The Age has a piece today talking about farming practices in developing countries. It turns out that child labour might be employed in the production of tobacco products being consumed in Australia.
ASH chief executive Anne Jones said while most smokers now knew the health risks, many would be unaware their cigarettes largely came from countries such as India, the Philippines, Thailand and Malawi, where child labour was rife.
Okay – that certainly is a matter for the authorities of those countries. But why is Australia having to import tobacco?
Tobacco production in Australia ceased during the mid-1990s as state and federal governments offered grants to encourage tobacco farmers to exit the trade.
If people want first world farming practices then crops need to be cultivated in the first world. All those do-gooders who agitated for tobacco production to cease in Australia are now having to face the unintended consequence of their actions.
In any event, however, trade has been diverted. Poor people in developing countries have access to our market – it’s unsurprising that they grow and sell tobacco to Australia, it’s not as though they could grow and sell us bananas.