Marking your own exams

Anti-tobacco campaigner Melanie Wakefield of the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer has been engaged without tender by the Department of Health to undertake a National Tracking Survey of 400 current and ex-smokers between 2012 and 2014 to assess the effectiveness of the plain packaging laws.

Philip Morris Limited Director of Corporate Affairs, Chris Argent, said it was not appropriate for one of the primary advocates and designers of plain packaging to conduct a taxpayer-funded review of the policy.

“This is akin to a student setting the end of year exam questions, taking the test and then marking their own work,” Mr Argent said.

Professor Wakefield was a member of the former Labor Government’s Tobacco Expert Committee which recommended plain packaging in 2008 and then subsequently provided advice to the Government on the implementation of the ban on brands. The Department of Health has stated that the National Tracking Survey is a key measure for determining its view of the impact and effectiveness of plain packaging and graphic health warnings.

Public records also reveal that Professor Wakefield and the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer have received more than $7 million in Federal funding to research tobacco control policies in the last decade.


Good work if you can get it.

(HT: Chris Snowdon via Twitter)

This entry was posted in Plain Packaging, Take Nanny down, Wakefield data, Wakefield Study. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Marking your own exams

  1. Rabz

    “This is akin to a student setting the end of year exam questions, taking the test and then marking their own work”

    Yep – that’s how shameless these parasites have become – on our dime, of course.

    If these liberal clowns had any balls, they’d revoke her engagement.

  2. H B Bear

    Sir Humphrey would be proud.

  3. Baldrick

    The ABC parasite disease has spread right through government and infiltrated all corners of the public service.

  4. Bruce J

    The Department of Health bureaucrat who awarded her contract and his/her line supervisor should be sacked immediately for total incompetence and exceeding their authority!

    If this is an example of the the Departments standards of integrity and management of taxpayer funds, it seems an assessment and clean out of the staff is totally justified. Let’s see Peter Dutton show some cojones.

  5. Empire

    Also known as corruption.

  6. Des Deskperson

    I’m by no means an expert on Commonwealth procurement and tendering processes, but generally speaking, all purchases of over $80,000 have to be subject to an open and competitive tendering process based on assessing value for money. According to the article, the value of this contract is $3 million.

    There are, however exemptions, mainly in cases “when the goods and services can be supplied only by a particular business and there is no reasonable alternative or substitute’ for reasons including the following:

    ‘….to protect patents, copyrights, or other exclusive rights, or proprietary information, or due to an absence of competition for technical reasons’.

    The procurement might conceivably be justified under either or both of these criteria – I know the latter has certainly been used in the past in some rather dodgy circumstances – but it doesn’t resolve the clear conflict of interest which, even if the survey were undertaken with the utmost objectivity and professionalism, would still render it tainted and therefore useless.

  7. johanna

    The anti-smoking lobby has operated just like the faux “climate scientists.” They start from the answer and then work backwards.

    Coming soon: “The effect of cigarette butts in streams on the breeding and migration of freshwater turtles.”

  8. Simsy

    These idiots have not learned the lessons of the prohibition era in the USA. During this time a legal product (alcohol) was taken from legitimate business and put in the hands of criminals. There was no such thing as quality control and quite often methanol (legal) was used in to dilute the ethanol (illegal), resulting in people going blind and/or insane.
    Today, because of government restrictions, the tobacco industry is slowly moving from legitimate operators which have quality controls, to the criminal organizations which have none. The long term effect will be more smoking related problems and minimal taxes collected.
    These idiots will crow about how Government regulations including plain packaging, have driven down the numbers of people that smoke and ignore the fact that chop chop (illegal tobacco) is becoming more popular and does not have plain packaging.

  9. David Black

    The tobacco industry is only legal because of an accident of history.
    Do libertarians expect a government to do nothing about a product that causes thousands of deaths per annum?
    It’s not posssible or desirable to ban smoking; but making it less attractive has to be considered.
    And, from the way the cancer-peddlers are carrying on, plain packing may just be working.

  10. Anto

    David Black. So, how many deaths are caused by motor vehicles? Home maintenance? Do you expect government to do something about that?

    Did it ever occur to you that most people smoke because they enjoy it? In any event, what business is it of the government?

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