Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen.
Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen. Sarah Harvey

No butts - Independents leader wants smoking banned

A SUNSHINE Coast Senate candidate has called for a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places.

Australian Independents leader Patricia Petersen said current cigarette laws did not go far enough and called for a hardline approach.

Under the party's proposal smoking would be allowed only inside private residences or in cars.

Public smoking laws vary from state to state. In Queensland smoking is banned on patrolled and artificial beaches, at sporting stadiums, within 10metres of playgrounds and within four metres of businesses.

Dr Petersen said the proposal was inspired after a series of incidents she witnessed around Noosa.

She said she recently watched a man inadvertently feed a cigarette butt to a pelican when he flicked it on the ground and the bird mistook it for food.

She was alarmed by the number of cigarette butts littered around Noosa's waterways.

"Smoking is an addiction and a disease," she said.

"When someone has an addiction, the last thing they want is someone being heavy-handed and telling you that you have to limit the impact of that addiction to yourself.

"But the reality is, this is what's right for the community, the children and the taxpayers. I don't think we can turn a blind eye. We need to do something to protect us and the aquatic animals."

The Queensland Cancer Council said it wanted to see the party's proposal in greater detail before deciding if it would support it.

Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president Michael Cope described the measure as a step too far.

"We accept much of the argument against smoking, but this is going too far," he said.

"Smoking is legal and smokers are already restricted as to where they can smoke. We see this as taking a nanny state approach."