Senate debates

Monday, 9 August 2021



1:42 pm

Photo of Stirling GriffStirling Griff (SA, Centre Alliance) Share this | | Hansard source

The royal commission into Melbourne's Crown casino heard damning evidence about Crown engaging in unlawful and criminal activities. The most serious claim is that the operator allowed the casino to be used for money laundering and that the Victorian regulator failed to prevent it from occurring. But Victoria is not the only state to be investigating Crown or where the state regulator has failed. Crown is also accused of allowing money laundering in its Sydney and Perth casinos. In both states the regulator either failed or was complicit. An inquiry in New South Wales has recommended that a new, more powerful regulator be established, and in Western Australia it was revealed a senior regulator had personal and financial links to a casino executive—links that meant the regulator was hopelessly compromised.

We have a social contract with casino operators. They are allowed to operate and generate profits. In exchange, the community receives tax revenue and the operator submits itself to regulations that protect the community. As three Crown inquiries have shown, casino operators will always seek to subvert and corrupt regulators, which means they are failing to comply with their social contract. It is time for government to act. One option is for the Commonwealth to assume responsibility for gaming regulation—a national regulator that is independent, effective and has the power to monitor, investigate and prosecute. The other option is that we accept casino operators can never act responsibly and permanently terminate their licences. I know which would be the most effective, but does this government have the guts to do the right thing?