Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016; Consideration in Detail
I suggest the minister is grossly oversimplifying this. The fact is that there are any number of ways in which the operation of poker-machine venues is a shared responsibility between the Commonwealth and the states and territories. For example, in Tasmania, there are dozens of poker-machine venues operated by ALH, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, which is a company owned by the Woolworths corporation—Australia's biggest operator of poker machines. The conduct of the companies that own the dozens of hotels where poker machines are is the responsibility of the federal government through the Corporations Act. So I think it is oversimplifying things, and the Commonwealth is discarding a moralresponsibility to act to right a wrong wherever it sees there is a wrong and wherever it has the power to somehow right that wrong. Taxation is another way in which the federal government has the power to right a wrong.
If the minister is so concerned about the behaviour of the Victorian state government and if the minister feels that they are acting improperly or unethically, this government has, at least through its tax powers and corporation powers, ways to intervene and remedy the situation. Yes, we are a federation of states and territories, but all of us, at all levels of government, have a moral responsibility to try to right a wrong whenever we see it and whenever we have the ability to remedy it.