Cop says he’s on the verge of breaking low-cost cigarette trade

“Make no mistake, these criminal syndicates – and their associated offending linked to illicit tobacco – have the complete attention of police and we will do everything we can to bring this to an end and hold those responsible to account,” Inspector Kennedy said.

The words illegal and illicit, of course, are trite code for un-taxed. But is there anything immoral about supplying a fairly priced and legal-to-use product whose consumers are being flagrantly extorted by a Godfather-like purveyor of monopolised violence? Not at all. The Lord enjoined us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, not foolishly donate extras he has no right to have. For there is something immoral about knowingly creating a black market that unleashes predictably disastrous externalities. Just as the US Volstead Act of 1919 led to Al Capone, $50 cigarettes will lead to turf brawls and worse. Policemen have better things to do than wack competitors on behalf of government racketeers.

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22 Responses to Cop says he’s on the verge of breaking low-cost cigarette trade

  1. Jannie says:

    IIRC Tony Abbott passed a law which increased tobacco tax by 25%, then 5-12% per year ongoing, plus “index increases”. Tax per kilo has gone from $236 in 1999, to $1842 in 2023. (link below) I think that means that over 90% of the price of tobacco is tax, the retail price increasing by close to 15% per year. Tobacco will soon or eventually be more expensive than marijuana.

    And they feign surprise at the evil black market. Haha.

  2. Jannie says:

    In central Queensland a few months ago i saw a few people at a muster who were smoking chop chop from facsimiles of Drum packets, but it came from up North somewhere and is reasonably cured. It cost about $20 for a 5o gram packet (not saying i got any), the retail packet cost over $100.

    A lot of people try to grow their own, the plant grows easily. But to dry it and cure it takes some skill, and i smoked some homegrown which tasted horrible. Still, the punters are learning, and backyard crops are coming soon.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    It was fun when several lefty states in the US legalized pot, then licensed shops to sell it.

    The taxes were so high that all the shops went bankrupt, because the black market was already in place, and could undercut the state controlled outlets. And since pot was now legal it was very hard to prosecute anyone for illicit supply. Besides which cops were too busy chasing righties saying stuff on the internet.

    The end of the line is a place like Greece where pretty much everyone evades tax. Laffer must be laughing at the Left.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The other one is of course vaping. That will be impossible to control, since a 100 mL bottle chemically pure nicotine can be had for about $500 from a chemical supplier like Aldrich or Merck. That would provide enough nicotine for ten thousand vapes. That would represent a gold mine for black marketeers, an incredible amount of profit from a single bottle. And liquid nicotine looks like water, so would be pretty easy to smuggle.

  5. MatrixTransform says:

    the big question is what brand does Dan Andrews smoke?

    I bet he’s that bloke that continually bots off everybody else

  6. rosie says:

    The taxes were so high that all the shops went bankrupt,

    that doesn’t appear to be correct

  7. MatrixTransform says:

    …got a spare ciggie comrade?

    … what about 2 bucks for the tram?

  8. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    It’s ironic that the most vibrantly free market and capitalist business sector in the Western world are the crooks.

  9. Rabz says:

    IIRC Tony Abbott passed a law which increased tobacco tax by 25%, then 5-12% per year ongoing, plus “index increases”

    No, Jannie – it was Rudd.

  10. Rabz says:

    From the ALPBC: Labore last raised the tobacco excise by 25 per cent in April 2010

    The Garudain in 2013: The tobacco excise will be increased by 12.5% over the next four years

    The excise increases were in place before Abbott won in 2013 (not that I’m trying to defend him).

  11. C.L. says:

    The Australian reported yesterday that there are now at least 1000 new “illicit” tobacco shops in Victoria alone.

    Classic case of diminishing marginal utility. States (and provinces in Canada) are now ‘losing’ revenue because they taxed cigarettes to the tipping point; taxed them so much that ‘criminals’ stepped in and took ‘their’ money.

    Where I do my bigger shops, there’s a crazy, ragged, lovable old dear who sits outside the complex sunning herself and watching the world go by. Loves her cigs. She’d be well into her 70s. I happened to be next to her at the cig counter recently and watched as she eked out in coins the extortion to buy a pack of cheap darts.

    Then I thought of our disgusting betters like Albo and Alan Joyce – always laughing, always paying themselves more, always rich and always free to indulge their more polite addictions. 😡

  12. and says:

    The difficulty is explaining the extent of the extortion in Australia. Going back to the 2010s, there were 2 lots of 4 x 12.5% tax hikes, i.e., 8 years of 12.5% tax hikes each year. Both lots were proposed by Labor. The Libs initially protested, then within about a week came back, tails between their legs, also adopting the Labor-proposed hikes, word for word. The directive to tax the heck out of tobacco comes from the UN agency, the World Health Organization. The WHO runs the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Although most nations are signed up to the FCTC, the extent of taxing of tobacco and other anti-tobacco measures in Australia indicates just how beholden to the WHO is Australia. The WHO pressure on the political class comes from government bureaucracies – unelected public serpents.

    Both federal and state governments share the “loot”: State governments get a share of the GST on tobacco tax. It’s a government-run racket protected by other government resources, e.g., Border Force, AFP. The link below (in $US) highlights that Australia is way ahead of other nations as to the extent of the extortion.

    If the insanity to date wasn’t enough, in the last budget, Snake Chalmers has upped tobacco excise by 5% per year for each of the next 3 years.

    Australia ruled by the UN should not be underestimated. Australia is not only “in”. It’s “all in”, whether it be the FCTC or the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), or LG HDTV.

  13. Shy Ted says:

    Prohibition might not have worked last time or the time before that or the one before but it will this time.

  14. and says:


    It was Labor (Bracks/Thwaites) in Victoria that introduced indoor smoking bans in the hospitality sector. It was the Hunchback who introduced smoking bans in outdoor sections of hospitality venues in 2017.

    Here’s the Hunchback having a sneaky cig:

    Daniel Andrews spotted puffing a cigarette outside function.

  15. cuckoo says:

    Then I thought of our disgusting betters like Albo and Alan Joyce – always laughing, always paying themselves more, always rich and always free to indulge their more polite addictions.

    Bur God forbid you get a telephoto shot of Joe Hockey smoking a cigar. And every time they bring up the ‘corruption’ charges against Bibi Netanyahu, the headline is that he accepted gifts of cigars.

  16. Lee says:

    Meanwhile, here in Victoria, in Richmond crime and other social problems flourish in and near Dan Andrews’ ironically called “safe-injecting” rooms, where you can shoot up on illegal drugs.

    It has also massively affected real estate values negatively.

  17. Petros says:

    Seems like a good idea to place those injecting rooms in Greens electorates if the Libs had any balls.

  18. Perfidious Albino says:

    Old mate of mine was an investigator for the State Revenue Office back in the day – routinely staked out milk bars in regional VIC for illicit cig sales reckon that was 20 years ago – nothing changes.

  19. and says:

    Simon Crapman has had a long career in Tobacco Control, a high-profile contributor to the antismoking insanity. He’s also a strong advocate – like his antismoking buddy, the Pirate of Piffle – for medically-assisted death (MAD). Want to guess what his stance is on the Voice™?

  20. Bruce of Newcastle says:


    ‘We want to try and do our part’: NSW government cracking down on illegal vapes (Sky News, 26 Sep)

    New South Wales Health Minister Ryan Park says the Minns government is trying to crack down on retailers selling illegal vapes that contain nicotine.

    The New South Wales government will spend nearly $7 million over three years to crack down on black market vapes.

    “We want to try and do our part in this challenge and that is by cracking down on retailers who are selling these products, particularly to young children,” Mr Park told Sky News Australia.

    “What we’re seeing is very young children getting almost a nicotine addiction at a very, very young age, an addiction that is hard to get off.”

    The state government has ramped up its raids on tobacco stores, seizing more than 23,000 illegal vapes over the past few weeks.

    Got a pain in your budgetary nerve eh son? That’s too bad. Mr Laffer laffs.

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