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Call to cut smoking in local films

May 9, 2012

AUSTRALIAN films receiving government assistance should cut down on depictions of actors smoking, parliament has been told.

Labor senator John Faulkner said the commonwealth provided generous tax incentives for film, television and other screen production in Australia, giving about $145 million in tax offsets to producers in 2010/11.

“I believe it’s now time for the government to consider the introduction of conditions to be applied about the smoking content of any production before government funding is provided,” he told the Senate today.

“It is also time to seriously investigate the application of such constraints to overseas productions filmed in Australia.”

But Liberal senator Simon Birmingham used Twitter to remark the imposition of such limits would be an interference in personal choice.

“John Faulkner currently telling @AuSenate we should regulate art by restricting portrayal of smoking in films – more #NannyState anyone?” he tweeted.

Senator Faulkner said the government’s new plain-packaging law was another example of Labor targeting tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorship.

All cigarettes and tobacco products will have to be sold in drab olive-brown packs from December.

“We are setting a global precedent that has big tobacco shaking in its boots,” Senator Faulkner said.

The federal budget handed down yesterday has cut the amount of cigarettes and tobacco that could be purchased duty-free.

Under existing rules, inbound travellers aged over 18 are allowed to bring in 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco products tax-free.

This will be cut to 50 cigarettes.

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