Last week, Australian anti-smoker obsessive Mike Daube was caught lying about the decision to ban the opera Carmen because it is set in a cigarette factory. To recap:
To cut a long story short, a state government body, Healthway - of which Mike Daube is a board member - forced the West Australian Opera to ditch a production of the 1875 composition because it is set in a cigarette factory. This prompted global hilarity at Aussie state censorship, but had Western Australia's Premier spitting blood about the embarrassment and the Australian Prime Minister chipping in with condemnation too.Daube, being a tobacco controller, refused to show contrition for such an absurd outcome, and instead pretended it was nothing to do with him by blaming the opera company instead.
However, such was the absurdity of the decision and the embarrassment of Australian citizens, politicians and media, it didn't take long for someone to leak Healthway minutes which showed that Daube had openly lied to the media.
Leaked minutes of Healthway's April meeting show its arts advisory committee put forward three options to handle problems caused by a longstanding ban on funding performances that contained depictions of smoking.
The minutes are directly at odds with versions of the funding row given by both Healthway and the WA Opera.
But the minutes show the bid to water down the policy was vigorously opposed by anti-smoking campaigner Mike Daube.
"Professor Daube stated there was no pressure for Healthway to change its current position," the minutes say.Healthway have since been given a severe rap on the knuckles and told not to be so bloody stupid again. But the stink of Daube's actions must still be acrid to Australians because two different news sources have been researching his involvement with Healthway.
The West Australian looked into the funding handed out by the organisation, and the Australian has also run the story. It don't look good.
"TWO lobby groups run by anti-smoking activist Mike Daube have secured $2 million in taxpayer-funded grants from West Australian government agency Healthway since the Perth academic joined the board in 2010.
The Australian Council on Smoking and Health, of which Professor Daube is president, has been one of the biggest recipients of Healthway’s grants over the past three years, receiving $225,000 in 2011, $231,000 in 2012 and $237,000 last year.
Professor Daube’s campaigns at ACOSH include lobbying to ban smoking in people’s homes, mental health facilities and the nation’s prisons. Another group, the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA, of which Professor Daube is director, has received $1.28m in grants since 2010.
Grants made to ACOSH and PHAIWA since Professor Daube joined the Healthway board total $1.97m, according to an examination of the agency’s annual reports.Healthway insist that Daube was not involved in the actual committees awarding these funds, so I suppose his pet projects receiving huge sums of taxpayer cash from an organisation Daube is a board member of is just an uncanny coincidence.
As a side note, this whole palaver - which could have been avoided if Daube hadn't exercised such a psychotic error of judgement - has also highlighted the insane nature of 'public health' funding in Australia.
The grants were made to two PHAIWA programs that promote public health advocacy through “professional development” and “knowledge transfer”.
Professor Daube established the institute in 2008 at Curtin University, where he is employed. It lists Healthway as its biggest sponsor. The institute focuses on reducing obesity and alcohol consumption and runs courses to train “emerging leaders” in how to become the “advocates of tomorrow” in areas such as lobbying governments.Just think about that for a moment. Not only has Daube made himself a decades long career of receiving government money to use for lobbying the government - a stunning abuse of taxpayer funds in itself - he is also using government money to train others how to use government money to lobby government!
And Healthway, of which he is a board member, is the organisation awarding government money to Daube's organisation ... which uses government money to train others how to use government money to lobby government.
Is your mind boggled yet?
Mike Daube's similarly obsessive mates - as we have come to expect of the tobacco control industry - are desperately pretending that the truth didn't happen and that he's done nothing wrong, but they should really be listening to advice from WA Today.
Number one rule, do not lie to the media as it will only come back to bite you.Quite. In this case, to the tune of $2 million.