Media Release – Too much of a gamble to lose?

The Greens candidate for Shortland, Phillipa Parsons believes that if Prime Minister Gillard has the audacity to attack the Liberals over donations from big tobacco companies then she should have a closer look at the donations received from the poker machine industry by the ALP.

“Why is the Labor government taking no action to move on the recommendations made by the Productivity Commission regarding gaming laws? The federal government must seriously consider the changes as a matter of urgency to address the social and economic problem of gambling addiction, a subject rarely discussed by politicians but one which has huge impacts on families,” Ms Parsons said.

“One easily implemented recommendation is for periodic shutdowns of gambling areas. This would be in addition to the current mandatory six hour (overnight) shutdown period. Under this proposal, poker machines would be shut down for 10 minutes every hour or half an hour every three hours,” she said.

“Problem gambling is the focus of the Commission’s report and urgent action is recommended to address this destructive addiction. Yet while both the government and the Coalition are aware of the urgency required it hasn’t rated a mention in the maelstroms of spin emanating from both sides,” she said.

“Unlike some of the non-issues being relied upon by both major parties to draw battle lines this election, this is a real issue, one that is affecting Australian families right now and one that can so easily be addressed,” Ms Parso ns asked.

“Most of the harm minimisation measures recommended by the Commission can be implemented quickly and at relatively low cost, such as maximizing the amount of cash that can be deposited in any one machine at a time.

“The financial gain to the state and federal governments, through donations and taxes, must go a long way to explaining why there is such resistance to banning or restricting poker machines in hotels,” she said.

“The federal government needs to act and there is no doubt it has the power to act in this area. The Greens support minimising the harm caused by problem gambling and with the balance of power in the senate, would work to ensure these recommendations are implemented,” she said.

Contact: Phillipa Parsons 0414 427 135

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