The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will comment on Woolworths’ admission of misconduct in its poker machine venues and the measures the company will take to remedy the situation.

Mr Wilkie first raised these issues in Parliament early this year, which included revelations that staff in Woolworths-owned poker machine venues kept a secret database of personal information of gambling addicts and plied gamblers with alcohol. Videos and pictures can be viewed at http://andrewwilkie.org/interview-woolworths-whistleblower/.

“I’m disappointed that Woolworths was indeed so embroiled in such scandalous behaviour in so many of its poker machine venues,” Mr Wilkie said.

“But at the same time I’m also heartened by Chairman Gordon Cairns’ responsiveness to the allegations from whistleblowers that I brought to public attention. Mr Cairns seems to be intent on doing the right thing and the remedial measures he’s overseeing will go some way to reducing the harm caused by poker machines.

“Of course though the entire industry urgently needs to embrace much more effective harm minimisation measures, and in particular $1 maximum bets and mandatory pre-commitment. Woolworths and Coles should really be setting the lead nationally in this regard, or divesting themselves of pokies altogether.

“In the case of Woolworths, it’s worrying that the company didn’t know what was going on in ALH Group venues, which is majority owned by Woolworths. A company like Woolworths needs to know what’s being done in its name.

“An alarming dimension to this episode has been how the regulators in Queensland and NSW, and Victoria when the serious problems at Crown Casino are rolled in, are failing to oversee the poker machine industry. Surely it shouldn’t be left to a Tasmanian crossbencher and brave whistleblowers to regulate the poker machine industry.

Authorised by Andrew Wilkie MP 188 Collins St Hobart
Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie