The Convenor of the Tasmanian Greens, Rosalie Gorton-Lee, and I have today written to the Premier, Leader of the Opposition and their respective Party Directors and Secretaries calling on them to make a public commitment to refusing donations from the Farrell family in the lead up to, during or after the next State Election.
With the Federal monopoly Deed due to formally expire in 2018 and end in 2019, now is a critical time for our democracy. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
The future of the monopoly Deed needs to be decided in clear air, openly and transparently, without the unhealthy, self-serving influence that the Farrell family’s money has bought from Labor and the Liberals in the past.
Since 2002, the Farrell family has donated $152,625 to both the Liberal and Labor parties, and that is just the money we know about via the Australian Electoral Commission returns.
It has been standard operating procedure for the Farrell family to make sizeable donations to both the major parties in the lead up to past State elections.
Because Tasmania has the weakest donations’ disclosure laws in the country, Tasmanian voters don’t know about these donations until up to 18 months after they have been made.
The Farrell family makes these donations because they know their money buys influence with the Labor and Liberal parties. The Farrells’ investment has more than paid off, with the actions of Labor and Liberal majority governments consistently putting the Federal Group’s financial interests ahead of the public interest.
The cosy relationship that the Farrell family has with both the Labor and Liberal parties has cost Tasmania dearly. Lives and livelihoods have been lost, families have fallen apart, children have gone without, all because the Groom Liberal Government allowed pokies into pubs and clubs in 1992-3 and the Bacon Labor Government secretly extended the deal for another 15 years in 2002-3.
Historically, when the Farrell family has said ‘jump’, the Labor and Liberal parties have asked, ‘how high?’ The social and economic cost of this has been extreme with almost $200 million coming out of the pockets of people living in areas of socio-economic disadvantage in a single year.
We are giving the Labor and Liberal parties an opportunity to make some amends for the harm they have caused in the past, and to act in the public interest on poker machines.
It is in the interests of Tasmanians who have been harmed by pokies, their families and the wider community, that the Premier and Leader of the Opposition show leadership and tell the Farrell family that, this time, their money isn’t welcome.