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2020 Summit: health « Previous | |Next »
April 20, 2008

A tax on junk food, alcohol and tobacco to fund a national preventative health agency and programs to keep people healthy is the big idea of the by health experts at the 2020 summit. They stressed the need for a major boost in the share of the health dollar spent on keeping people out of hospitals, but to make the idea cost neutral, they opted to pass on the cost to consumers of products that unduly added to the burden of obesity, cancer, diabetes and injury – drink, fatty foods and cigarettes.

2020Summit.jpg Spooner

Is that an illustration that the summit was about more about symbolism, less about substance? Or an example that the gathering was dominated by inner-city dwellers, many of whom have had a public platform to sprout their ideas “either in academic journals, parliament or newspaper columns. Was this an example of the ideas that indicated that the Summit was a gathering of the inexpert, the unqualified and the inexperienced?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:09 PM | | Comments (8)


I hope that cartoon isn’t an indication that people are being baptized in the river Lethe.

I am disappointed that few new ideas were put forward at the summit. A republic, a bill of rights and other tropes betray a poverty of thinking by Australia’s clerisy. Perhaps Daniel Barenboim was right about PC stifling the ability to form an opinion.

The suggestion to better educate people about leading a healthy lifestyle is encouraging and might lead to older Australians enjoying their senior years and fewer of them needing health services.

It is indeed poor taste to suggest that Tanya Plibersek’s paltripolitan pals were recruited to attend the summit and lend the event an air of asteism. How unattractive would the Great Hall look if the Smiths from Mudville turned up in their clapped out Holden.

Well the Maoists are getting into full swing. And how predictable all that disgusting garbage about "treaties" and such.

Some were determined to be disappointed with the thing before it even started, including Latham, but there's good reason to be disappointed if you were hoping for flashes of brilliance. So far anyway.

Alcohol and cigarettes are already taxed like hell and those taxes already contribute hefty sums to the health system. You'd be effectively diverting that money away from existing services to preventative ones. Nobody but nobody is going to put big taxes on food from McDonalds and KFC, and as the health warnings on cigarette packets attest, the consumption of unhealthy products goes on regardless.

In the case of cigarettes, demonising smokers has been very effective. Maybe we need to make hotel patrons stand around outside the pub while they drink and ban the consumption of bad food in public places.

you're right about the tax thingy on junk food. The immediate response is that it is personal responsibility and taste. If people want to eat junk food cos they like it then good luck to them. The state should get out of the way etc etc

Tax on junk food is a stupid idea. We seem to be moving to a form of governance where taxation is retributive, rather than distributed. Nearly all the Australian states have huge fines for speeding etc, it is like an inverse form of "think of the children" where those considered politically impotent are taxed/fined for revenue. How would argue for speeding fines to be less? Only bad people speed or get caught speeding (in reality everyone speeds). Same with junk food. Only morally ill-disciplined people eat it? Right? This form of governance has to stop.

I don't know whether it's a fact or whether I've falled for a stereotype, but I'm under the impression that poorer people tend to consume more fatty foods than middle and upper income brackets. At that rate taxing fat would disproportionately effect poorer people.

I'd be surprised if there are a handful of Australians who don't know too much fat is bad for you already, so don't see much point in ramming the message down our throats even harder.

Agreed. The health strand was supposed to come up with ideas for the health system, not direct blame for illness on ill individuals.

To be fair they tried to come up with ways to finance the shift the health system away from concentrating solely on acute hopsital care to preventative health.

It's interesting being in the South Island of NZ---fsmilies here are walking, running, biking, kayaking etc. Young kids are walking the Routebourn track!

There's one answer to obesity.