Mobile phone users should be slugged with a $5 annual levy to raise $40 million to research possible harmful radiation effects from the phones, the chairwoman of a Senate inquiry said today.
Australian Democrats Senator Lyn Allison said the year-long inquiry had shown that Australian standards, based on the heat output of mobile phones, were inadequate.
Allison said the levy could fund research that could be principally handled by the CSIRO as the telecommunications industry had little inclination to examine safety issues.
"I am also disappointed that industry still promotes the use of mobiles by children," the Senator said.
While failing to gain the support of either the government or opposition she said there is a growing body of evidence that even low-level radiation can cause damage.
Liberal Senator John Tierney, the inquiry's deputy chairman, labelled the inquiry a waste of time and accused Allison of engaging in a scare campaign.
Tierney said there is no conclusive evidence at this stage proving mobile phone radiation created any adverse health effects.