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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 August 2018) . . Page.. 3276 ..


But I digress. The review of the community contributions scheme from ACT clubs is an absolute debacle. This government seems intent on picking a fight with the clubs industry and it is very easy for those involved, or even for those watching from afar, to make the call that this government is intent on punishing the clubs industry, particularly those associated with ClubsACT. It is easy for many to make the assumption that what is going on here is vindictive revenge, and when we have Labor members in this place telling this chamber that clubs are fiddling the books and that Liberals are trying to maximise pokie profits—which is a bit rich, again, when you consider how much funding from poker machines has gone directly to the Labor Party of the ACT—I shake my head.

The community is understandably outraged, and that outrage extends well past any obvious left and right voting lines. I note that the profile picture of a number of the people who shared my video was “Stop Adani”. They are ropable out there in the suburbs. They are ropable because the changes forecast in the discussion paper amount to an attack on the very reasons for the existence of our clubs in the ACT. The proposed changes reek of arrogant righteousness.

Members of clubs should continue to have the right to determine which community projects their club supports. Speeches in this chamber from those opposite last week suggested that the clubs were corporations. Of course they are not; they are member organisations. They are community. To every member of every club in the ACT, let me tell you: the government do not trust you. They do not trust you to make the right decision in this space or, rather, they fear that decisions may not be in the same direction as their decisions. As we see time and again with this long-term government, there can be only one way. It is their way or the highway.

It is interesting that the Auditor-General in her report from earlier in the year, when giving her overall conclusion, did not criticise the clubs at all. She was critical of the ambiguity of the Gaming Machine Act 2004 in that the act has no supporting objectives or guidance on how to interpret the development of the community or raising the standard of living of the community.

I do wish to put on the record that I have been a supporter of Hands Across Canberra for a number of years. They were a client of mine for a period and, indeed, when they ceased to be a client I volunteered my services to them for a period. I regard Hands Across Canberra as an exceptional organisation. Peter Gordon has been a friend of mine for a number of years. I do hope that the tension in this space has not damaged that friendship. I am somewhat dismayed by the fallout that Hands Across Canberra has felt by being dragged into this political debate.

Hands Across Canberra have been doing a wonderful job in making Canberra a better place for quite a number of years and although I am opposed to the changes to the clubs community contributions scheme it should not be seen by anyone as an attack on Hands Across Canberra. They are to be commended for their work thus far.

Related to the gambling space, I do note that we will be debating in coming weeks the point of consumption gambling tax. It is a rather uncontroversial piece of legislation


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