Page 3355 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 19 August 2009

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are propping up a democratic socialist party that has the objectives of a democratic socialisation of industry, production, distribution and exchange to the extent necessary to eliminate exploitation and other antisocial features in these fields? That is stated in part A, section 2, of the national constitution of the Australian Labor Party.

I wonder how many people who bought the deluxe Christmas buffet, including cold decorated mirrors of pacific oysters, king prawns and sliced smoked salmon, knew they were perhaps benefiting the Australian Labor Party to the tune of $59.50 per person, bookings not essential. I do note, according to the Labor Club’s Bistro on Chandler, that final numbers are required 24 hours in advance and payment is required at the conclusion of the function. If only such a commitment was needed by problem gamblers before they poured more than $59.50 down the throat of an unforgiving poker machine on Chandler Street!

I wonder how many people in my electorate of Ginninderra that frequent the Belconnen or Ginninderra clubs know the extent of the Labor Club’s gaming operations. On 13 October last year, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission published the number of gaming machines held by each club in the ACT as of 20 June 2008. As everyone in this place knows, the Labor Club has many. In particular, the Canberra Labor Club in Belconnen had 272 machines. The City Labor Club had 58 machines. The Ginninderra Labor Club in Charnwood had 95 machines and the Weston Creek Labor Club had 63 machines.

The Canberra Labor Club Group had 488 machines. There were 5,087 machines as of 30 June 2008 in the whole of the ACT. The Canberra Labor clubs, perhaps owned by the ALP, held about 9.6 per cent of gaming machines in the territory. The Australian Labor Party is a key stakeholder in gaming in the territory and it is this Greens-endorsed ALP government that will be overseeing any sale of the Canberra Labor clubs and any change in ownership of licences. I am concerned by this.

Does the Labor Party understand that the provision of poker machine licences and subsequent profits are meant to be for the community’s benefit or does each of those members opposite think they should be for the ALP’s benefit, for their own vested interests? Does Ms Burch, does Ms Porter, does Mr Hargreaves, does Mr Barr, does Mr Corbell, does Ms Gallagher or Mr Stanhope have a problem with the ALP profiteering from problem gamblers?

In my inaugural speech I said:

Yet this government, that has put so much stock into being socially progressive, has no qualms collecting money on the backs of problem gamblers through poker machines.

Where is the social justice in ripping into vulnerable Canberrans? What is progressive about that? What does the ALP think about this? It is easy to talk about the ALP as if it is a faceless machine. However, when it comes down to it, every organisation is run by people and those opposite or those in the organisational side of the party must take some responsibility.

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