Page 3354 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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This morning the Treasurer said, “So you think that I would go and sack somebody because they were not doing what I wanted?” What did Mr Smyth do this morning? He brought in a piece of legislation to rectify the mess made to a board by a minister of the Stanhope government. A minister of the Stanhope government sacked a whole range of people from a board because he did not like what they were doing and he could not get his own way. He has run away again. He does not like what he hears. Today we introduced legislation to rectify that sacking.

Members of boards in the ACT are not safe from sacking by ministers in the Stanhope government and they need to be afraid. In the same way as Mr Acworth and his compatriots were sacked on that occasion, members of the Gambling and Racing Commission and the public servants who work for them are liable to be sacked if this government does not get the answers it wants. This is why referring this matter to the Gambling and Racing Commission for an inquiry when they may not have the powers to do this is not the best possible move.

Mr Seselja’s original motion is a motion of considerable merit. And I think that there is general agreement on the opposition benches that the investigation proposed by the Greens is probably as good as we are going to get at this stage but it is not good enough. On that basis we will be prepared to support Ms Hunter’s amendment so long as it is accompanied by my amendment that puts back into the motion the substantial good work that was done by Mr Seselja. I commend the amendment to the house.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (2.57): I stand here today to comment on the ethics of possible profiteering on the back of an opportunity that was gifted to organisations in good faith and supposedly with the community’s best interests at heart.

There are lots of questions that need to be answered regarding the sale of the Labor clubs, perhaps most importantly: if the ALP cannot sell the gaming machines or the licences, what is included in the proposed sale if they are in fact the owner? I am not sure that everyone who visits a Labor club understands that the Labor Club Group is in effect a fellow traveller in the ALP movement. For one reason or another, some users of the clubs do not realise that there is a close working and financial relationship between the clubs and the ALP.

Just the other day a person I was chatting to was amazed that the Labor clubs and the ALP were closely affiliated. Unlike when many health insurers get bought out and a payment is made to members, no such payment will be made to members if the Labor clubs were to be sold. Instead, the revenue from the sale may go to the ALP for the funding of their political operations.

Clubs are meant to be independent. As I will discuss at the end of this speech, the Canberra Times has raised concerns about this. A further clue for the politically savvy is, of course, the fact that the Labor Club Group is spelt without a “u” in “Labor”, which reflects the ALP’s decision to adopt the American spelling in 1912, a clue that the Labor clubs operate and were established in close cooperation with the ALP.

I ask the question: how many people that go to the Labor clubs and pour money into a poker machine, buy tickets in the meat raffle or pay their annual dues know that they

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