, who choose to consume legal
tobacco and alcohol products, should be protected in a democratic society; they should
not be marginalised or vilified for the choices they make to participate in the
consumption of legal products;
9. We maintain the intervention of government into the lives of individuals to make
free choices in a democratic society to consume legal products is what we believe to be
‘nanny state’ politics. The Tobacco and Alcohol Party of Australia is opposed to ‘nanny
state’ based legislation that diminishes the rights of individuals or marginalises them in
society and the community generally. The Tobacco and Alcohol Party of Australia is
concerned where Government Legislative powers begin and where they end with
respect to an individual’s free choice to consume legal products and services;
10. We note that the supply of ‘illegal’ tobacco and alcohol products is increasing in
Australia, representing significant lost revenue for the Australian Government. Focus
should be placed on reducing the supply of ‘illegal’ products;
11. We maintain that retailers should be free to sell legal products to people of the
legal age in their premises with appropriate focus on not encouraging under age users
through point of sale activities;
12. We maintain that World Trade Organisation treaties agreed to by the Australian
Government should be embodied in any legislative reform and submitted to the World
Trade Organisation for review and independent analysis;
13. We maintain that Independent ‘evidence based’ research should be undertaken
A Determine the true gross revenue from legal tobacco and alcohol products
to federal, state and territory governments.
B Determine transparent methods of allocation and classification for cause of
disease and death within the Australian Health system as allocated to the consumption
of legal tobacco and alcohol products.
C Determine the true cost and liability placed upon Australian taxpayers from
Government intervention into the operations of legal markets.
14 We have not been funded by the tobacco or alcohol industry but they and others
will be invited to make donations.
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The future?

Michael would be happy with Adelaide Council's passing (last night) of a smoking ban in Rundle Mall.  Of course Woollies are still selling tobacco there..Sanctimonious hypocrisy abounds.

And by the way, the sitting-while-drinking requirement is apparrently so everyone can stay safe... how come you Vics are safe standing up and we aren't.  With lawyer I defended at a three-hour district court disciplinary hearing last year, the intended outcome of which was the mandate of a security guard in front of our hotel to enforce custormer seating.  The fact that the magistrate had just had a liver transplant was the least farcical of the circumstances,which can wait for another time.. suffice it to say that we won.

Sorry to go back to our ex A-G, but a perfect example of the legal idiocy that's been going on was when Atkinson disallowed alcohol sales at service stations with the classic line "I don't want to see people with a petrol pump in one hand drinking out of whisky bottle with the other"   Such lines are fair warning for our state now that the DLP (split never happened here) has basically just taken control of SA .  I see a future where we're legally required to attend a church on Sunday.

Back to the grog and the fags.  If people are so convinced they should not exist, shouldn't they be banned?   Then we'd better do coffee.. definitely peanut butter a well..

agreed, roughly

Scott Dunmore, we seem in agreement on the salient points. Hicks is just such an example of their flagrant hypocrisy, I fall off my perch just thinking about it. Actually Scott, you have probably made a friend here, I refer to Richard Tonkin's venting re ex SA AG Atkinson and the reason for the post, a sort of venting against control freakery in general that includes the Murdoch issue, the continued panicky responses to the asylum seeker and carbon tax issues and McClelland's vicious and cowardly response toward David Hicks.

Confused he is like always

You can drink outside a pub in Melbourne because the aborigines there were successfully wiped out a century ago.  In Adelaide there has not been equivalent success, there are survivors leading a traditional lifestyle, i.e. living outside European houses, under trees, in the open air, right in the city, right under the noses of respectable people.  Since they live that way we are able to selectively prosecute them, while pretending not to be racist, by prohibiting what no-one but them needs to do, drinking beer in the open air.  In other words, we can drive them away, or be very unhospitable towards them our city in our country, this is our own country, remember, that we want to reserve for the right kinds of people in the interests of property values.  Intruders who don't belong here need to stay away.

I have always suspected that drugs such as heroin are prohibited because it creates a hugely profitable industry.  If heroin was legal but "plain packaged", you just needed to go to your doctor and get an injection, there would be no glamour in that, it wouldn't be a daring and fashionable thing to do, there'd be no-one on the streets and at parties trying to drum up sales, because there'd be no significant profit for the suppliers.  There just wouldn't be any drug takers, no addicts, or almost none.  What a bummer that would be!  Therefore, it has to be illegal, naturally.

On the other hand as a non-smoker who commutes by bus I go berserk when a smoker smoking comes to wait at the same bus-stop as me.  They invariably stand up-wind, bugger them.  And of course they stink, they just don't know how they stink.  So I can't wait for the total prohibition of smoking in public.   Take a dive, A & TP.

Follow the money...

I have always suspected that drugs such as heroin are prohibited because it creates a hugely profitable industry.

Yep, I agree Michael, and there is heaps of evidence to support same, but certain organisations make a lot of cash, and others launder it.

And this is food for thought:

Ten Years Ago Portugal Legalized All Drugs -- What Happened Next?

The question begs: what is more destructive to the individual and community at large: drugs or the law?

Follow the money...

Why not go the whole hog?

Drugs, sex, and alcohol, a freedom of choice?

Why should one drug be illegal and others not?

We live in a free society and if what I choose to drink, smoke or poke causes no harm to anyone else then why not? 

The problem with this is that who determines if harm has been done?

If I choose to drink and drive who knows what harm may be done.

If I choose to smoke should I pay extra tax to cover my medical expenses?

The food industry has a load of regulation, so why not the drug and alcohol industry?

Should we try to prevent children from addiction to drugs and alcohol?

Maybe people who choose to self-harm - that is, take drugs including tobacco and alcohol, should be seen as mentally ill. 

Choosing to take any poison it surely a sign of mental disease.

Yes, a lot of people eat more than they should and this is probably a sign of mental illness.

So I am not sure if we live in a free society - but we certainly live in a crazy one.

No choice at all ... is there?

Drugs, sex, and alcohol, a freedom of choice?

That's a hard one John, which one do you choose?

As such it's best not to leave one out - just to be sure.

All major food groups, please

And rock and roll. Don't forget rock and roll.

Fiona: Indeed, Geoff.

I'm with Justin

Nothing like a balanced diet!

I'm getting bored with more and more laws telling me how to live my life, seemly only implemented to give lawmakers power.  And given the arguments I've been having with our State's A-G (Michael Atkinson) on Facebook, and getting some insight into the peculiar mind of this particular lawmaker)  I worry we're letting people who shouldn't  be able to control others' lives have the power to do so.

Frinstance, you can stand out the front of a pub in Melbourne and have a beer.  In Adelaide you can't. 


Sorry, its a load of cobblers to me. But the principle that they be allowed to put their case is a strong one. It's up to us to sort shit from clay.

The read is stodgy as with the contents, a wish-list for hobgoblins and another example of the right astroturfing smaller niche groups to engineer a move on the levers of power, as with the early Teaparty and blue doggers in the USA , with the consequences for a civil society that we have just witnessed as to withholding of supply, US style.

Over my head

Truly  Paul a lot of your stuff escapes me but I must agree with you as far as stodginess is concerned. My eyes glazed over on point 6 I  think. Back to your point; in March I had this to say in response to Jay. It was a piss-take but absolutely verifiable.The point I'm trying to make (and you must excuse me, my thought process involves much analogue thinking and pattern recognition which does not translate verbally) is that there has always been a strong "wowser" element in Oz society particularly among the political mindset. Here we are with David Hicks' assets frozen when he has not been convicted of any crime in Australia (and indeed, been illegally incarcerated in this country) and the conviction he received overseas has been nullified. I'll be interested to see where this leads.

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