Parliament: Speeches on Bills

Tobacco Products Regulation (Artistic Performances) Amendment Bill

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: The proposed change to the Tobacco Products Regulation Act 1997 aims, as I understand it, to simplify and speed up the processes for the producers of an artistic performance to apply for an exemption under section 71. In other words, if they wish to let one or more of the actors in a production smoke on stage during the performance of a play, this bill proposes to streamline the administrative burden to allow that to happen by allowing that exemption to be granted by the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse rather than by the Governor.

As a former, participant and current patron of the performing arts, particularly the theatre in South Australia, I am in favour of any measure that enables those making theatre to focus on their art and not be distracted by red tape. From that point of view, Dignity for Disability certainly supports the aim of this bill.

Notwithstanding our support, of course, we are also acutely aware of the ongoing illness, disability and premature death that is caused by tobacco smoking, including the risks to health associated with second-hand smoke. For this reason we continue to be shocked and disappointed that certain political parties, including some in this place, are still willing to accept donations from tobacco companies.

I note that Minister Hunter’s second reading speech stated that conditions to these exemptions included the requirement for an audience to be informed that smoking will occur during a performance, for adequate stage and audience ventilation, and the use of only herbal cigarettes rather than tobacco cigarettes. While that is a step in the right direction I suppose, as has been pointed out, there are perhaps some even better alternatives that could be investigated.

I trust that these conditions will continue to apply to any exemptions granted by the minister if this amendment is passed. I also hope the passing of this bill does not lead to any increase in the amount of smoking that occurs in performances. Finally, I will state that my vote in support of this bill should not be seen in any way as support or sympathy for the tobacco industry, the demise of which, frankly, cannot come soon enough for the sake of the health of all South Australians. With those few words and a keen sense of irony, Dignity for Disability supports the bill.