Tuesday, 20 October 2020
I rise to second the motion by the member for Clark on the urgent need to suspend standing orders. There is an inquiry going on at the moment with respect to Crown in New South Wales, and that is why there is such urgency today. Time is of the essence. The terms of that inquiry are too narrow and nobody is being held to account. What we need is a royal commission. That is why it is so urgent that we suspend standing orders today.
It's hard to believe that it was a year ago that I stood in this place and supported the member for Clark in his initial call for a royal commission. That was following video footage of alleged money laundering, with a bag of money, thousands of dollars in an Aldi shopping bag, going over the counter at Crown and then being returned as gambling chips and then going back as gambling chips with the money washed. We heard shocking allegations of junket operations and concerns around border security, prostitution and further money laundering. Those allegations have been made on Four Cornersand 60 Minutes.
Every day that we don't act is a day where further harm can be caused. That is unacceptable and that is why there is this urgency today. We have done very, very little in this place to address the harm caused by gambling, the harm caused by Crown casino. That is why I supported the member for Clark's motion last time, that is why I support his motion this time and that is why I support that the standing orders be suspended so that we can deal with this motion—because it is so incredibly urgent.
Last time there was a motion around Crown casino, both the major parties voted together. Why did they do that? It's hard to know because it isn't that often that everybody joins together in this place—the major parties, anyway. But then, today, I had a look again. I refreshed my mind as to the Australian Electoral Commission's list of donations—$1.47 million in the last 10 years has been gifted by the very generous Crown Resorts Limited to the major parties. More than $1.8 million is on the record with the AEC.
Harm caused by gambling affects everywhere. It is like a cancer. That is why we must suspend the standing orders today and debate this motion. Time is of the absolute essence. Looking at the obscene amount of donations, I am surprised we don't have a 'parliamentary friends of Crown Resorts' group in this place. The gambling industry is our NRA. We must address this as a matter of urgency.