The Fifth Estate: Big Tobacco

The Fifth Estate: Big Tobacco

Four years ago, Australia became the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

Well, ‘plain packaging’ is probably a misnomer; ‘hideous packaging’ might be closer to the mark. In Australia today, regardless of which brand you choose, your cigarette packet will come plastered in public health warnings and photos of mouth cancer.

It’s supposed to make smoking unappealing, and it’s working. The United Kingdom and France have already followed suit, with a number of other countries – including New Zealand and Canada – looking set to adopt plain packaging soon. What are the next frontiers in the battle against Big Tobacco?

Sally Warhaft speaks with former health minister Nicola Roxon, who introduced the plain packaging initiative under the Labor government, and Kylie Lindorff, manager of tobacco control policy at Cancer Council Victoria, to take stock of the tobacco control movement in Australia – and discuss the fight against Big Tobacco around the globe.


Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

Portrait of Kylie Lindorff

Kylie Lindorff

Kylie is Manager of Tobacco Control Policy at the Cancer Council Victoria in Australia. She has been working in tobacco control for 18 years, holding various positions within both government and non-government organisations. In 2010 she was seconded to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing for 15 months to lead the team tasked with developing Australia’s tobacco plain packaging legislation. Kylie is a member of the Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Plain Packaging.  

Portrait of Nicola Roxon

Nicola Roxon

Nicola Roxon became Australia’s first female Attorney- General in 2011, a culmination of a stellar political career and impressive legal background. As Health Minister, she negotiated reforms to Australia’s public hospital, primary care and preventative health systems. Roxon retired from politics in 2013, and is now an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University's College of Law and Justice.

Listen to The Fifth Estate: Big Tobacco