Thursday, 7 December 2017

Does Australia Punish Those Who Mislead Government?

Things have been busy in Puddlecoteville and surrounds, so I'm lagging behind somewhat.

Many will have already seen this, but just in case you haven't, here is Simon Chapman taken to the cleaners by Senator David Leyonhjelm under parliamentary privilege.

The central point the Senator was making is that Chapman was so woeful in his submission to the Australian Senate Inquiry into e-cigs that Public Health England took the unprecedented step of writing and correcting him.

The question is whether this was deliberate or not. Leyonhjelm obviously thinks so.

Long term readers will remember that we had a similar case here in 2009 when Lord Darzi misled the House of Lords on the cost to retailers of hiding tobacco behind screens. History has shown that policy to have been completely ineffective - hence why tobacco controllers try not to talk about it very much - but the damage was at least only an entirely unnecessary chunk taken out of the pockets of honest businesses.

However - in the parlance of tobacco controllers themselves - if Chapman's misleading of his government means that smokers are stopped from quitting because e-cigs remain banned following the inquiry, 50% of them will suffer ill-health as a direct result.

Now, Lord Darzi should have been investigated under our laws which treat misleading legislators as a serious offence. He didn't because politics is an ends-driven game. But if the end is to prevent ill-health, and Chapman is shown to have obstructed that, he should surely have to face some pretty serious charges down under.

That is if Australia has laws on misleading parliament like we do here in the Motherland, of course.

Now do you see why I say some in 'public health' deserve jail time? 

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