Regular column

For those of you who are on my Pensioner and Seniors information kit mailing list, an updated kit has just been posted. These free kits provide up-to-date information about entitlements, payments, services and contact details of relevant government bodies. If you’re not already on the mailing list and would like to receive a free copy, please contact my office on 4991 1022.


This Friday August 2 is Jeans for Genes Day. A national day when people wear their jeans to raise much- needed funds for research into birth defects and diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and a range of genetic disorders. Every dollar raised on the day will help scientists at Children’s Medical Research Institute discover treatments and cures, to give every child the opportunity to live a long and healthy life.

I thank all the volunteers and supporters who will join together on the day to help raise money for tomorrow’s cures and treatments – for the benefit of children everywhere.


The first study of the effects of the Government’s plain packaged tobacco reforms show they are working to put people off smoking. The new research shows plain packaged cigarettes with larger health warnings increased smokers’ urgency to quit and make smoking less appealing.

The study of more than 500 smokers revealed that a majority of those smoking from plain packs: • perceived their cigarettes to be lower in quality; • tended to perceive their cigarettes as less satisfying than a year ago; • were more likely to have thought about quitting at least once a day in the past week; and • were more likely to rate quitting as a higher priority in their lives.

While tobacco companies haven't changed the formula of their products, the government has had feedback from smokers saying their cigarettes taste worse since the Government’s required packaging to be plain. 

There is no safe level of tobacco consumption.  Tobacco is the only product that if taken as intended will kill half its regular users.

Australia was the first country in the world to require all tobacco products to be in plain packaging with new, bigger graphic health warnings.  New Zealand and Ireland are now following our lead. Plain packaging of tobacco is as much about stopping our kids from taking up smoking, as it is about encouraging existing smokers to quit.

But with an estimated 15,000 Australians dying from smoking each year, we are committed to achieving further reductions in tobacco consumption.  Our plain packaging reforms are part of a suite of Government measures that aim to reduce smoking rates.

Australia has a low smoking rate, and it is falling.  And that's thanks to sustained, concerted policy efforts from all levels of government and action from public health organisations. The research was conducted during the roll out of the Government’s plain packaging reforms in late 2012.


I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

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To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.

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