Page 2305 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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friends Mr Steel had at school, but you have no friends here. Why not pick one side or the other? Either swing with the Greens and say, “We are with you,” or come around to the racing codes and support them.

The Greens have made it abundantly that clear they will not support a cent being spent in this space. I would suggest that, as Labor MLAs, you do the right thing by the minimum-wage battlers. Do the right thing by this very important economic sector, understanding that 80 per cent of the point of consumption tax in Queensland goes back to the racing codes—80 per cent—as opposed to zero here. It is 80 per cent in Tasmania. Accept that you are the highest-taxing jurisdiction in regard to wagering on racing anywhere in Australia. I think this makes Labor and the Greens the biggest bookmakers in town by a country mile. Do the right thing and return a portion of this money back from whence it came. Thank you.

DR PATERSON (Murrumbidgee) (4.47): In speaking today, I do not support Mr Parton’s motion specifically calling on the government to return a reasonable proportion of the point of consumption revenue to racing codes. I have worked intensively in the gambling field for 16 years now. The industry, governments, the media, the services, the researchers, those people that enjoy a punt or a play on a poker machine, and those people and families impacted by the harms of gambling have been my job. These are the people and experiences I have lived and breathed for all of my adult working life.

What I have learnt and what I understand very clearly is that people need to be put first. All these debates that swirl around in parliaments and in the media are about different ideological and political positions, but none of them put the people who were harmed first. This debate today is about money from betting. It is people who bet. It is about the harm that is caused by this betting. I think this narrative has been so distorted.

I moved a motion in this Assembly to address online gambling harm a couple of months ago, calling on the ACT government to explore options for funding to address the harm, such as the betting operations tax. However, my motion was completely hijacked by Mr Parton and Mr Braddock for their own political purposes. It makes me extremely frustrated that I cannot get support for a motion, the first motion in this place that seeks specifically to support people harmed by online gambling.

What I would like to remind colleagues in the Assembly is that, when the headlines come out, when the debate ensues, the conversations that I have, for example, are with a mother who describes her 24-year-old son as a shell of his former self. Assembly colleagues: a young man who is a shell of his former self. Do we accept that, as a community? He has lost everything through online gambling, and his poor mother is at her absolute wits’ end to support him.

I speak to a man in his 40s who has survived two suicide attempts and has lost his family, livelihood and assets as a result of his online gambling in the ACT. He now lives in basic poverty, a broken man. I also speak to the partner of a gambler, a young woman in her 20s with two very little children, who cries every time she speaks to me, desperate for help for her husband, another young man, who has systemically eroded her trust and their finances over the past two years. These are the people that I

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