Thursday, 26 October 2017
I second the motion. The Greens demand a full inquiry into these scandalous allegations at Crown and will not rest until we get one. If ever there was a case for this parliament to say, 'We're going to put aside the business that we're otherwise dealing with to deal with a matter of national urgency,' it is this. We don't currently have a national anticorruption watchdog like some states have. We don't have a national ICAC, so we can't ask such a body to look into it. We should have one, but we don't, because Labor and Liberal won't support the establishment of one. We can't trust the state governments, because the state governments are the biggest gambling addicts of all. They're the ones who profit from the misery of people whose lives are broken as a result of gambling. They profit from it and they're in cosy with the casino operators, so we can't trust them to look at it. And, critically, in this case it's alleged that the state regulators have turned a blind eye or have been involved in it. So that is a classic case of where the federal government needs to step in, where there are allegations not only of wrongdoing at a casino but of wrongdoing involving the regulators themselves.
So we need to step in and have an inquiry, and a full inquiry, where people can front up and give their evidence under parliamentary privilege. You have to have guts to be a whistleblower in this country. If you stand up, you worry that you might face repercussions. Whistleblowers have come forward. They've come forward to the member for Denison and made some very, very serious allegations. We should drop everything to take those allegations seriously, because they involve breaches of federal law, they involve state regulators not doing their job and they involve Crown Casino committing a crime. Those are the allegations.
We've asked for a full parliamentary inquiry to be established and we haven't got one. Why? It is because the only thing spinning faster than the poker machines is the revolving door between this place and the casino industry. There are members of this parliament who probably can't wait to get out of their job so they can go and take up a cushy job somewhere else, as previous MPs who have gone and got a job lobbying for the casino industry have done in the past. They are continuing to profit from people's lives being broken and made a misery. So, when former members of this place front up on behalf of big business and say, 'No, we'd like you not to have an inquiry,' lo and behold, that's what happens. And when the casinos make big donations to the Labor and Liberal parties, the old parties, they expect a return. Well, today the casinos have hit the jackpot. They're getting payday. They're getting the return on their donations, because the old parties in the parliament are in collusion, steadfastly refusing to investigate these allegations.
Think about some of the things that this parliament has decided to inquire into before and the fact that the government are prepared to spend tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars on a royal commission into unions or into previous government schemes—the insulation schemes, for example. They're prepared to spend money on that. They're prepared to spend money on that for political purposes and political outcomes, but when it comes to something the public genuinely cares about—casinos and the gambling industry, who make their money out of breaking people's lives—people want action. But, sadly, time and time again we see big money dictating what happens in this place. This parliament should act in the public interest, not in the interests of a few private donors.
This parliament has been captured by the big end of town. If the government wants to show that it's serious about transparency and the Labor opposition thinks that transparency is important, now's your chance. Now's your chance, Labor and Liberal parties, to show that honesty is more important than money. Support this motion. Support the establishment of a full inquiry. Let's shine a light on what is happening in casinos, because these allegations are getting stronger and stronger, the evidence is mounting up and we need to shine some sunlight.