Is Butt-squad a new reality TV show …

… or is it political elites covering their butts?

The government will be announcing a new law-enforcement program on Tuesday night.

The Turnbull government has unveiled a plan to recover billions of dollars being lost to federal coffers from a combination of undetected tobacco imports, illegal tobacco crops known as “chop chop” and a thriving black market in stolen, untaxed cigarettes.

Billions of dollars you say?

The government expects to increase revenue through a suite of new measures by $3.6 billion over four years.

Why didn’t anybody ever warn that overzealous government policy could or would result in increased criminal behaviour? Oh, waitmore … and again.

Here is the Victorian Cancer Council talking about myths:

Myth

Plain packaging will make cigarettes easier to counterfeit and will increase the trade in illicit tobacco products such as “chop chop”

Fact

There is no evidence that plain packaging will lead to an increase in illicit trade in tobacco products. Tobacco industry claims about the amount of illicit tobacco purchased in Australia have been found to be exaggerated and misleading. The plain packaging legislation will allow tobacco companies to continue to use anti-counterfeit markings on their products.

Here is the World Health Organisation:

Myth: Tobacco tax and price differences between countries create an incentive for illicit trade in tobacco products.

 Not exactly: There are other more important factors that encourage illicit trade, such as weak governance/lack of high-level commitment, weak customs and excise administration, corruption and complicity of cigarette manufacturers. 

The World Health Organisation thinks Australia is corrupt!

Speaking of corruption this is what our friends at the Consumer Choice Center have uncovered about the World Health Organisation.

But wait, there’s more: Noodle emails to draw my attention to this astonishing article in the Daily Telegraph.

BIG Tobacco is propping up its profits by sneakily raising cigarette prices way beyond increases in excise.

Cancer Council research reveals the pre-tax take on a pack of Winfield cigarettes has soared by nearly 150 per cent since 2010. For JPS smokes, the jump is more than 180 per cent. This compares to consumer price inflation (CPI) of just six per cent in that time.

Winnie Blues now cost $33.65 up from $12.95 at the start of the decade.

“It’s a dirty trick by these companies,” said Cancer Council Australia public policy director Paul Grogan. “They have been very clever at jacking up their profit margins substantially in excess of increases in excise duty.”

Yep – that’s the Cancer Council claiming that cigarettes are too expensive in Australia.

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32 Responses to Is Butt-squad a new reality TV show …

  1. John Constantine

    Vicious, Lawless Associations Disestablishment Act.

    Now we see several arms of the State effectively operating in collusion with Organised criminal elements to create a black market producing massive profits, surely it is Time for a VLAD act to ban these orcs from clustering together, for the good of the community?.

  2. RobK

    It seems to me that it is the State that is addicted to tobacco. I don’t see why you cant grow your own. A number of people would enjoy the hobby of home manufacture of cigars, pipe tobacco or cigarettes. What’s with this protectionism of industries. Taxing and compliance are pretty much zero sum and a waste of resouces. This is a fine example of how to make work by regulations for no nett result (in fact a negative result).
    Im not a smoker but think those who want to should be able to.

  3. Iampeter

    I love how the idea of cutting spending is not even theoretically entertained by even Coalition government.

  4. RobK

    The WHO started off well with resources from colonial powers funnelled into it and some synergies were afforded with scale and direction of replicated resources.
    Continued decolonization meant increased foreign aid to prop-up the effort and things have steadily gone more bureaucratic with NGOs filling the gaps and less accountability to any particular government. I believe it does need an over-haul, as does the UN. Trump is carrying a large weight if it is up to him to fix it. He appears to be the only one with the fortitude to tackle it.
    God bless him.

  5. Turtle of WA

    The Doomlord told ’em so. They never listen.

  6. Infidel Tiger

    Sinclair you should be knighted for your work on the idiocy surrounding tobacco.

  7. Infidel Tiger

    I love how the idea of cutting spending is not even theoretically entertained by even Coalition government.

    The LNP are scum and must be destroyed.

    6 years of Shorten will be good for national character.

  8. mh

    The Butt Squad are the new Bullshitters:

  9. Dr Fred Lenin

    I am informed that in psychiatric wards staff are not enforcing no smoking rules laid down by the fascist left who order a total ban , of course they never go near these places , too dangerous and frightening for them . The staff are now turning a blind eye since a number were seriously assaulted for enforcing the ban . Not content with tormenting the afflicted with no smoking , the comrades are now cutting down sugar to inmates on the grounds diabetics cost lot to treat . So these inmates are deprived of liberty given electric shock treatment ,injected and forced to take mind altering drugs ,and now no tobacco or sugar , they don’t even do that to criminals in jail ,these unfortunates have little in their lives , they certainly don’t need interfering fascists who know nothing of their suffering laying down rules that are dangerous to enforce ‘. A message to all socialist fascists keep your bloody nose out of things you know nothing about !( that would narrow their fields , they seem to know nothing about most things ).

  10. Adam D

    “It’s a dirty trick by these companies,” said Cancer Council Australia public policy

    FMD at least we know that their motives are malevolent.

  11. Egor

    Best to be aware that NZ has no CGT on second investment houses, it has a max personal tax rate comparable to its company rate, it pays the nation pension ( they hilariously call it “superannuation” to avoid welfare connotations) to everyone without a means test.
    It has a Trust system that allows you to completely isolate your assets from your new wife forever and your old wife if you knew what you were doing……..unlike Australia where Trusts and private companies are of limited use in this matter.
    It is the bludgiest socialist state this side of Sweden……and they haven’t gone broke yet.
    Please explain.

  12. Pedro the Ignorant

    Hohohoho.

    There is an enterprising fellow in town who sells “imported” cigarettes for $6 a pack of 20. He drives a very nice car despite never having had a job.

    The roadhouse and delis have been holding stocks of tobacco products for months. Passing tourists are the only buyers.

    There is no illegal trade in “chop chop”. Repeat; Hohohohoho

  13. Chester Draws

    Egor. Have you looked to see the proportion of government spending to GDP in NZ? We’re at Singapore levels.

    Having taken the government out of nearly every possible trading area — putting the remaining ones at arm’s length and insisting on a profit — I struggle to see why you think NZ is remotely “Socialist”

    It, like Sweden, is a welfare state. But government stays out of business, which is pretty much the opposite of Socialism.

    Note also that almost nothing in NZ is free, even the “free” things. Not health care, not education, not most government services. Because the user pays, albeit well below its actual cost, there is an incentive not to use services you don’t need and to demand value for your money. Again, not how a Socialist would organise things.

    Militant unionism and restrictive practices got squashed decades ago. Not Socialist again (note the new Government, pathetic as it is, isn’t very pro-unions in practice).

    NZ has had economically “dry” parliaments for decades. The current lot only got in by promising not to run deficits. If it hadn’t been for the destructive Christchurch earthquakes NZ would have no nett government debt. Our Labour Party is more fiscally responsible than your “right wing” ones by quite a long shot. (It helps that the Greens have taken the far left out of Labour. The Greens’ economic policies are terrible as a result.)

    You should not confuse economies like Sweden and NZ with being remotely Socialist — on the basis of them paying welfare more than you would like. They’re very different things. Socialism is an economic disaster. Welfare is merely an expensive cost a strong economy can afford.

  14. Squirrel

    In all seriousness, the prospect of basing yet another law-and-order reality show on this “crackdown”, complete with some very tasty dog-whistling opportunities (all those dodgy foreigners) will likely have been seen as icing on the politico-administrative cake. I think I have already heard one excited news report referring to the Chop-Chop Cops as a “flying squad” – but that only made me think of the Black Books homage to The Sweeney.

  15. Baldrick

    The current maximum jail term for possessing non-excise tobacco is 10 years and/or a $315,000 fine.
    Expect this to increase under the Stupid.Fucking.Liberals.

  16. billie

    Chinese cigarettes have been selling very well for a long time, the change in packaging took away brand preference and addicts who just want nicotine don’t cares where it comes from.

    Billions of dollars of revenue lost, hilarious, where are the pranksters who all stony faced declared that because revenue was down, people are smoking less

    Not very good judges of human nature!

    You have to wonder what role Tanya Plibersek was playing in this and why!

  17. Rob MW

    Yep – that’s the Cancer Council claiming that cigarettes are too expensive in Australia.

    yes…….yes……yes……..but…….but………. it’s the price signal that counts and the health benefits are in the price…….. y’a see. If…..if….if……. cancer treatment was twice as dear less people would get cancer…..you see……..you see……. that’s how it all works.

  18. mem

    Speaking of the Chinese and smoking, .https://investorintel.com/sectors/agribusiness-mmj/agbusiness-mmj-news/gcac-join-lithuanian-government-trade-mission-china/
    May 4, 2018 (Source) — Global Cannabis Applications Corp. (“GCAC” or the “Company”) (CSE: APP, FSE:2FA, OTCQB: FUAPF), a leading developer of innovative data technologies for the cannabis industry, is pleased to announce it will be participating in a Lithuanian trade mission to China later this month. GCAC will accompany members of the Lithuanian Finance Ministry on the trade mission with two main events: the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services and the 2018 China E-Commerce Convention taking place in Beijing.

  19. Chris M

    It would seem the so-called ‘cancer council’ should support home grown and chop-chop as it would be free of the chemical additives they claim are so dangerous.

    Surely they would be for the organic version?

  20. I wonder whether the Prime Quisling’s crack-down on nicotine taxes, fees, levies, imposts, etc., will affect the stock-in-trade at Dodgy Dan’s proposed new A.L.P. crack-houses, Meth labs, Ice-Works, Pseudo-Ephedrine pill-presses, Wacky-Tabaccy suppliers and other such places he is planning to open apparently without regard to the proximity of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools.

    How does Dodgy Dan propose that his army of whacked-out druggies leave the area once they have had their A.L.P.-gifted “hit”? Are they all going to drive away by car (stolen or otherwise), or is Dodgy Dan going to provide them free druggie transport while mere taxpayers have to walk?

    While litter inspectors fine pedestrians for littering, the A.L.P.’s Police Farce will no doubt turn a blind eye to all the used druggie needles carelessly thrown about the streets and playgrounds.

    A.L.P. – Your taxes at work!

  21. Some History

    Lost revenue to the government? Consumers, through contraband, are trying to avoid being robbed senselessly by government (both major political parties) that’s supposed to represent them.

    That there is a flourishing contraband market (a public service) has been caused singularly, solely by corrupt, greedy politicians and fanaticism-affected “public health”. Every time there is a seizure of untaxed tobacco it has to be rubbed in the faces of politicians and “public health”. They have created the situation, an entirely foreseeable, preventable circumstance. But, no, these dangerously stupid morons decided to hike taxes into the stratosphere under WHO direction. Even now there are those in Public Health that deny there’s any relationship between ever-increasing extortionate taxes on tobacco and a flourishing contraband market, e.g., cancer society. These miscreants are wanton trashers of society that then disavow any responsibility. They have no skin in the game. They wreak havoc with no detrimental consequences for them.

    Sanity would guide that tobacco excise needs to be lowered… and considerably. But don’t expect sanity. Fanatical Public Health long-committed to prohibition doesn’t do sanity. And corrupt government doesn’t want anyone barging in on its racket: It’s chasing the full proceeds of its robbery of tobacco consumers. These are the actual criminals at work. So expect it all to get nastier, more heavy-handed treatment of those attempting to muscle-in on the government racket.

    Snowdon has a piece on the growing contraband market in Australia. He suggests that it’s “almost” a moral duty to avoid paying the highly inflated prices for tobacco, i.e., avoid being robbed. We’re actually way past “almost”.
    https://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.com.au/2018/05/australias-tobacco-black-market-grows.html

  22. Some History

    But it gets worse.

    Since the late-1980s the Tobacco Control racket has been serviced by a global communication network referred to as Globalink. To gain membership to the exclusive listserv someone has to demonstrably be a rabid antismoking activist or be recommended by existing members. Those in TC are familiar with what’s occurring in other parts of the world. The steps leading to successful antismoking laws in one country are indicated to be followed in other countries in agitating for antismoking laws.

    So TC in the UK will be well aware that massive hikes in excise have created a flourishing contraband market in Australia. Yet knowing full well the consequences, Public Health in the UK is pushing for similar tax hikes as Australia:

    HIKING the price of cigarettes to almost £20 a pack could save millions of lives, experts said today.
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6027430/price-of-cigarettes-should-increase-by-50-to-almost-20-a-pack-say-experts/
    The trashing of society is not an unintended consequence: It’s entirely intentional. If it’s left to authoritarian fanatics and greedy government, it will get to the stage where even consumers – ordinary citizens – will be criminalized for purchasing contraband.

    But it gets worse.

    [From the same article] The foaming-at-the-mouth fanatics are now claiming that regressive taxes aren’t regressive, that it will be wonderful for the poor. According to these deranged tossers:
    Slapping an extra 50 per cent on to the price could lead to “unprecedented health gains and poverty reduction”.
    “Our study debunks the current narrative that higher cigarette prices would negatively impact the poorest among us.”
    ……

    Public Health fanatics cannot be reasoned with. They need to be unceremoniously tossed out from any influence on public policy, if not seeing some jail time, too. And the role of the unelected, unaccountable WHO in the insanity cannot be overstated. The WHO – Troughers Central – needs to be de-funded concerning its “war” on non-communicable diseases. It’s war on tobacco has already done much damage on a global scale.

  23. Some History

    The WHO spends $200 million per year on travel costs, equalling $28,500 per employee

    Does that include 5-star accommodation and entertainment, or is that extra? Remember these people are not elected by or accountable to those whose taxes from a variety of countries are used by their governments to fund the WHO. The same goes for so-called public health “charities”.

    NOTE: All WHO employees are antismokers. The WHO stopped hiring smokers many years ago.

  24. Some History

    Snowdon suggests that it’s “almost” a moral duty to avoid paying the highly inflated prices for tobacco, i.e., avoid being robbed. We’re actually way past “almost”.

    “It is also important to note that antismoking was so strongly
    associated with Nazism that “for the anti-Nazi youth movements – the
    working class Eidelweiss Pirates and the bourgeois Hamburg Swing Youth
    alike – the constant cigarette seems to have been almost a badge of
    resistance and was referred to as a sure indicator of their degeneracy in
    the surveillance reports produced by the Hitler Youth. Indeed, one of the
    reasons for the relative failure of activities to prevent smoking in Germany
    since the war may be that the association of authoritarian antismoking
    efforts with the Nazi regime remained in popular memory for a long
    period.”

    Some background on the Edelweiss Pirates:

    https://www.warhistoryonline.com/featured/edelweiss-pirates-nazi-germanys-youth-resistance-song-dance-sabotage.html

    The Public Health fanatics obviously HATE the idea of the cigarette as a badge of honour/resistance.

  25. Some History

    The WHO and UN more generally are running multiple social-engineering programs. The WHO has made it clear that smokers are not part of it’s deranged “utopian” vision. Smokers/smoking are not welcome – “we don’t want you”. In fact, smokers are viewed as hindering the progress to “utopia”. The number of smokers must be reduced if not eliminated as a matter of urgency. That is the WHO position that’s then peddled by local “Public Health” and enabled by greedy, self-promoting, useful-idiot politicians and government bureaucrats.

    Who put the WHO in charge of anything, let alone social engineering “utopia”?

  26. Some History

    NOTE: All WHO employees are antismokers. The WHO stopped hiring smokers many years ago.

    It was 2008.

    http://www.who.int/employment/FAQs_smoking_English.pdf

  27. Some History

    From the article is this telling short paragraph:

    The attraction of black market cigarettes has grown because of the ease with which successive governments have increased imposts without fear of political backlash.

    If we want to know who the biggest criminals are, look no further than the Labor and Liberal governments of the last 8 years.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/government-butt-squad-to-chase-billions-in-criminal-tobacco-fraud-20180505-p4zdiv.html

  28. C.L.

    To all importers of “illegal” cigarettes: keep up the good work.
    Bring ’em in by the million.

  29. Bopret

    Enactment of plain packaging in 2012 is the very source of troubles with illicit tobacco trade. Plain packaging has abolished use of trademarks on legally sold tobacco products; simply put, trademarks are names of products, and any illegal use of them (counterfeiting) can be legally sanctioned both under civil and criminal law. But plain packaging has created a bizarre situation: there simply cannot be any infringement of trademarks under plain packaging regime for legally sold products, and thus an important legal basis for combating counterfeiting has been abolished – to the great benefit of all criminals dealing with illegal tobacco business (for an academic elaboration see https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=2540828). Abolishing plain packaging would thus be worth of a serious (re)consideration – to the benefit of public health and State finances.

  30. Some History

    The current antismoking crusade is very much like the Nazi “war on tobacco” in antismoking actions, e.g., smoking bans, high taxes.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2352989/pdf/bmj00571-0040.pdf
    However, the current crusade is far nastier than the Nazi crusade. It has to be borne in mind that the Nazis had the major “distractions” of world conquest and genocide holding most of their attention. Antismoking was to be pursued with even greater vigour after the war which the Nazis thought they would win. In contrast, contemporary antismoking has had some 3 decades of singular pursuit, no distractions, and red-carpet access to the legislature. While Nazi anti-tobacco was confined to one nation, contemporary antismoking is a global menace. As far as anti-tobacco goes, contemporary “Tobacco Control” makes the Nazis look like pansies.

    The Nazi war on tobacco only came to light in the early-1990s. By this time the current anti-tobacco crusade was already well underway. Tobacco Control was caught with its pants down regarding the similarities to Nazi anti-tobacco. Tobacco Control went into damage control.

    Tobacco Control hates the Nazi comparison: It is offended by the comparison. Some TC folk even slapped together an sub-amateurish article downplaying the Nazis’ commitment to anti-tobacco. The thrust of their “argument” is please don’t refer to us as Nazi-like because, as far as anti-tobacco goes, we are way nastier and comprehensive than the Nazis were. How’s that for an “argument” as to why they shouldn’t be referred to as Nazi-like?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2441844/?tool=pmcentrez

    But they are correct. As far as anti-tobacco goes, contemporary TC, directed by the unelected, unaccountable WHO, is way, way, way worse than the Nazis.

    To the official bullies and their industrial partners, the bullying/coercion is not referred to as bullying/coercion. It’s referred to as “help” or “encouragement” or “care” or “tough love”.

    It is the elite, the well-educated, that are highly prone to intelligent self-deception as they attempt to wield unmerited, self-serving power over society. This is a critical problem with the highly and dangerously delusional and particularly in officialdom, i.e., organized policy-making derangement. Their conduct is never self-viewed as vulgar, as sickly. They even take offence at the suggestion that it might be so: “How can they compare us to the Nazis or other evil group”, declare the current bigots/tyrants. “All we’re trying to do is reduce the damage done by tobacco. We’re doing ‘good’”. But what the nouveaux bigots fail to comprehend is that the Nazis, as with others, saw themselves as “deliverers of the world” from “evil” as they perceived it: At the time, they viewed their conduct as doing their nation and the world a great service. They saw themselves as anything but evil. It is contorted perception. These were seriously disturbed minds. And, concerning anti-tobacco, contemporary Public Health and its Tobacco Control subsidiary aren’t all that far behind.

  31. Some History

    Tobacco Control is toxic, tyrannical. In all its anti-tobacco activity there is the ever presence of spite, vindictiveness, and malice directed at “non-conformers”. Contemporary Tobacco Control has all the symptoms of groupthink. It has manufactured those who smoke into “disease carriers” – the “disease” of nicotine addiction and further disease “caused” by smoking, and “disease spreaders” (through secondary smoke, and the more recent concoction of “thirdhand smoke”). They are depicted as a “burden” on the health system and on society generally. They have been reduced to vermin in all but name.

    TC has spent decades fomenting irrational fear and hatred of smokers through incessant State-funded/supported inflammatory propaganda. It set about to denormalize/stigmatize/leperize/ostracize smoking/smokers. No-one has been permitted to get a critical word in lest they be smeared as shills of [evil] Big Tobacco or “pro-cancer” activists. The internet is essentially the only place where people can be critical of TC shenanigans, and reasonably so as opposed to propaganda-based, and TC doesn’t like it one bit: When it gets a tiny dose of what it’s been meting out for decades, it goes apoplectic. Mike Daube has referred to those on the internet speaking poorly of TC as “internet vermin”. Yep, he uses that word:

    https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/202/6/targets-and-abuse-price-public-health-campaigners-pay

    The greatest con is that these malevolent plops portray themselves as the “righteous, benevolent heroes” battling the “evil” Tobacco Empire.

    WHAT A MESS!!!

  32. The WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control has been the handbook and checklist for tobacco controllers in Australia since Australia signed up to it. If you’ve met any tobacco controllers you’ll recall the religious fervour, the shiny eyes and, interestingly, that many of them are quite overweight.

    The reason that branded tobacco products are no longer available and on display is that the tobacco controllers genuinely believe that when people merely see a branded tobacco pack they are transported to another universe in which they have no rational thought and no control over their purchasing decisions. Tobacco manufacturers have access to mystical controls over the public, you see. And nothing anyone can say will change the tobacco controller’s mind. I know because I’ve tried.

    They will also assert that there is a vast literature which defines and describes the causal link between tobacco product displays and the decision to smoke. Which makes it strange that they can never deliver any list of references to such research. And odd that the majority of people walked past such displays on a daily basis and were never tempted to start smoking.

    Such intellectual dishonesty on the part of tobacco controllers probably made the cognitive dissonance tolerable.

    Tobacco controllers in Australia were told on numerous occasions that the current restrictions on display and packaging would result in a thriving black market for chop chop, an increase in counterfeit products and other illicit variants. They were deaf to all that. And so it came to pass.

    Again odd, since tobacco controllers posture as promoters of health: chop chop, for example, on top of all of the normal risks of tobacco smoking, adds the risks of aspergillosis, a fungal infection of the lungs, as well as exposure to various bacteria.

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