Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 1005 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker. In my time in this place I have never seen a piece of legislation passed in 24 hours, or in the same sitting day - and members of this Assembly who have just interjected admit quite freely that it could significantly adversely affect some people - without giving those affected a chance to actually tell us what they think.
This side of the house does not oppose a cap. We have no problems with the basic approach that the committee is taking. But what happens if this legislation is as badly drafted as it appears to be? What happens if the legislation, as it appears may be the case, is simply unenforceable?
Mr Berry: Move an amendment.
MS CARNELL: We cannot move an amendment; we have not had the legislation for long enough to know which amendments to move. Already today I have given Ms Tucker a huge page of amendments which she has then incorporated in her amendments to the Bill. We have gone down that path at least once today already. I am just making the point that we have never done this before; we have never passed in this timeframe legislation that we, as an Assembly, know and accept may adversely affect some members of the community, without giving them an opportunity to put their case. I think it is a really retrograde step. I also think it is a retrograde step to pass a piece of legislation that has already been shown to have real gaps and real problems in it. But again I come back to the initial situation. We do not have a problem with a cap; we just have a problem with legislation that appears to have real problems.
MR RUGENDYKE (12.43 am): Mr Speaker, I congratulate Ms Tucker on presenting this Bill today on behalf of the Select Committee on Gambling. This is a task that the committee has been given. In fact, the committee has gone further. The committee has drafted legislation as well as decided how to implement the cap. This Assembly suggested a cap on poker machines whilst we look at the problem of gambling, if there is one. As it turns out, the committee, by simply saying the word "cap" publicly, has scared up the numbers. The numbers are there. The numbers are about 5,800. That includes about 805 applications that poured into the Revenue Office in the seven days after we first started looking at this matter. This legislation may well be somewhat inadequate. It was done in a hurry; it was done to serve a purpose. This piece of legislation has a life of 12 months, with a one-year sunset clause. If the Licensed Clubs Association, the Hotels Association or the Casino club want to mount a serious challenge to this piece of legislation in the 12-month period during which they will miss out on poker machines, it will highlight our suspicion that there is a problem; that these things are driven by greed; that these machines are put into clubs as a revenue base.
People that try to bluff us with smoke and mirrors here today are missing the point about what we have tried to do. They are missing the point that we have been tasked with setting a moratorium on poker machines for the duration of the inquiry. We have done that; we have done what the Assembly has asked. I would suggest that the nine people who voted for the select committee to be formed should be the nine people that pass this piece of legislation and show that we have the courage to actually do something; that we have the courage to actually perform a task without being bluffed by the vested interests.