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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5174 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

be seriously affected. I think things were quoted in terms of what had happened in Victoria when it had been introduced. If any of that is actually correct-and I assume that they had good reason for saying it-and we see a down turn in trade, that means a down turn in money going to the community through the community contributions.

One benefit I suppose of Mrs Cross' bill is that there will be some extra money freed up because clubs will not be donating to political parties, primarily the Labor Party. Let's face it: Mr Quinlan is quite right. Other parties including my own, other individuals, yes, including me in the past, simply won't get that, and that will be available for other, probably more positive community sorts of activities. So I think that is a benefit.

Mr Quinlan has read out the names of some amazing groups of people who have actually given their money to political parties. I suppose, for as long as people can give money to political parties, you will have groups like that doing it. Is the Labor Party ultimately going to be badly affected? Probably not, because they actually have the unions. Unions are affiliated with the party. Union members pay dues. Unions actually give donations to the party. So at the end of the day they are probably not going to be super out of pocket.

Businesses, of course, often have a two-bob bet each way-it might be more than a two-bob bet each way. I have often seen, in these electoral returns, business A gives $2,000 to the Labor Party, $2,000 to the Liberals, $500 to the Democrats or whatever. The Greens might even get some that way. Unless these laws are going to be changed to stop all donations to parties-and that might be interesting too-there are these other groups who will be actually doing that. So I don't see it as the end of the world for the ACT Labor Party, although they might tend to think so.

Of course, there are other ways that people raise money through the community; the political parties do that. Again, I think the Labor Party is crying poor a little bit too early in relation to this particular debate.

Mr Speaker, my party will be supporting Mrs Cross' legislation. I note, though, it is obviously going to go down. It seems Ms Tucker is not going to support it. Mrs Cross has brought this bill on; it has been lying on the table for a while-

Mrs Cross: Since May.

MR STEFANIAK: Since May, is it, Mrs Cross? It is something that the opposition will be supporting.

MS DUNDAS (9.42): Mr Speaker, at the core of this debate is the public perception that political parties are receiving poker machine revenues to protect the interests of poker machine operators. I think that is the central issue that we are addressing today and, so far, the government has taken no action to overturn that perception. This bill would not be necessary if the government took the bull by the horns and made a genuine attempt to regulate and restrict gambling industries in the territory.

We have recently seen the government's woefully inadequate response to the Gambling and Racing Commission's review of the Gaming Machine Act. The government ripped the guts out of the report and refused to implement those measures most likely to prevent problem gambling. It also prevented the implementation of measures that would do the

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