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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3191 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, let me explain how I reached the position I am now taking. I have had discussions with Mr Rugendyke and I have also looked at the bill. I think Mr Rugendyke is very sincere in what he is attempting to do here. I think he genuinely wants to target problem gamblers and he has been quite passionate about that for basically the time he has been in this Assembly. The problem is, though, that I do not think what he is proposing goes anywhere near achieving what he wants. You might get the odd person who is a problem gambler if you shut a club between 5 and 8 or whatever, but the reality is that this is only window dressing.

I was associated with the West Belconnen Leagues Club basically from the time that I arrived in Canberra at the end of 1991 when I was playing football with the Raiders. I worked there during the day. In the last few years when I have visited the club during the day I have seen people that I considered to be problem gamblers. I have seen mums and dads who send their kids to school and pour their wages through the poker machine. I have stood there and watched people who were not wealthy-they were just middle-of-the-road types-constantly put $50 and $100 through the poker machines. I was stunned at the frequency with which these people did so.

Mr Speaker, one of the saddest times in my association with that club took place at 6.30 one night in the middle of winter when I had finished training at Kippax. Anyone who knows the club-Mr Berry does-would be aware that the oval is next to the pub. I saw two little kids the same age as mine-four and five-in the car park with no shoes and socks on. Their feet and hands were blue because it was freezing. I said, "Where's your mum and dad?" They said, "Oh, mum's inside playing the poker machines." I took the kids inside-it was 6.30 at night and they had been out there for three hours-and I paged the mother. That is a problem gambler. They are the people we have got to target, they are the people we have got to help.

I think we as an Assembly need to look at things like whether to allow $100 notes to be fed into machines, whether to allow EFTPOS machines in clubs, whether the level of lighting should be increased, whether to educate-

Mr Rugendyke: Hear, hear!

MR OSBORNE: Mr Rugendyke says, "Hear, hear!" That is the first step-that is what I would be doing. I think it is unwise and it may lead to problems if a single bloke or an older bloke throw all of their money into poker machines. But in the scheme of things, I reckon the first people we have got to help are the mums and dads that go into clubs during the day when the kids are at school and put their wages through the poker machines. They are not having enough-

Mr Rugendyke: What did the club do about the mother with the two kids?

MR OSBORNE: Mr Rugendyke says, "What did the club do about it?" I do not know.

Mr Rugendyke: Nothing.

MR OSBORNE: Exactly. But what are you doing? What is this bill doing? Nothing. I am trying to be gentle here, but if Mr Rugendyke wants to keep interjecting, fine.

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