Page 2539 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 11 August 2015
While they make their speeches and express concerns about problem gambling, this is the same mob that benefits. In places like Charnwood where they have their clubs and where some of the most vulnerable people in the ACT are, it is Ms Burch, Mr Barr, Mr Gentleman and their colleagues who are the direct beneficiaries of the money being put by Canberra families into poker machines that otherwise perhaps would be put into other things like food on the table, school shoes and sports fees for kids to play sport. These people are prepared to take that money to fund that political campaign.
In the words of Graham Richardson, whatever it takes. Whether it is the relationship with the CFMEU and the money they get from that organisation or whether it is the money they get from the pokies, let us not ever be lectured to by a government that is funded by the proceeds of what we have seen coming out of the royal commission and the proceeds of gambling.
MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (10.42): A short response to Mr Hanson and his language about a stench connected to being in any way supportive of clubs: I want to remind everybody in this place that each and every year at the ClubsACT dinner there are multiple members of the opposition. They are okay to sit in a local club, drink their free booze and eat their free dinner. They have no problem doing that. The sheer hypocrisy they have started with and continue this morning is quite extraordinary.
I direct Mr Hanson and those opposite to the ClubsACT website and to every community group that benefits from our community clubs. Would Mr Hanson say to every one of those community groups that benefit from any contribution from community clubs that they also have a stench about them?
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.43): This is almost fun; I thank Ms Burch for giving me another opportunity to have a go at this. Ms Burch is trying to conflate the issues; we all saw her doing that. The issue is not whether we support clubs or not, because we do, and we have said that repeatedly in this place. Mr Smyth is a champion of the clubs in this town. We value the contribution they make across the board. We value the contribution they make to our economy and we value the contribution they make to the community—contributions across a whole range of sectors: sporting clubs, charities, any number of other worthwhile community organisations. And that is the point. That is what clubs are for—they are community clubs to support the community. The soccer club, the football club, the charity—they are for the people in this community across the board. That is what they are established for; that is what they are meant for.
They are not meant to shovel money into the pockets of Ms Burch and Mr Barr and all of their mates in the Labor Party. The millions of dollars being shovelled into the Labor Party is money that is not going into our community. It is not going to that soccer club; it is not going to that sporting club; it is not going to those important places that we want the clubs to be contributing to. No, the Labor Party have their grubby little fingers out there taking the money out of the clubs that otherwise would be going to far more valuable, purposeful, meaningful elements of our society.