In the meantime, an impassioned plea just under a year ago may have belatedly been answered.
Show us the data on tobacco sales
By Simon Chapman
This year, for the first time, data on tobacco tax receipts and projections was missing from the budget papers, writes Simon Chapman. This data is absolutely critical to the evaluation of Australia’s plain packaging law.
When Treasurer Wayne Swan delivered this year's federal budget in May, my colleagues and I sifted through the online budget papers for the data on tobacco tax receipts and projections. But this year, for the first time, the information was missing.
In the table on revenue, the data on excise receipts from tobacco is buried in a line labelled "other excisable products" and customs duties on tobacco imports under "excise-like goods". A footnote explains that "tobacco estimates are not separately reported due to taxpayer confidentiality".
Tobacco customs and excise data are absolutely critical to the evaluation of Australia's plain pack law and its total program of making smoking history.Presumably to Mr Chapman's delight, then, Down Under blog Catallaxy Files can indeed now show him the data.
Despite the fact that the last Swan budget neglected to include tobacco excise data the subsequent PEFO, MYEFO and 2014-15 Budget Papers did include that data. How lucky is that?
First – actual excise collection exceeds budgeted collection in each year that we have data. Then there is a massive spike in budgeted excise revenue after plain packaging is introduced. Clearly Treasury (and by implication the government) does not expect to see a significant decline in tobacco consumption.Oh dear. So it looks like what Chapman suspected might be a cleverly-concealed smoking gun to prove the brilliance of the plain packs folly has turned out to be quite the opposite.
Far from the assumption that it was the dark forces of the tobacco industry attempting to hide evidence which shows plain packs to be a success, it's more believable that the treasury might have tried to hide data suggesting that they knew the policy to be useless all along, and even a means of sucking in more cash for the state. Not much up there says it's anything to do with health, that's for sure.
In which case, if Cameron really is blocking the stupidity in the UK as reported by the Mail today, perhaps the opinions of two-thirds of the country have finally filtered through.
If you haven't already, why not give him another nudge by clicking here and sending him a letter.