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Concern over Pokies Terms of Reference Falls on Gutwein's Deaf Ears

7 April 2016

Ms DAWKINS question to TREASURER, Mr GUTWEIN

Yesterday, you accused the Greens of playing politics with pokies when we called for the expanded terms of reference for the parliamentary select inquiry into gambling.  Are Brighton Council and TasCOSS also playing politics?  In the past 24 hours, both Brighton Council and TasCOSS have echoed the Greens' calls for the terms of reference to be expanded to ask whether the majority of Tasmanians want EGMs in our pubs and clubs at all.  Will you commit to an expanded terms of reference which includes this request from two key stakeholders who see first-hand the enormous harm caused by poker machines?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Bass for for her question, and for the opportunity to clarify this matter.  The politics that the Greens have played in this place on the pokies issue have appalled me.  I have made it perfectly clear that the terms of reference allow for representations to be made by people who do not support pokies or those that do support them, and to have those claims tested.

Ms O'Connor - How many are they?  Steve Old ?

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I have already warned the member about throwing around third-party names in this House.  I am not going to continue to stand for it.  I heard it again yesterday afternoon, but I was not in the chair, otherwise I would have dealt with it then.

Ms O'Connor - On your ruling, Madam Speaker, can I ask which standing order that comes under?

Madam SPEAKER - It is a convention of this House.  It is not a specific standing order.  We do not make personal attacks on members who have no opportunity to defend themselves; otherwise it needs to be dealt with, as you know, through Hansard.  A member would be well advised to not have to go through that process, I am sure.

Ms O'Connor - Thank you, Madam Speaker.  I remind the House that Mr Brooks has spent a lot of time personally attacking Scott Jordan by name in this place, and swearing.

Madam SPEAKER - Various members of the public at various times have public roles, I agree, and quite often become candidates in political campaigns.  I am sure we have all been slurred in this House before we have been elected to this House.  If we put our hand up for election, sometimes, you know, we cop that on the chin.  For outside parties who are in no way connected with politics but are simply doing their job, I would urge members that it just makes sense to not slur people in that manner.  By all means refer to various organisations and lobby groups or stakeholder groups, but to single out individuals who do not have an opportunity readily available straight away to correct the record in this House, it is a matter of common sense that we should not do that.  It is a matter of decency.

Mr GUTWEIN - Groups such as TasCOSS, the Brighton Council, or any other council that has a particular interest in this matter, can make a representation to a joint House committee on which there will be one member of the Liberal Party, one member of the Labor Party, and one member of the Greens.  There will also be members of the upper House who will be a part of that joint select committee.  The terms of reference that I have proposed will be able to be debated in this place and they will be able to be debated in the upper House.  The Government is firmly of the view that regardless of what your view might be regarding pokie machines, whether you are TasCOSS or -

Ms O'Connor - Anglicare.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The Treasurer does not need the assistance of the member for Denison, who would be well advised to sit there and listen to the answer.

Mr GUTWEIN - Whether you are TasCOSS, Brighton Council or any other interested party, whether you support poker machines or not, you will be able to make a representation to this Parliamentary committee and you will be able to have your voice heard through that committee.  You will also be able to have the claims that you are making tested through that committee.  That has not happened before.  The last deal was struck in secret; you know that.

Opposition members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.

Mr GUTWEIN - It went to the PAC after the legislation had been framed.  What we have done here is to turn this on its head.  We have expressed the Government's views clearly in regard to a number of key structural matters.  We have announced that we will have a parliamentary inquiry that can hear views from whoever wants to bring those views forward and have them tested.  It is irresponsible of the Greens in this place to continue to make the false claim that those who have a view that there should be no pokies at all will not be able to have those views heard.  They will be able to have those views heard and tested. 

I urge the Greens to be responsible through this process.  They are seeking to curry political advantage as a result of their position on this.  There is no other way it can be described.  They know that those who are against pokies and those who are for pokies will be able to have their views heard and, importantly, have those views tested through the parliamentary committee process we have brought to this House and which I hope will be set up in the next session.