Monday, 29 July 2019
Before moving general business notice of motion No. 56, I wish to inform the chamber that Senators Waters and Lambie will also sponsor the motion. I move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) this month marks the 25th anniversary since the introduction of poker machines in pubs and clubs in South Australia,
(ii) despite numerous recommendations by the Commonwealth Productivity Commission (PC) and other inquiries, there has been no meaningful poker machine reform in terms of harm minimisation,
(iii) according to the PC's 2010 report into gambling, 15% of regular poker machine players are so-called 'problem gamblers' with approximately 40-60% of spending on poker machines coming from 'problem gamblers',
(iv) the PC's 2010 report highlighted the significant social cost of gambling–estimated at that time to be at least $4 billion,
(v) despite having only 0.3% of the world's population, Australia reportedly has 6% of the world's conventional gaming machines and 18% of its poker machines, and
(vi) Australians lose approximately $24 billion per year on gambling, a figure which is more than any other nation; and
(b) calls on the Federal Government to:
(i) recognise the ongoing harm gambling causes, which varies from emotional to financial costs, and commit to meaningful harm minimisation, and
(ii) instruct the Commonwealth Productivity Commission to conduct a new inquiry to provide an updated perspective on gambling and propose relevant recommendations.
On the one hand, Tasmanians gave $43 million to charity in 2016-17. On the other hand, they gave $110 million to the pokies. The Liberals say pokies create job. You know what pokies really create? They create absolute pain and misery. People are committing suicide because of these machines. These machines suck the life out of the local communities and they are sucking the life out of Tasmania. Nobody wins from these machines except the people who own them and the people who take political donations from the people who own them. They win big by selling a product that hooks you in and bleeds you dry. Half the money these machines pull in comes from problem gamblers. It's a business model built on the abuse of the most vulnerable in our society. It's absolutely robbery and it's absolutely shameful. I support this motion because pokies are a curse. The sooner they are removed from our pubs and clubs, the better.