Media release – Pat Caplice, Local Party Candidate for Huon, 12 October 2021

ALP on Pokies – weak weak weak weak

The ALP response to the pokies legislation due to be tabled this week is a slap in the face for the people the party promised they would help with genuine prevention and harm reduction measures.

“Rebecca White and Ella Haddad both clearly promised genuine help to those being harmed. They have walked away from those people,” said Pat Caplice, Local Party Candidate for Huon.

Labor has taken very few of the measures that are supported by community experts and the social welfare sector and only proposed those supported by industry.

In addition to failing the community on harm reduction, the ALP has not ruled out supporting the gifting of $225 million of Tasmanian taxpayers’ money to casino operator federal hotels, via the governments plan to halve the tax rate on casino pokies.

That is $11.22 million next year alone that we would no longer have for hospitals, schools, or assistance in our COVID recovery.

This complex legislation needs to be thoroughly reviewed and the appropriate place for that is in full committee of the Legislative Council.

It will be a further failure of Labor’s responsibility if they prevent that happening.

Media release – Dean Winter MP, Shadow Minister for Finance and Economic Development, 12 October 2021

Opportunity to address gaming machine harm cannot be missed

Labor will not support the government’s new gaming legislation without commitments to harm minimisation.

Shadow Minister for Finance, Dean Winter, said Labor remained committed to reducing harm for problem gamblers in Tasmania.

“It is time to end the Federal Group’s monopoly on gaming in Tasmania. However, we also want to see better protections for problem gamblers,” Mr Winter said.

“Labor has met and listened to all sides of the debate to hear their suggestions for improvement and concerns about the draft Bill.

“Labor has always maintained that we would not support new gaming legislation without enhanced protections for problem gamblers.”

Labor wants to see cashless gaming machines and facial recognition technology as part of the gaming arrangements.

“Since the 2018 election, other states have embarked on reforms to support problem gamblers,” Mr Winter said.

“Yet the draft Bill included no new harm minimisation measures at all. This is an opportunity to provide greater protections for problem gamblers.

“Labor will also adopt a policy to introduce Registered Gaming Officers (RGOs) to better support workers and therefore problem gamblers. We want to empower venues and workers to identify and support problem gamblers.”

In New South Wales, cashless gaming cards are being trialled with no cash able to be used in machines. The cards are linked to identities. The focus of this is to help eliminate money laundering and move forward with pre-commitment approaches. The trial outcomes will be assessed by Liquor and Gaming NSW and has been welcomed by anti-gambling advocates.

In South Australia, facial recognition technology is now required in venues authorised to operate 30 or more gaming machines as part of its reform package. 230 venues have the technology installed and it is used to identify barred persons about to enter a gaming area. More than 50 million faces were scanned using facial recognition technology in the first six months, detecting 1,700 potentially barred patrons.

Media release – Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, 12 October 2021

Premier Unwilling To Disclose In Parliament Gambling Industry Donations To Liberal Party

This morning in Parliament the Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, asked Premier Gutwein a straightforward question:

Over the past five years, how much money and in-kind assistance has been donated to the Tasmanian Liberal Party and Liberal candidates, by organisations, companies or individuals associated with the gambling industry?

The Premier did not or could not answer. His only response was to patronise Ms Johnston by suggesting she look it up herself.

“Of course I had looked it up,” Ms Johnston said.

“But I wanted to hear it from the Premier. The fact that he refused, tells us a lot about who pulls the strings behind the poker machine regime in Tasmania.

“Returns to the Australian Electoral Commission shows that since 2016 close to $1.1 million has been donated by gambling interests to the Tasmanian Liberals. That amount alone is enough to make Tasmanians very concerned, but it is only a small part of the story.

“It does not include donations below the threshold of around $14,000 or the massive in-kind contributions from the hospitality and gambling industry who ran huge, parallel third-party campaigns, in particular in the build up to the 2018 state election.

“And it does not include donations received during this year’s election campaign in May.

“Then today in Parliament we saw the poker machine industry get its payday. Legislation introduced to regulate poker machines in Tasmania that gives the industry what it wants: business as usual without real and effective harm minimisation measures.

“So nothing has really changed. The blatant wealth transfer from the poor to the rich remains. Tasmanians loses at all levels: financially, socially and morally.

Media release – Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, 13 October 2021

“Donations are not my business,” Premier

Today in Parliament I asked the Premier, as I did yesterday, to tell the Tasmanian people how much money and in-kind assistance has been donated to the Tasmanian Liberal Party by those associated with the gambling industry.

Again he did not answer the question, but his excuse was astonishing:

“Donations are not my business.”

Really? The Premier receives and relies on millions of dollars in donations and in-kind support from the gaming lobby, and it’s not his business?

He invoked the party organisation for cover. More damning, he claimed the party complied with the law. We all acknowledge donation disclosure laws are a joke in Tasmania.

Here is the text of my question:

Premier, yesterday I asked you a straightforward question regarding donations to the Tasmanian Liberal Party from vested interests in the gambling industry.

You churlishly refused to answer the question.

I am well aware that the returns on the Australian Electoral Commission show that since 2016 approximately $1.1m has been donated by those associated with the gaming industry to the Tasmanian Liberal Party.

And I note that the returns for the 20/21 year are yet to be published. But Tasmanian donation disclosure laws are weak, and your party has likely received significantly more donations than declared to the AEC. I asked you to make a more complete disclosure to the Tasmanian people, including all cash donations and in-kind assistance, instead of hiding behind weak donation disclosure laws.

So I ask you again:

Over the past five years, how much money and in-kind assistance has been donated to the Tasmanian Liberal Party and Liberal candidates, by organisations, companies or individuals associated with the gambling industry?