Voters cynical about smokescreen on tobacco excise

MANY Australians question Kevin Rudd’s sincerity on increasing tobacco excise, with a new poll suggesting 53 per cent believe the move is a political tactic to divert their attention.

A Galaxy poll, conducted for right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs and released yesterday, found a strong suspicion that the increase in tobacco excise announced by the Prime Minister last week was aimed at drawing attention away from the government’s decision to shelve action on climate change.

The release of the poll came after the fortnightly Newspoll, published exclusively in The Australian yesterday, found a large slump in support for Mr Rudd’s government, with the Coalition ahead for the first time since 2006 on a two-party-preferred margin of 51 per cent to 49 per cent.

In the Galaxy poll, more than 1000 voters were asked to say whether they believed the excise increase, which will cost smokers an extra $2 a packet, was an indication of the Prime Minister’s passion on health or whether it was a diversion.

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Thirty-six per cent of respondents attributed the move to concern about health, while 53 per cent said it was a diversion.


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