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Gutwein Must Rethink Pokies in his 'Compassionate' Tasmania

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Tags: Pokies, Tasmanian Hospitality Association, Political Donations

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader

The Gambling Currency Report released by Roy Morgan Research confirms Tasmania has a problem with pokies.

Tasmanian poker machines use is above the national average, the consequence of which is increased harm within the State’s most disadvantaged communities.

The Gambling Currency Report confirms that outside of poker machine use, only 4.7% of Tasmanians had placed a bet in the past three months. This is the lowest rate in the nation.

Clearly, poker machines are the primary driver of socio-economic harm, causing devastating impacts to individual addicts and their families.

Former Treasurer, now Premier, Peter Gutwein, was the face of the Liberals’ pokies policy that will see millions leeched from Tasmania’s most disadvantaged flow back to the pokies barons every year for the next two decades.

In his first statement as Premier, Mr Gutwein said he wanted a more compassionate Tasmania, where no one gets left behind. If this is what the new Premier really wants, he needs an immediate rethink on pokies.

If Mr Gutwein is capable of a road to Damascus conversion towards compassion for gambling addicts, he can literally save lives and livelihoods.

The THA memberships' large, and largely hidden, donations to the Liberals clearly paid for themselves. That harmful policy needs to be reversed.

The fear-mongering and lies pedalled by the Liberals to win an election were revolting and they had a corrupting effect on our democracy.

Tasmanians are suffering real harm from pokies, and the now-Premier needs to take it seriously – and compassionately.

Premier Gutwein is right – more compassion is needed from government. Let’s see if he’s the real deal on the need to protect economically marginalised Tasmanians from the cancerous impact of poker machines in pubs and clubs.