Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 25 June 2009) . . Page.. 3130 ..
It might interest members—I understand there is a news story running on the ABC—that the Labor clubs have been sold. Apparently the Tradies have bought them. Numbers like $25 million have been mentioned. Again, I make the point about the conflict of interest that the Labor Party have, particularly members of this place, and have always had. They have never had the courage of their convictions, as Paul Osborne used to. When he was coaching a team for a club, he would stand aside from decisions on poker machines. At least he had the courage and the honour to do that.
But I do not think they were ever intended to give huge windfalls to political parties. If $25 million is being taken from the community and is going into the coffers of a political party, that was certainly not what giving poker machine licences to clubs was intended for. It was there for the community to benefit; it was there for the benefit of members of the club. But yet again we see this huge windfall being taken from the community. The conflict of interest, I think, is now admitted by the fact that one branch of the Labor Party was transferring to the other branch of the Labor Party—that is, the CFMEU—these licences.
There is concern in this. This will be a huge organisation if this sale goes ahead, as has been reported. Somewhere between 23 and 25 per cent of all the poker machine licences in the ACT will be under the control of one group. That has to be of concern to fair-minded people. But I think the point is that it was not intended for this purpose; they were there to put money back into the community rather than see huge amounts of money siphoned out of the community and taken from the pockets of problem gamblers and put into the pockets of the Labor Party.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (1.03 am): As Mr Smyth has mentioned, on this particular item there were a number of questions in the estimates process on programs which have been put in place on problem gambling and we did receive some information about that. So it is encouraging to see that this agency is putting in place those types of programs. That was the main thrust of the questions that came through, and it was good to see, again, as I said, that they do have those programs in place and are recognising that it is something which has to occur with this particular agency.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.19—ACT Insurance Authority, $10,000,000 (capital injection), totalling $10,000,000.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (1.04 am): The ACT Insurance Authority is very important in the work that it does in making sure that we have coverage for the ACT government and in the assistance they provide to the not-for-profit sector. It was interesting that, in the discussions that we had that in terms of liabilities that the Insurance Authority faces, members of the estimates committee were told that as a result of the 2003 bushfires there is still liability attached to what occurred on that day. As described by the officer responsible for the Insurance Authority, that liability is large. So we will certainly watch with interest what may occur there. Otherwise, it is a small unit. The appropriation is for some 14 staff. It is currently 15; it will go