Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3220 ..
As a general note, it is pleasing that financial matters relating to the ACT racing industry participants seem to have been satisfactorily resolved. A major concern, though, is the ability of ACTTAB to remain competitive in the gaming market. In estimates, the deputy chair of ACTTAB, Mr Quinlan, indicated that, without the more integrated betting system and sales terminals which have been on the drawing board for some time, ACTTAB are losing revenue. In particular, they are losing the bigger punters because ACTTAB cannot compete with the betting options and the rebates which are freely available to retain big punters. What was concerning was that ACTTAB lost one individual punter who turned over between five and $10 million per year. It will be interesting to see how the new systems that are due to be installed in the course of the 2010-11 financial year progress. The ACT Greens will be supporting this appropriation.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.55): I just want to say a few words about the evidence that came before the committee in relation to the Gambling and Racing Commission. Mr Jones was quizzed about the report into the Labor Club sale. The commission found there was considerable evidence that attempts were made to direct and influence the club’s board in relation to the process. I quizzed Mr Jones about his investigation. I put it to him that one of the things that he found was that there was considerable evidence that attempts had been made. I asked him:
Who made those attempts to direct and influence the club’s board?
The commission’s investigation found that both the national executive of the ALP and the ACT branch of the ALP attempted to influence the decision of the club board but were unsuccessful.
I put to him:
So this is the national executive, which Kevin Rudd sits on, and the local executive, which the Chief Minister sits on?
Mr Jones replied:
I am not sure. I do not recall the exact make-up of the two executives or who actually sits on the ACT branch. But, yes, it was those organisations.
I think Mr Smyth has touched on just how much this highlights the conflict of interest that the Labor Party members have in relation to the issue of gaming. The issue of poker machines, as Mr Barr has found, is a sensitive one. It is one which is heavily regulated, as it should be, because they are very lucrative machines that have the potential for a very significant return. They are limited to clubs. In having such a heavily regulated industry, it is a clear conflict for a party that derives much of its revenue from those clubs, or from particular clubs, but also regulates that industry.
It became quite stark when we had the ACT executive of the Labor Party and the national executive of the Labor Party seeking to influence the individual board