While Kevin Rudd announced a crackdown on tobacco advertising and increased sales tax on cigarettes, attention was diverted from the elephant in the livingroom: climate change and addiction to coal. At the same time Friends of the Earth Australia denounced the development of two new coal export terminals near Bowen in North Queensland, insisting the expansion of Queensland's biggest contributor to climate change must come to an end. Adding an extra $2 sales tax a pack to cigarettes is a diversion from the real problem: Australia's multi-billion dollar addiction to coal. What Kevin Rudd needs to do is put a $35 per tonne carbon levy on coal to send a significant message to business and the public on climate change and public health.
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