Smoke Gets In Her Eyes

The Age

Friday May 27, 1994

CARTOONISTS mourned when Bronwyn Bishop bowed out of the Liberal leadership race, but her first day in the important shadow health portfolio is a sign that she has no intention of renouncing the head- strong style that made her such a worthy object for their art. By announcing her support for tobacco advertising, Mrs Bishop managed to set herself at odds with both the Australian Medical Association and her own party, which supported Federal Government legislation to prohibit tobacco advertising in 1992.

To explain that she was expressing a personal view and to argue that no case has been made to show that smoking is a ``dreadful product" exhibits a degree of disingenuity unusual in a politician - and earnt her a timely rebuke from her leader. As the AMA president, Dr Brendan Nelson, has said, there are now more than 50,000 pieces of medical research and literature supporting the view that smoking is injurious to humans. Each day, 54 Australians die from tobacco-related disease and another 250 Australian children smoke their first cigarette. As Dr Nelson says, Mrs Bishop has a lot to learn about health. The same may soon be said of her political health, if she continues to choose such deadly allies.

© 1994 The Age

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