Thursday 12. May, 2016

Tasmanian Voters Not Particularly Concerned Over Pokies According to New MLC

The new member for Elwick in Tasmania’s Legislative Council, Josh Willie, insists that according to people he spoke to during his campaign, Tasmanian voters are not particularly concerned about poker machines.

Mr Willie was recently elected and has become the second Labor Party representative, along with two Liberal representatives, in the 15-member legislative council. Mr Willie replaced independent MLC Adriana Taylor.

Mr Willie, a former teacher, spent six weeks door knocking with his team as part of his campaign. He says that while many issues came up with voters, poker machines were not high on the agenda. He estimated that his team knocked on around 11,000 doors during the six-week campaign period.

“It didn’t particularly come up as a strong issue,” stated Mr Willie. “There were stronger issues like education, health, jobs and the bus service.”

However, Ms Taylor who was elected to the Upper House in 2010 and who Mr Willie is replacing as MLC, insisted that she had a different experience.

Punters in Elwick have lost heavily to poker machines and these losses have impacted individual lives and the lives of the relatives of problem gamblers. The suburb of Glenorchy is included in the seat of Elwick, a suburb in which punters lost in excess of $20 million in the last financial year on the 270 machines in the area.

“The poker machine issue is a major issue for the electorate of Elwick and you know the Labor Party doesn’t have a policy on that yet at the moment so that’s a big issue, I think,” said Ms Taylor.

Member Pat Caplice, who grew up in Glenorchy, echoes this sentiment adding, “The penetration of pokies in Glenorchy is just outrageous. It rip the money out of the community.”

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