Page 1520 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022
(2) Add paragraph (3):
“(3) condemns ACT Labor for pocketing millions of dollars directly or indirectly from gambling companies over many years.”
I am not sure that we can have this debate without acknowledging that ACT Labor has received, and continues to receive, millions of dollars, directly or indirectly, from poker machines. This assertion has been made by the Canberra Liberals for years, but it is always batted away by ACT Labor with a “nothing to see here” sort of tone. There was a really interesting explanation of this from the Chief Minister today, when he went to great lengths to describe the amazing process that was set up so that the government—or at least ACT Labor—could distance itself from this money, even though, of course, we all know that it has come from gambling.
The ABC News website did a rather comprehensive exposé of gambling money and politics in recent weeks, and they arrived at this conclusion:
Organisations and individuals linked to the gambling industry have poured at least $18 million …
This is the ABC. It is not Sky News; it is not the Daily Telegraph. This is the ABC. It said:
Organisations and individuals linked to the gambling industry have poured at least $18 million in political donations into the states and territories in recent years …
And more than three-quarters of that national figure flowed to the ALP. In this tiny little city of 450,000, three-quarters of the national amount has gone to Labor through the ACT. The report goes on to say:
More than $12.5 million of the nearly $13 million gambling groups donated in the ACT in the decade to June 2020 went to the ALP and its associated entities. Almost all came from the ALP-owned Canberra Labor Club group and ALP investment vehicle 1973 Foundation …
Whatever process this money has gone through—I cannot really say washing machine—we all know where it started. It might have been washed on a number of occasions, but it is pretty clear where it started. We all know that.
I have also sought to note that, as per the most recent ACT listed company shareholdings list, which is from 31 March this year, BetMakers Technology Group are listed as a company that this government still has shareholdings in. The BetMakers Technology Group put together the software for Sportsbet, Tabcorp, Ladbrokes, Bet365, William Hill and Unibet, among others.
The government was made aware of these holdings five years ago, when it was brought up by the then Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur. Again the government was reminded of these holdings in hearings last year. But this government continues to profit from gambling through its shareholdings in the BetMakers Technology Group—cannot get rid of those at this stage.