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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 8 December 2004 2004) . . Page.. 126 ..

hold stewardship over its assets by virtue of a policy ruling by the commission that can be changed at any point in future, for whatever reason.

The club industry is concerned that it should not have to rely on the goodwill of an official to maintain control of a club and the dedication of any operating profits to the purpose set out in their articles of association. The circumstances of the club industry are indeed precarious. Uncertainty like this will only serve to add to the concern of the bankers who back these clubs. They might see the prospect of a loss of responsible management in all ACT clubs and therefore call into question the capacity of the industry to, for example, raise loan funds.

It is a highly uncertain requirement; the clubs are very concerned about it. They have asked for the situation to be rectified—basically to amend the legislation as soon as possible to effectively restore the position that applied under the Gaming Machine Act of 1987. They have requested that this amending legislation be introduced, which I am now doing.

Effectively the legislation introduces a new section 14 (2), which ensures that the commission cannot refuse to issue a gaming machine licence under subsection (1) (c), (d) or (e) for reason only that the election of a member of a club’s management committee or board has been decided, controlled or influenced by an associated organisation; or that the voting members of the club do not have complete control over the election of all members of the club’s committee or board because an associated association has some control; or that each voting member of the club does not have an equal right to elect people, and to nominate or otherwise choose people because an associated association has a right to elect, nominate or otherwise choose people for election.

Most of our clubs in the ACT have been set up for specific purposes. Let us take, for example, the Ainslie Australian Football Club. It has, as do virtually all clubs in the ACT, an associated organisation that has some control. In that case the associated organisation is the Ainslie Football Club, which puts junior and senior teams on the field. I am not sure what their set-up is, but quite often a group might have to elect from within its own body and nominate five out of the eight total directors of the club, or seven out of the 10.

That is fairly common; it is in the constitutions of the clubs. The clubs’ articles of association clearly set out the purpose for the clubs, and people go into the clubs on that basis. I am unaware of anyone ever having a problem with the way this situation has operated in the territory for at least three decades. When one looks at the contributions clubs make to the ACT, this is an important matter.

Basically I think the clubs are concerned that some other group, which has no regard for why the club is there in the first place and what the club does for the community, could take it over; be it perhaps that all the drunks in the back bars getting together or, for example, in the case of Ainslie, maybe a soccer club, a basketball club or some other club or organisation stacking the numbers, changing the constitution and basically taking over the club—from what it was there for and what it purports to be there for in the community. The uncertainty causes problems.

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