LIBERAL MP Craig Kelly is chairing a parliamentary inquiry into illicit tobacco sales. Fairfax reports that Kelly is dismayed by an “unintended” corollary of the ever-escalating excise which addicted governments need as a revenue stream (and promote falsely as a tool to end smoking): the encouragement of illegal cigarette suppliers. Excise per cigarette is set to hit one dollar from 1 September this year.
Australian Border Force siezed a record 633 tonnes of tobacco in 2018-19. The Police Federation of Australia – which doesn’t miss a thing – believes high excise rates are encouraging “criminals” whose contraband cigs are increasingly attractive to many smokers, “especially those on low incomes.” The report specifically mentions the government’s concern about the effect of affordable tobacco in Aboriginal communities – all the better to appear righteous even as it cynically uses smokers to balance the nation’s budget.
If you’re a smoker, the next time a sanctimonious crackpot tells you he resents your habit because of the future hospital cost of treating your tobacco-related illness, tell him you and your kind – lordly benefactors all – built the hospitals. Then blow a smoke-ring into his face and ash on his carpet.