"Understanding the links between tobacco companies, their lobbyists and
Australian politics “was like doing a complex, 5,000-piece jigsaw with many
missing or blank pieces”, Cancer Council NSW researcher Melissa Jones says.
In research that took several months, Jones and her colleagues found almost
half (48%) of internal tobacco company lobbyists held positions in state,
territory or federal government before or after working in the tobacco
The study, led by University of Sydney tobacco control expert Dr Christina
Watts and co-authored by Jones, is the first in Australia to systematically
investigate the “revolving door” tactic in tobacco lobbying.
The “revolving door” is where former political staffers go on to work for
tobacco companies or for lobby groups acting on their behalf, using their
inside knowledge of government and industry to exert influence over health
Published in the Public Health Research and Practice
journal on Thursday, the
study calls for stronger transparency and oversight legislation to eliminate
tobacco industry influence in politics.
“The revolving door has been described as one of the most insidious forms of
state capture and a serious threat to democracy,” Jones said.
“It’s a system that favours private, profit-driven and unhealthy industries in
their attempts to push back stronger regulations and undermine evidence-based
public health policy.”
Jones said the use of arms-length, third-party lobbyists who previously worked
for government “is a critical tool” to circumvent an article of of the WHO
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which calls upon governments to
protect policymaking from industry interference."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics