Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


Libs’ gift $250,000,000 to the pokies … financial incompetence or apparent corruption … ?

Pokies … who gets what …

*Pic: From ‘Team Mulawa’ ( http://www.mulawaarabians.com.au/team-mulawa ): “Greg Farrell Jr, “Mr. Mulawa”: Greg is by nature very hands-on – activity done translates into learning and understanding – and he still applies this essential quality to the horses with ambitious zeal and earnest dedication. Greg is a natural horseman – his innate affection for and confident ease with horses is readily apparent in his daily interaction with the horses at every level. Although Greg’s primary vocational responsibility has always been Managing Director of Federal Group (the highly successful and widely respected Australian owned family business and the world’s second oldest hotel group), he always finds quality time for the horses. He remains integrally involved with all the handling and training of the Mulawa Arabians, from early breaking through the professional turn out of top level show ring performers in hand. (Pictured with ADVENT) “



Satire: Ted Mead …

First published Feb 25

The Liberal Party’s Pokies policy gives the Poker Machine licences directly to pubs and increases the share they keep from 30 cents to 50 cents of each dollar lost by players.

The Liberals are giving these licences to the pubs for free. There will be no tender or charge for these licences, they will be just given. The licences are worth $250,000,000.

Pokies cause harm, we know that. We know they addict people. We know they are concentrated in places that can’t afford to take the losses. We know that they take most of their profits from people they have addicted, people they are harming. These are facts.

Pokies also do another harm. They harm the governance of our state.

Ray Groom’s Liberals granted the first Pokies licence in 1993. Greg Farrell had argued passionately against them leaving his casinos because they “would have a disastrous effect on the social and special culture of Tasmania”. Pokies first harmed Tasmania’s governance back in 1993.

Labor won the 2002 election. Pokies weren’t mentioned in their campaign, the licence would expire in 2008. They would be an issue in the 2006 election.

The first legislation Labor, with Paul Lennon as Gaming minister, put through was an “early extension” to the Farrells’ Pokies licence, extending it until 2023. Paul Lennon is now openly paid as a Federal Group lobbyist. Pokies harmed Tasmania’s governance back in 2003.

Liberal and Labor both have a sordid history with Pokies’ licensing deals. In 2018 its the Liberal Parties turn to be involved with Pokies-driven poor governance.

The value of the licences being handed to each pub depends on how much players in the pub lose. For the worst Pokies pub in the state, Federal Group’s Elwick Hotel, the value of that licence will be $12,000,000. The value of the licences for the all the Farrell families’ Pokies pubs, the 12 in their Vantage Group chain, will be $75,000,000.

Over 60 of Tasmania’s 89 Pokies pubs are operated as chains, controlled by just seven families or groups, and will receive most of the Liberal plan’s largesse.

The value of the licences to these chosen 7 depends on how much players in the pub lose.

1. Farrell families Pokies pubs, will gain $75,000,000.

2. Woolworths, will benefit by $25,000,000

3. The Goodstone Group’s 9 pubs, operated by Love your Locals Michael Best, will get $27,000,000

4. The Kalis Group’s 7 Pokies pubs are going to gain them a free $16,000,000

5. Dixon Hotels owners Carlton and Peter, will benefit by around $30,000,000

6. ECB has the Old Tudor Inn, The Bayside Inn and The Foreshore Tavern and get $10 million worth.

7. The Prescott/Hibbert group’s Brighton, Club hotel and Risdon Brook Hotels, $10,000,000

These seven groups are being quietly handed a staggering $196,000,000 by the Liberal party. Some single operator Pokies pubs, those who successfully take large amounts from their Pokies customers, will benefit as well. The Shoreline Hotel in Clarence will rise in value by $6,500,000 the day the Liberal policy is enacted.

Peter Gutwein doesn’t disagree about the $250,000,000 value of the licences he will be giving away for free. He says his one-off gift will be recouped over the life of the licences through collected taxes. He is wrong.

Gutwein will raise taxes on pub Pokies but drop them on the casino ones. The extra taxes on the pubs would gain Treasury an extra annual $20 million but lowering the casino rate will cost Treasury $11 million.

From the net Pokies’ tax increase of just $9 million Treasury and Gaming have warned that the compliance and monitoring costs of the Liberals’ single operator model increase substantially. Those costs on the current monopoly operator licence are already $5 million a year and are likely to at least double with the 96 venue operator model, to at least $10 million a year. Treasury will get only an extra $4 million in tax benefit from the Liberal policy.

The Liberals plan to give away Pokies licences worth an immediate $250 million on the hope of a return over the twenty-year term of the licence of $330 million. Peter Gutwein prefers a hypothetical bird-in-the-bush to a tangible $250,000,000 bird-in-the-hand. A bird that would be of great benefit to health or education in Tasmania right now.

Will Hodgman told the Examiner last week, not once, not twice, but three times that the Pokies licences would be going to tender and that his party would get the best value for Tasmanians.

He is completely wrong on both points. That he doesn’t have his head around important policy detail is surprising. There will be a tender, but not for the valuable part of poker machine operations, the licences to make vast profits. There will be no tender for the operation of poker machines in pubs, and no tender for the operation of poker machines in the casinos.

Up for open tender will be the “networking operations”. Under the current monopoly arrangement this operation has been done by Network Gaming, wholly owned by the Farrell family. For this work Network Gaming is paid 30 cents out of every dollar lost to pub pokies. This payment, under Liberal policy, will drop to just 2 cents in every dollar lost, making the tender one for an insignificant part of poker machine operations.

The Liberal policy doesn’t do what Will Hodgman says. The licences aren’t going up for tender and Tasmanians won’t be getting the best value under his policy.

It’s impossible to say why the Liberals have such a poorly-conceived policy.

Leaving aside the fact that their support of the poker machine industry is repugnant, their management of the financial aspects are simply disgraceful. It smacks of financial incompetence and has a mighty whiff of corruption of governance.

Those who will gain from the policy are fighting hard to put the Liberals into a position to deliver the $250,000,000 immediate windfall and then a further 20 years of regular profits.

Everywhere in the state is a sea of blue signs and billboards. Every minute on TV is filled with pro-Pokies and Liberal ads. Radio is relentless.

Last Saturdays front to back full page in the Mercury ads was simply stunning.

Is our democracy for sale, or has it already been bought?

*Pat Caplice convened Rein in The Pokies ( https://www.facebook.com/reininthepokies/ ) a Facebook community group. He is Tasmanian representative for Bad Bets Australia.

• A poem by A Visitor …

Hey diddle diddle
The cat and the fiddle
Cash cows, every gaming room
The little blog laughed
To see such fun
And the dish ran away with the spoon

Hey diddle diddle
Pat Cap versus Federal
The Bacon turned, bout time too
The fruit fly larvaed
The industry’s done
The fish turned the harbour to poo

Hey diddle diddle
Bass cats – they a fiddle?
The Lambie wants them back soon
Pork, backhands and shaft
Were how things were run
But the dish* ran away from the hoon**

*Rebecca White
**Imagine who this would be, it isn’t hard to do

ABC: Liberals and pro-pokies lobby adamant pub and clubs ban will cost thousands of jobs

The Australia Institute: Tasmanian casinos set for windfall under Liberal plan

Small Giants: Investors’ poll shows Tassies are against pokies …

EARLIER on Tasmanian Times …

James Boyce: Will the ALP Dance to Lennon and Old’s Pokies Play List?

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Robin Charles Halton

    March 6, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    #35, Anyone entering my property and removing or defacing any legitimate advertising needs to be prepared to bear consequences directly from me if they are caught!

    Kon and Harry are in Amsterdam for good it seems. I cannot figure out why Kon sold the family home directly opposite us in Upper Pitt St, its now worth double what he sold it for 4-5 years ago. Its now an AirB&B.

    Three more recent sales in Pitt St, three more AirB&B’s underway!

    A property in Newdegate St, 2nd down from the Providence coffee shop sold within 5 days for $795,000, renovated w/b, flat easy access for 2-3 cars, backyard.

    Two co joined properties, double story wb recently professionally renovated, no off st parking, opposite the Queens Head, asking price in the $700,000 range each currently used as AirB&B’s.

    Our corner property must be now close to $1M, 1968 red brick veneer residence plus 1860’s work mans wb cottage on site plus heaps of off street parking and garden.
    It is unlikely that we want to move, but where to, too old to take on a small fruit and vegetable producing property with a saw bench down the Channel.

    Its a good neighborhood, we care about each other, our politics may differ but its not an issue on a day to day basis.

  2. Pat Caplice

    March 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    #33, … Star pickets cost money and are too handy in the garden for an inner city primary producer to lose. That’s a bad one but, maybe, going the John Wayne isn’t the best way to respond.

    I kept an eye out yesterday. Next Monday maybe. Constantine, now of Amsterdam, is a genius and Ollie a gentleman. You have fine neighbours.


  3. Ted Mead

    March 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    #34 … Congratulations to those committed sign vigilantes who have found their way down to Pitt St …

    Keep up the good work, as we know it’s raising Robin’s blood pressure!

  4. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Pat, ferals have completely removed the other Sue Hickey poster including the star pickets from my property during last night. Your anti-pokie stickers have been plastered on power poles all along our street.

    As I am a city primary producer I may have to look closer at those proposed National firearms legislation changes, too!

    Speaking with a friend this morning from the north of the State who attends the Sunday Farmgate Market has indicated to me that up to an estimated 70,000 feral deer are invading properties, of which many can be seen grazing along road edges overnight, including the Midlands Highway.

    Also reports indicate that invasive wildlife has reached new levels in the region.This is why Mark Shelton, who was interviewed last night, indicated the strong possibility of changes to the National firearms Act to protect Primary production which is essential for our food chain. No beating around the bush here!

    Bob Brown and his animal rights groups need to grow up and recoginise that primary producers need the means for Crop Protection permits other than the use of 1080.

  5. Peter Bright

    March 3, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Oh dear!


    In villainy, Tasmanians recognise themselves.

  6. Robin Charles Halton

    March 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

    #30, Pat, thanks for your reply, in my humble opinion Sue took on a gamble, despite her high profile, not popular with everybody due to her Hobart City Council role, but she put Marti in his place, ran a tight ship and earned respect in many quarters.

    Our family are not hardened on Liberals as one may suspect, and remain suspicious of their lack of articulation of their pokie policy leading up to the election.

    Pokies will remain as an issue as there are circumstances surrounding social justice that remain outstanding and no doubt will be savagely debated in the State Parliament during this term!

    Both Hickey and Archer were up against Labor’s grand stand about pokies given I live in a socially conscious arena North- West Hobart- Mt Stuart where because of my hard working rural- hydro-forestry upbringing which does not always fit into the mindset of the quasi well paid public service or privately employed new age trendy latte licking social set that proliferates in this area of Denison.

    Hickey fortunately has been elected will represent a badly needed new face for the Liberals and hopefully will provide a measure of change agent tactics the party deserves.

    My main concern is to push for a bold plan to government to face the challenge to construct a bypass behind the city to alleviate unnecessary CBD traffic to respectively service the ever increasing numbers of residents choosing to live south of the city limits.
    I look foward to saying hello to you, as you probably already know that I live on the opposite side of the former Undenominational Church in Pitt St believed to be owned by a high profile Ex Tasmanian Musical director in Vienna.
    Unfortunately the property needs maintenance, a good coat of paint before the weather boards start peeling off.

    We know the occupant Oliver G, the music teacher who is very sociable and appreciate him as a good neighbor and have some interesting conversations with him from time to time.

  7. Pat Caplice

    February 28, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Robin #21 Apologies for the upset. I had talked to Sue the previous week about the free giveaway of state assets worth $250,000,000, the Pokies licences. Like Will, who told the Examiner three times last week that the licences would go to tender only to have Brad Stansfield call the Journo half an hour later to clarify, Sue had NO idea that this is what is happening under Liberal policy. As you support her maybe you could give her a call and ask why thats her plan.

    #23. Liberal policy extends the Pokies in the burbs until 2043 Robin. Nothing misleading at all. Its just fact, have a look at their policy documents, they are online.

    I know Pitt St well Robin. One of my children tinkles the piano at the top end, in an old god bothered building, on Mondays after school. Sue signs in sight. Say hello to the crusty old fella in a crusty old van. It’d be a pleasure.


  8. mike seabrook

    February 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    #10 … What do they say about the money changers/pokies operators at the temple?

  9. mike seabrook

    February 28, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    # 22
    what if the legislative councillors get a conscience ( are there any ethical current or former lawyers there) and refuses to pass the vote or keeps delaying the vote forever on the handout to the extremely greedies

    why don’t smart lawyers take action against sub standard products and misrepresentation under consumer laws

    and then there could be blockades with plackards disclosing the “true odds” outside the premises

  10. Wining Pom

    February 28, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    #26 ‘a brilliant message to send to the world that tassie is shut for business.’

    ‘Tourism directly and indirectly supports around 37,400 jobs in Tasmania or about 15.6 per cent of total Tasmanian
    employment. This is higher than the national average; the highest in the country.

    Tourism in Tasmania directly and indirectly contributes about $2.79 billion or 10.7 per cent to Gross State Product’

    ‘In the year to June 2016, there were 3,600 people working directly in the forest industry in Tasmania.’

    I think decisions like stopping the Gordon below Franklim dam have contributed to Tasmania being open to the flood of cash the tourists are bringing. And I know they don’t come to see log trucks and smoke in the sky during autumn.

  11. mike seabrook

    February 28, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    the rot set in when the fed labs stopped tassie from constructing the gordon below franklin hydro scheme, in order to buy green preferences which won them an election and compensated tassie with est. $500 million out of taxpayers funds. a brilliant message to send to the world that tassie is shut for business.

  12. Robin Charles Halton

    February 28, 2018 at 9:37 am

    #23, Caplice’s sticker is misleading the public and should read 2023, sticking it on legitimate advertising material my property deserves what it deserves in return!

  13. john hayward

    February 28, 2018 at 12:19 am

    Thank you, thank you Robin C Halton at #21 for providing a rare clue to what the Tas Libs stand for. But is there any moral or legal issue, outside of capital punishment for defacing the party’s ubiquitous election posters, that you passionately believe in?

    John Hayward

  14. Pat Caplice

    February 27, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    #18, Mike … Gutwein has to send notification to Farrell that the “Deed”, Farrells monopoly licence, will be varied. This is on June 30th this year, although the “rollover” clause means changes can’t be enacted until 2023.

    Legislation to put in place the Lib’s policy will then have to pass through both houses, then the value is locked in.

    #MJF … Giving the licences to the pubs, breaking Federal’s monopoly, is the Libs plan for competition. What will happen is that Woolies will swoop in and buy up pubs. Many of the chain groups of pubs will look to capitalise, put into their back pockets, the free kick the Libs are handing them. Many will see it as their once in a lifetime golden egg.

    Woolies, as you may notice from today’s press, are the largest and most predatory Australian pokies Barons with over 14,000 machines.

    Tassie will end up with a duopoly of Federal, who will expand from their 12 current Pokies barns, and Woolies.

    Pat Caplice
    Rein in The Pokies

  15. Robin Charles Halton

    February 27, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Pat, who was the mongrel who defaced the Sue Hickey poster on my side paling fence facing Pitt St the night before last!

    It had your name on the sticker authorising its use or misuse in this case!
    Worded as POKIES UNTIL 2043? NOT FOR ME

    Pity help if I catch any bastard , for sure there will be at least one useless voter less for Saturday’s impressive extravaganza.

  16. MJF

    February 27, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    If a Liberal win, its course of action is obvious.

    Introduce competition and give Woolies owned ALH a licence to expand by installing and operating their machines. That’s a win-win for everyone.

    Put them in the supermarkets. No overlap with Farrells.

    Limited to $1 plays, of course.


    “Just picking up the ciabatta loaf and several itunes cards hon, for our basic needs, might have a quick play while I’m in here. See you soon”.

  17. TGC

    February 27, 2018 at 11:11 am

    So, no votes there for the Liberal Party!

  18. mike seabrook

    February 26, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    is the value locked in the day after the election – or is it 2023 when the current agreement expires

  19. spikey

    February 26, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    mimicry and co-evolution are lines oft crossed
    Abbott ate an onion
    unquestioned in the apple isle

    whilst the middle east
    continued to be invaded

    illegal boat people
    sorry human being refugees
    were introduced
    to the guantanamo equivalent

    sorry indigenous people
    how bout a cashless welfare card
    redeemable at fascist ‘supermakets’ errywhere

    it got hot
    and dickheads want to dig up coal

    the only things ‘saving tassie’
    being flogging forests for bugger all
    and being the worlds last bastion
    of increasing unsustainable salmon death

    i turn my buttcheeks
    to any champion
    of this madness

  20. Chrids

    February 26, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    No flies on us, the private security guards have good noses as they sniff the air while passengers file past them at Devonport. These guys are able to detect fruit and flies, just like a dog without the expensive crackers that the dogs are rewarded with when they detect.
    How many dogs are at airports – are there enough?
    Cost cutting rules.
    Your flies undone!

  21. John Biggs

    February 26, 2018 at 9:18 pm

    #14 … Amen, Chris.

  22. Chris Harries

    February 26, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    None of us has any idea what a Federal Hotels government will do about street front recycling, or child welfare policy, or internet bullying… to name just a few. All we know for sure is that we citizens will have plenty of gambling opportunities.

    They will boast a voter-given mandate on that score. And to an extent they will be correct. Just as US voters gave Donald trump his mandate… and then wondered what the hell they had done to themselves.

  23. Max Edelweiss

    February 26, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    #9 … I found it particularly hilarious that The Mercury had to devote a full page news spread to detailing just how this issue doesn’t matter to Tasmanians.

  24. John Biggs

    February 26, 2018 at 11:58 am

    #10 … Jesus did say “to him that hath to him shall much be given” to which they add this twist to the Magnificat: “He hath filled the rich with good things and from the poor he hath taken away.”

  25. john hayward

    February 25, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    A perfect crime is one perpetrated by a government in the absence of any functional regulatory or watchdog agency. I can’t think of much else that the Tas Govt has done this well.

    The Land Swap fraud, of a similar financial magnitude, was a more bravura heist, being more in the face of the law once it was leaked and the relevant agencies went blind and deaf.

    The contract to sell timber to Sarawak at a protracted loss may actually be costing the state more in the long run, but it loses its criminal prestige from its use of the B Green Superhuman Stupidity Defence.

    John Hayward

  26. Peter Black

    February 25, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    What makes me laugh at these Liberals is that the likes of Hogman, Ferguson, Barnet, ect, claim to be Christians, lol.
    Oh well, Jesus did say, those who followed in his name would have hypocrites amongst them.

    Jesus loves Pokies …. hypocrites


  27. Ian Rist

    February 25, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Had to chuckle at this mornings news item ” Pokies low priority with majority of voters”.
    Why then are Federal, the pubs and clubs and the Liberals spending millions on pro Pokies election spending ?
    Do they think we are all stupid?
    Stop treating us like fools, because most of us just don’t buy it!

    I think my old saying of …
    … should be the ‘golden’ rule.

  28. Brenda Rosser

    February 25, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Mr Gutwein (Minister for Local Government). I have contacted the Burnie City Council about the apparent corruption that is very apparent in the way in which development took place next to my property. This ‘terracing’ (using the wooden boundary fence as ‘retaining’ and the direction of the long driveway’s surface water runoff to the foundations of my house) is in breach of the Burnie Planning system and has resulted in tens of thousands of dollars losses for me. I have mentioned all of the details to you. (Burnie Council rep saying “we don’t admit liability when I asked him where the ground level was supposed to be for this development etc) You have not followed up in any way. the council refuse to acknowledge the apparent fraud and breach of the planning system that Council have clearly permitted next door. Why won’t you follow up?

  29. Simon Warriner

    February 24, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    re 3, Greg, they do not understand conflicted interest. If they did they would not be party politicians. And the ignorance is a compounding function, mathematically speaking.

    Q E D

    Until that is well understood by the voting public we will continue to be treated to an ongoing series of bluster trucks of increasing severity.

    Nothing has changed since that meeting in Campbelltown and our subsequent conversation about not being able to dictate our personal preferences to independent representatives. If we want things to change we need to be selecting people prepared to honestly represent the diversity present within their electorates, then determine where the greatest common good lies and then finally develop policy and legislate to put the policy into effect, in concert and co-operation with their peers in parliament, not by squabbling like spoilt brats. Horse, cart, transport, not the other way around.

    The problem with that is that we voters don’t get to pick and choose the policy, only those who make it. That system is much harder to corrupt with great dollops of money. We will indeed get the government we deserve.

    Right now our collective stupidity and greed looks like getting us four more years of liberal nonsense, as opposed to green or labor tripe.

  30. Emmanuel Goldstein

    February 24, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    A professional politician is a professionally dishonourable man. In order to get anywhere near high office he has to make so many compromises and submit to so many humiliations that he becomes indistinguishable from a streetwalker. (H. L. Mencken 1880-1956)

    Peter Gutwein is an insult to streetwalkers. The only surprise here is the capacity for cheap whores like Peter Gutwein to portray themselves as honourable, decent, honest men. Gutwein and his school tie gang are whores for money, whores for power. For generations the collective rabid scum had a singular media to portray themselves as virtuous. Now with the web their indiscretions, payoffs, rotten deals and morality free operation shine through as the bare lies they are. Gutwein is the epitome of everything foul and cancerous in Tassie selling the people into slavery for his thirty pieces of Farrell silver. In any decent society the bastard would be in stocks on the Parliament lawns covered in decay and filth.

  31. convict bob

    February 24, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    I didn’t realise Shoreline has pokies. Isn’t the Shoreline owned by Will’s mate who heads Tourism Tasmania. Will as Tourism Minister appointed his mate. He works for Will. And he gets a $6.5 million handout?? Tell me it isn’t true. Hang on a minute isn’t he one of the silent partners in the cable car company which Mr Gutwein just gave the nod to? It’s starting to smell a bit?

  32. spikey

    February 24, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    bought n sold time over
    dance puppets dance
    romance em
    entrance em
    golden fleece em
    whilst it lasts

    the less gullible
    mostly totally knowingly

    is democracy for sale
    hello clean coal

  33. Greg James

    February 24, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Many years from now someone like you will meet a current, or about to be elected, Liberal member of Parliament and they will reveal that this decision really compromised them, and they thought it was the worst decision they made as an MP.

    Unfortunately I have met both Ray Groom and Peter Hodgman and both have said the same about the introduction of pokies in 1995.

    Go figure this is how they work. They just don’t know why they make such dumb decisions, but they do, and it keeps repeating as if there is no common sense to history.

  34. Wining Pom

    February 24, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    ‘It’s impossible to say why the Liberals have such a poorly-conceived policy.’

    I don’t think it is, but we’ll never know how much they got paid for their ‘poorly-conceived policy’.

  35. Ted Mead

    February 24, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Well may I say ” God save the Queen, because if the Liberals hoodwink the Tasmanian community on this one then [i]nothing[/i] will save our democracy”

    Whilst Pat has provided an excellent expose on what is either incompetence, corruption, or both, the rest of the state seems to be wandering around with blinkers oblivious to what is happening to the buy-out of our political culture.

    These dirty deeds go way beyond the impacts of socio-economics. It’s a crime of moral and ethical standards, and it’s extreme!

    Regardless of the March 3 result, Tasmanian conservative politics may be judged as rotten to the core – and possibly never redeemable!

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