Senator To Continue to Fight for Pokie Reform
Tuesday, 22nd May 2012 at 4:43 pm
Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon says the Government’s poker machine reforms are fundamentally flawed and reaffirmed he will continue to push for what he describes as ‘meaningful reform’.
The Gillard Government secured the support of Independent MP Andrew Wilkie earlier today, however, Senator Xenophon said the Government’s reform will not get through the Senate in its current form.
“This watered down deal still has to get through the Senate. I won’t be backing it and I understand the Greens aren’t happy with it either,” Xenaphon said.
“This is a loss disguised as a win. This is a deal that will not materialise into anything. It’s a plan to do nothing.
“This plan also relies on Labor being in Government after the next election, and that’s a bet I wouldn’t be taking,” he said.
Senator Xenophon says he will continue to push his Poker Machine Harm Reduction Bill in the Senate which is co-sponsored by Senators Richard Di Natale and John Madigan.
“Our Bill legislates for what would really make a difference to problem gamblers: $1 maximum bets,” Xenaphon said.
“I don’t understand why the Government can’t at the very least make machines $1 maximum bet ready. It just shows they are not serious about reform that would make a real difference to problem gamblers. Not only has the Productivity Commission said this technology should be implemented without a trial, a Stop the Loss Coalition commissioned survey found a whopping 83 per cent of Australians want action on problem gambling with $1 bets,” he said.
Senator Xenophon said the Government could not be trusted after reneging on its written agreement with Andrew Wilkie for mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines across the country.
“Andrew Wilkie has behaved honourably throughout this process. I can’t say the same for the Government,” he said.