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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (20 May) . . Page.. 423 ..

MR SPEAKER (continuing):

it is time that we looked at the question in its broadest terms, and I think it is reasonable that no action should be taken by the Government to broaden the distribution of these machines until we know what the social and economic impacts are. So, I support the motion in its general terms.

I also support the notion of a moratorium. Mr Moore can argue where the 5,200 machines should be. My understanding is that the number has been derived from a review of how many machines there are out there at the moment, plus the fact that there are one or two clubs which are in the process of construction or planning, and those clubs have got to the point where they are at now on the basis that they will have poker machines in accordance with the present law. Their whole budgeting and everything has been based on that. To chop them off at this point and say, "Sorry; if you proceed with your club you are not going to get any poker machines because we have put a cap on them and you are not in it", would be unfair and unreasonable. That is why the number has been extended from the present number - to take into account the fact that there are some clubs coming down the pipeline which have been designed and will be built on the basis that their budgeting will include revenue from poker machines. I think it is not an unreasonable number. It is not the intention, as Mr Moore suggests, that people who already have machines can jump in and fill the quota. Provision is there for new clubs that are coming down the pipeline and that could reasonably expect to have them. I think Mr Moore threw a couple of red herrings across the track there, as is his inclination sometimes.

I think Ms Tucker, in putting this motion together, made a fatal mistake - she did not come and ask Mr Moore for a nomination of a consultant first. If she had done so and had she been able to put Mr Moore's nominee in there as the consultant, I am sure it would have been okay. I am sure Mr Moore could have come up with a Fred Gruen or a Justice Stein or a Professor Pettit who would have been perfectly acceptable to him to act in such a capacity. I think that is where you made your mistake, Ms Tucker. Maybe even now Mr Moore can be given the opportunity of nominating somebody acceptable to him who can be the consultant to this select committee. Mr Speaker, I support this motion, and I hope that all members of the Assembly will do so.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (4.21): Mr Speaker, I think we have debated this more often than I have had hot dinners of recent days. It is quite remarkable. What is also quite remarkable is the level of absolute misinformation that runs around this Assembly when these debates come on. I suspect that it happens because there are so many vested interests when it comes to this issue.

It has been fascinating to sit back and listen to this debate so far. Everyone is debating something totally different, absolutely bottom line different. The Labor Party is talking about how we must not deregulate poker machines because of the great benefits to the clubs. I do not disagree with that. Mr Kaine has said that we need to have the information about things like the social and economic impacts before we deregulate. Again, I could not agree more. Ms Tucker says she does not like gambling at all and on that basis we need a social and economic impact study before we do anything. That is fine as well, Mr Speaker. But the fact is that that is exactly what is happening.

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