The surprise move this week by the Gillard Government to replace Labor’s Harry Jenkins with the Liberals’ Peter Slipper as Speaker of the House of Representatives has led to speculation that the deal struck between independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Prime Minister Julia Gillard to introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology for poker machines is off.
But that’s not necessarily the case. The Rev Tim Costello, chair of the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, said he had no doubt the Government would continue its gambling reforms.
“With stronger numbers in the House, contentious legislation like the Government’s proposed poker machine reforms stand a better chance of getting up,” he said.
Australians spend $12 billion a year on poker machines, and 40 per cent of clubs revenue comes from people addicted to poker machines. This is an ethically indefensible business model and would not be tolerated in any other industry. Let’s hope the Prime Minister keeps her word and remains committed to poker machine reform.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 27 November 2011.