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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 844 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Speaker, in social justice terms, this is a straightforward piece of legislation. It is legislation that sets out to protect those in our community who are most easily exploited. And that is what governments are supposed to do. Governments and legislatures are supposed to protect the weak in society and not strictly rely on the market forces which exist out there in the community. It is our role to protect the weak in society from those who might prey upon them. This legislation is about providing the protection that the unemployed in our community should get in the new regime of employment agents which has been set up by the uncaring John Howard Government.

It is a matter of some disappointment to me that no action has been taken on this issue by the Government; nor has any interest in it been shown, notwithstanding the glaring absence of any protection for unemployed people in the ACT. But, then, that is not surprising, because this Government has added greatly to the numbers of unemployed in our community. It has not been concerned about those issues in the past. It has always been the bottom line; it has never been the people. This legislation sets out to protect the people most affected by the Government's actions and to protect those people in the community who are unemployed. I commend the legislation to the house.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned.


MS TUCKER (10.46): I present the Gaming Machine (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MS TUCKER: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, it is with pleasure that I table the Gaming Machine (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) and accompanying explanatory memorandum. This legislation was foreshadowed yesterday by Mr Kaine in his presentation of an interim report on a poker machine cap. The legislation before us gives force to the committee's deliberations. Having heard all the available evidence, the committee believed that an appropriate and fair cap was 5,200.

These machines must be allocated by the commissioner to licensed premises that have, on or before today's date, lodged an application for a licence or for a licence variation to increase the number of machines in their premises. The legislation also provides the commissioner with some criteria to be considered in determining how machines are to be allocated within the cap. The issues which the commissioner is to take into consideration include the ratio of the membership to numbers and types of machines in clubs; the advantages and disadvantages to the community of granting or varying a licence to specify a number of gaming machines less than the number sought by the applicant; and the extent to which the club is likely to contribute to, support and be beneficial to the community.

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