Poker Machine Reform
It’s all well and good to have debated the pre-commitment poker machine legislation back and forth for the last two years, but none of it matters unless gambling venues commit to upholding the responsible conduct of gambling code.
And clubs aren’t doing that. Or not in my experience anyway.
Drug dealers make money from selling drugs. Prostitutes make their money from sex. For three years I earned a living serving people who destroyed their lives and their families with gambling addictions. The only difference with my trade was, it’s socially acceptable.
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Andrew Wilkie has okayed a lame version of the government’s pokies legislation, which he yesterday called a “stepping stone to meaningful reform in the future”.
The guts of the deal is that club ATMs will be able to spit out just $250 worth of pokie playmoney per day, and that pre-commitment to an amount you’re willing to lose will be optional rather than mandatory.
The legislation is now toothless on two fronts. Firstly, optional pre-commitment is like offering a drunk the choice of ejecting himself for obnoxiousness. And secondly, the legislation fails to address the burgeoning arena of sports gambling.
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Those in the business of applying the defibrillators to Julia Gillard’s prime ministership have been quick to talk up her grace and decency during the tent embassy mayhem, while also pointing an accusatory finger at Tony Abbott for inciting the chaos.
Whatever sympathy Gillard may have received after her frightening ordeal will now be undermined by the resignation late Friday of a junior staffer who had stupidly worded up the protesters as to Abbott’s whereabouts. Nevertheless the PM clearly handled herself with courage and compassion.
The footage revealing her asking the security service to ensure Abbott would also be safely escorted from the restaurant was a credit to her. She didn’t know she was on camera, and there was nothing confected about her concern. Laudable, too, was her comment later that day that her only regret was the violence had disrupted an event recognising the courage of emergency services crews. At a more human level, Gillard simply looked terrified as she was rushed from the building. Only the most jaundiced critic would have felt for her as she was dragged to safety.
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