Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3380 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

and for charitable purposes. We have heard questions in the last two days in this place about the impact on community organisations of the SACS award. I have little doubt that organisations which were to benefit from the proposed 3 per cent of net gaming machine revenue would find the problems occasioned by the SACS award increase much easier to manage were that 3 per cent to be available to them as proposed in the Government's Bill.

Should the Bill be passed, the club industry as a whole needs to contribute, based on 1998-99 figures, about $2.78m to charitable groups out of its $92.6m profit. I ask members to go back and look at that figure. We are talking about clubs taking out of their $92.6m worth of profit just $2.78m for charity. Are members seriously suggesting that the club industry in this town cannot afford contributions of that order, particularly when you work out that we are going to exclude very small clubs from the need to be in that arrangement? Do they seriously believe that $2.78m out of $92.6m is too tall an order? I do not think anyone in this place seriously takes that view, but I have to ask those opposite who have opposed this legislation where their sense of social justice is.

Mr Speaker, the report I have just tabled contains comprehensive data which will be useful to Assembly members and the ACT public in the ongoing debate on government policy with respect to gaming machines and related matters. I commend the report to the Assembly and hope that we can return to the debate on the Gaming Machine (Amendment) Bill and consider the implications that would flow to the broader community if that Bill were to pass.

MR QUINLAN (3.37): Mr Speaker, in the first instance, I would like to refer to a process that I find disturbing or astonishing. This report was issued to the press of this town yesterday, with an apparent embargo on the reporter who received it from seeking any comment from anybody else.

Mr Humphries: You would never do that, would you?

MR QUINLAN: Actually, Mr Humphries, I would not. It strikes me as the action of an increasingly desperate government that does not wish to have a balanced comment. This is supposedly open government, and you take this report down to the reporter and you place an embargo on comment on it. You give her the spin that the Government wants on it.

Mr Moore: And you do not spin at all?

MR QUINLAN: Let us have equal and opposite spins, shall we, so that we have balanced open public debate. This is not a process designed for open government. It is, in fact, the very antithesis of open government. I cannot think of any better term than "weak". To her credit, the reporter from the Canberra Times did not quote comments from the Government, but certainly the Government's spin on this report comes through in the article in the Canberra Times today. That is an indication of the standards that this Government is prepared to operate under.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .