THE NEWS WRAP: Tony Abbott backs away from supporting plain cigarette packaging

Federal opposition leader Tony Abbott has backed away from supporting plain cigarette packaging, saying that that the Government’s proposals could prove “counterproductive.”

 

Meanwhile, the large tobacco companies have pledged to take legal action over the move, which would ban all branding from packets, replacing it with a single green colour and a health warning.

 

The chief executive of British American Tobacco Australia, David Crow, said the industry would ”spend as much as it takes” to fight the changes.

 

Crow also warned that the change could see Australia flooded with cut-price cigarettes, while retailers have expressed concerns that plan packaging won’t have any impact on smoking rates.

 

Combet scotches $40 carbon price

 

Greg Combet, the climate change minister, has said that the carbon price will be “well south” of $40 a tonne, following claims by the Greens that any price lower than this level will fail to drive a shift to renewable energy production.

 

Greg Evans, director of Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, warned that a $40 a tonne price would be like “clear felling” Australian businesses.

 

Gates reveals Skype takeover role

 

Microsoft founder Bill Gates has revealed that he pushed for the company’s takeover of Skype, urging board members to push ahead with the acquisition.

 

Gates, who stepped away from his full-time role at Microsoft in 2008 and is now a non-executive chairman, said that the move to buy Skype was strategic, telling the BBC: “The idea of video conferencing is going to get so much better than it is today. Skype actually does get a fair bit of revenue.”

 

Overnight

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 68.79 points to 12,479.58. The Australian dollar edged up to 106.27 US cents

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