One of the principle moral challenges facing NSW politicians during this election campaign is how to balance the need for gambling reform against pressure from cashed-up pubs and clubs who donate to political parties and demand relaxing rather than tightening the law.
Both the Premier, Kristina Keneally, and Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell have indicated they do not support calls by church and community leaders for gambling reform.
There is pressure on the federal government to act, but NSW and the other states would also need to move on gambling if the changes recommended by Senator Nick Zenophon and Mr Andrew Wilkie are to be effective.
Mr Wilkie confirmed this week that his support for the Gillard government hinged on whether it implemented a mandatory pre-commitment system that allowed poker machine players to put limits on their gambling.
Governments are elected by ordinary people, not by big business. An undertaking by Ms Keneally or Mr O’Farrell to support a mandatory pre-commitment system would give voters a clear choice at the ballot box on March 26. It’s time for leadership.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 Feb 2011.