Legal Advice on Gambling Reform
Thursday, 3rd February 2011 at 10:09 am
The Federal Government says it has received legal advice that it has the power to legislate to introduce reforms to address problem gambling.
The Government has released legal advice saying it is committed to working with the states and territories and industry to introduce key reforms which address the harm from problem gambling, including a full pre-commitment scheme for poker machines.
The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, agreed with the Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, to commission the legal advice. The Prime Minister and Mr Wilkie also agreed that the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform would be informed of the legal advice.
State and territory governments are responsible for the regulation of the gambling industry, except for online gambling.
However, the Productivity Commission recommended the Commonwealth intervene if the states and territories do not agree to implement gambling reforms Australia wide.
The federal Government says problem gambling is a serious issue and it believes more must be done to help problem gamblers and their families, particularly by reducing the harm caused by poker machines.
It says research shows that three-quarters of severe problem gamblers have problems with poker machines.
Problem gambling can destroy families and ruin lives. Problem gamblers spend an average of $21,000 a year on gambling.
The federal Government has written to Andrew Wilkie, as Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, to state and territory colleagues on the Council of Australian Governments Select Council on Gambling Reform, and to Professor Peter Shergold, the, Chair of the Ministerial Expert Advisory Group on Gambling Reform, to provide them with the legal advice.
The advice from the Australian Government Solicitor confirms there are a range of constitutional heads of power available to the Federal Government, including corporations, trade and commerce, telecommunications, banking, currency, taxation and territories powers.
The Federal Government says that while this advice identifies the legislative options available to the Commonwealth, it remains committed to reaching an agreement with the states and territories to progress these reforms.
The legal advise provided to the Government can be downloaded at http://www.jennymacklin.fahcsia.gov.au/mediareleases/2011/Documents/Legal_advice.pdf