Monday 6. June, 2016

Australian Elections an Opportunity for Gambling Reform

Independent senator for South Australia and anti-gambling advocate, Nick Xenophon has said that the upcoming Australian elections are an opportunity to focus on gambling reform. Independent MP Andrew Wilkie and the Greens are also in favour of gambling reform.

Nick Xenophon and his team look like they may be heading towards winning as many as four Senate seats with the chance of a Lower House seat in the election. The Greens and Mr Wilkie are battling it out for a possible second Lower House seat.

“We could have quite an unprecedented situation where a large number of key crossbenchers in both houses of Parliament do have a genuine, deep interest in reform,” said Mr Wilkie.

In 2012, Mr Wilkie put forward poker machine reforms; however, the then prime minister Julia Gillard backed out of a deal and the reforms were knocked off the agenda. Senator Xenophon stressed that gambling reforms have always been a priority for him.

“It will always be at the top of my agenda,” said Mr Xenophon. “Predatory gambling is [a] litmus test of good government.”

“If a government is prepared to sacrifice literally hundreds of thousands of individuals because of gambling policies that allow this level of harm, then what else is going wrong?”

Mr Wilkie says he sees this situation as a “wonderful opportunity” as the polls are tightening and a hung parliament looks like a possibility with a number of anti-poker campaigners on the crossbench. “If it is a power-sharing parliament, it is quite possible we will have a number of key players who are quite committed to substantial poker machine reform,” he said.

Prime Minister Turnbull is calling on voters to vote against Xenophon and the Greens and to avoid another hung parliament.


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