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Govt condemns Lib MPs' silence on tobacco packaging
17/08/2012 - The federal government has slammed three opposition frontbenchers for not supporting its High Court plain packaging win against tobacco companies.
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Attorney-General Nicola Roxon singled out three Liberal MPs — Sophie Mirabella, Andrew Robb and Christopher Pyne — in parliament on Thursday, questioning their silence on the victory.
"I'm delighted that there are so many people across both sides of this house that can see that this is an important change," she told the lower house.
She said the three MPs had not contacted her to congratulate the government on its win.
"I wondered whether this was because each of them has received thousands of dollars in donations from the tobacco companies," she said.
The Gillard government on Wednesday won its fight against several big tobacco companies after the High Court upheld legislation that will force tobacco products to be sold in olive-brown packs from December.
Roxon also highlighted comments made by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott two years ago about receiving funding from the tobacco industry.
"I thought people might like to know, today is the two year anniversary from the leader of the opposition telling a Q&A audience that he intended to keep on taking those donations for as long as tobacco was legal," she said.
On Wednesday, Australian Greens senator Richard Di Natale accused the government of partially funding its High Court defence with the proceeds of more than $200 million of tobacco investments by the Future Fund.
"In one way we're helping fund this toxic industry to take legal action against us," he told reporters.
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