Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2016; Consideration in Detail
I move amendment (1) as circulated in my name:
(1) Schedule 1, page 8 (after line 12), after item 23A, insert:
23B At the end of section 5
(4) Despite subsection (3), a gambling service covered by subsection (1) is a prohibited interactive gambling service if the service is provided by a person who is:
(a) an individual not resident in Australia; or
(b) a corporation that is majority foreign-owned.
My unfortunate fate is to be able to have seen how a country should be run—I go back to a period of great prosperity and great growth, a period in which we had a current account surplus in this country, with two per cent unemployment. In fact, Mr McMahon lost the election because he allowed unemployment to grow over two per cent. The real, comparable figures today are about 18 per cent; one in five people in this country cannot find a job, and one in four cannot find a full-time job—not a very happy state of affairs. And if people in this place want to know why Australians are voting for us Independents over here, it is because we do not want to continue running Australia the way it is being run.
I am going to be very specific on this bill; very specific on what I am proposing here in this amendment. At the present moment, if you look at the graphs, most of the money from gambling in Australia will go overseas. Most of the profits from gambling will actually go overseas. I lived in an era where every single dollar—except if you went to a racecourse and bet with the bookmakers—every single cent, went into health services for the people—and now most of it is going overseas! And yet I am regarded as a minority group. If the proposition was put to the people in this country: 'Do you want the money to go overseas, or do you want it to go into health services for Australians? Or to help our struggling retirees, or our single mothers trying to make ends meet with three children? Where do you want the money to go?'—I would think that something like 80 or 90 per cent of Australians would vote with me. But when I come into this place, I am a minority. Today it appears I am a minority of one. I wrote a moderately successful history book, and it is rather interesting that history does not ask you who was successful in elections. A lot of our greatest heroes were not successful in elections. There are the great examples of Theodore, Chifley and Curtin, who all lost their seats trying to fight for some sort of logic in money supply.
I take great pleasure in moving this amendment today, an amendment that will see all the money at least being circulated in the Australian economy instead of being taken out of Australia. If I could use an example—which is a very good example—our candidate in the recent federal election in Leichhardt said: 'What does Australian ownership mean?' I said, 'The taxis in Cairns bring in $40 million a year to the economy of Cairns. When Uber takes over, they will bring in $30 million and $10 million will go overseas. That is what it means.' Well, we keep voting for that outcome. We keep voting again and again in this place for that outcome—until there is no money going in. Yesterday I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of the leading business figures in this country—in one of those exclusive clubs which they would never let me into in normal circumstances! One of them raised the issue of the coal-seam gas industry, which is bringing in $25 billion a year to Australia. Gambling brings into the economy—I do not know; it is transfer money, it is not made money. But this is made money. We make $25 billion a year out of it, but it is all foreign-owned—there is no employment. So the 25 billion comes in to pay for the resource that we Australians are supposed to own, and then it just boomerangs back out again. Is it any wonder that in the last three years the debt of this country has gone up by 30 per cent? How much longer do you think that that is going to go on for?
I take great pleasure being in a minority of one and moving this amendment.