You are here

Gaming Control Amendment (Future Gaming Market) Bill 2021

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 27 October 2021

Tags: Pokies, Gambling Industry, Legislation

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - I want to echo the sentiments that Ms Johnston spoke of just then. It is very distressing to have spent some two days speaking on this bill. This bill has been a really long time coming. It has been years. In fact, the whole time since I have been in Parliament, since 2015, I have been waiting for this amendment bill to be tabled. It has been the most discussed bill in the community in my history and knowledge of being a member of the Tasmanian community and a member of the parliament.

Here we are today and it is distressing, on behalf of the community sector and people who work every day with people who are enmired in gambling addiction, and their families and all the neighbourhood centres, and all the other community groups who deal with all the other people around them who are affected.

To hear the evidence that we presented on behalf of the people who made very passionate submissions to multiple stages of the draft bill, to hear their words being talked of through our mouths as being morally superior and somehow on a moral grandstand, as though it is sanctimonious to keep reminding members of the Labor and the Liberal Party of the public interest test. That should have been put first and foremost in front of every single clause of this bill and yet, at every point, it was put to the end. What we looked at was fundamentally where we have ended up - a deck that has now been fully loaded in the favour of Federal Hotels.

The two parties have lined up in 43 divisions that we called, Labor and the Liberals stood together and voted 43 times against some important amendments, not to get rid of the bill but to make that bill a little bit less harmful for people who sit stuck in chairs continuing every single day to spend their money and put it down the drain when they do not want to. There were opportunities 43 times to not just do what the people who have made submissions in Tasmania but also the psychologists, the academics who have been working in gambling addiction, the economists and the multiple parliamentary inquiries. The spirit of the Tasmanian people in the late 1960s when this was for the very first time a spectre on the horizon of something awful that could come to Tasmania, people were incredibly clear and they have never changed in their clarity, that we do not want poker machines in pubs and clubs.

The Greens and Ms Johnston, we have done what we can to put those views on the table. Those words will now sit in Hansard. We just hope that at a future time there is a government that is able to do something to unstitch what, just at this point in time, looks like a forever commitment by the Labor and Liberal parties to put the interests of Federal Hotels and the THA ahead of disadvantaged Tasmanians.