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Gaming Industry


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Tags: Gambling Industry, Tasmanian Hospitality Association, Federal Group, Political Donations, Corruption

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise tonight also to talk about partnerships but not the healthy ones that Ms Finlay, the member for Bass was talking about.

I want to talk about the unhealthy relationship between the gambling industry and the two major parties in this state. Before I am pulled up, Mr Deputy Speaker, I am not talking about the legislation that was tabled this morning. I am not, and have no intention, of pre empting an Order of the Day.

This is a tale just today of two captured political parties. It is perfectly captured in two separate statements that were made today and these statements point to the corrupting influence of the Tasmanian Hospitality Association on both the Labor and the Liberal parties.

This morning on ABC Radio's Leon Compton program, we heard for the first time some clue about a harm minimisation approach from Labor which has folded on its previous policy to remove poker machines from pubs and clubs. Mr Winter, the shadow finance spokesperson, was on Leon Compton's program. He says, 'We have spoken to the THA, we have spoken to hotel operators around the state, north west, north and south, been and visited them, spoken to people operating the machines, the workers, we have spoken to all of them.' Nothing in there about people who are afflicted by gambling but, 'we have also spoken to TASCOSS, the Salvation Army, Anglicare, all of those groups, et cetera'.

What we heard today on Leon Compton is that the two policies of harm minimisation that the party is looking at are card-based-play for machines in Tasmania and the other one, Mr Winter said on Leon Compton, is to follow the South Australian model which is about facial recognition technology. He said obviously the Labor Party would not be supporting one dollar bet limits or slower spins but what we heard for the first time today was Labor is committed at some level to a facial recognition technology approach to harm minimisation and to pre commitment cards.

Lo and behold, Mr Deputy Speaker, we get a Dorothy Dixer to the Minister for Finance today in which he talks about harm minimisation and he says:

I will be directing the commission [the Tasmanian Gaming Commission], to provide a report, including options, costs and benefits and implementation mechanisms for: first, facial recognition technology in hotels, clubs and casinos in support of the Tasmanian Gambling Exclusion Scheme.

Then, secondly, he is very interested in a smart card based client identification system for electronic gaming machines in hotels, pubs, clubs and casinos. Mr Deputy Speaker, for those of us who are interested in integrity, that is the most vomitous and transparent example of the complete lack of difference between the Liberal and Labor parties on gambling.

This is the Liberal party that let the THA, the Federal Group and the gambling industry buy the 2018 state election for them and this is the Labor Party that took money from the Federal Group this time for the 2021 state election after being busted having signed a secret agreement with the Tasmanian Hospitality Association which says it:

commits the Labor Party to agreeing to work together on the development of potential, viable harm minimisation measures for gaming products while also agreeing that any measures need to be workable for industry.

What do you know? In the Tasmanian Hospitality Association's submission -

We would like to work with the government to see the CSL better spent to help minimise harm from problem gambling. We believe that funding could be provided to look at better ways of producing photos for venues of excluded persons.

Facial recognition technology, Mr Deputy Speaker. The THA also talks about precommitment technology. Yes, Mr Ellis over here tries to say that what we are talking about is a conspiracy. Bloody oath it is. It is a conspiracy against the Tasmanian people. It is a conspiracy against democracy and decency and transparency. It is a conspiracy between the gambling industry and the major parties in this state which has poisoned the soul of this island for 40 years.

It has taken people's lives away from them, it has taken their livelihoods away from them, it has broken families, it has led to child abuse and neglect, mental illness, addiction - my oath it is a conspiracy and that conspiracy is written about perfectly in James Boyce's book. The conspiracy is obvious.

You have got the gambling industry conspiring with the major parties in this state to shaft the people of Tasmania and today we saw it writ large where the Minister for Finance and the Shadow Minister for Finance were arguing for the two exact same harm minimisation measures.

Ms BUTLER - Two hours apart, though.

Ms O'CONNOR - It is sickening. Two hours apart, was it, Ms Butler? Thank you for that. Well, that makes a massive difference because obviously the minister -

Ms BUTLER - Do you think the minister may have heard him on the radio?

Ms O'CONNOR - Obviously he is taking his cues from the Shadow Minister for Finance - what a load of rubbish. What has happened here is the THA has stitched up both the Liberal and the Labor parties. It has written the legislation. It has prescribed what harm minimisation it will accept. It has both these parties in its back pocket and do you know what that is, Mr Deputy Speaker? That is institutional corruption; that is what it is.

Two political parties bought and paid for by a gambling industry which has been sucking the life out of this island for decades and I just thought it was worth putting that on parliament's record because the Greens are not going to see this sort of thing happening and stay silent.

When the bill comes on, we will do the right thing, unlike our colleagues in the Labor Party who sold out, who sold out the public interest, who sold out the interests of small business, who will be losing out of their back pockets for eternity as a result of this legislation which is backed by these two corrupt major parties.