Page 4900 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017
That was in 2013-14 alone. Again: this was an industry group.
The ACT Civil Contractors Federation president, Peter Middleton, estimated that the effect of the MOU just on a single project—that is, light rail—would mean taxpayers were paying “$40 million to $80 million more than they should”. I repeat: 40 to $80 million more than they should. A Canberra Times editorial described this MOU and said, “The deal between the state government and UnionsACT just does not smell right.” And it doesn’t.
That goes to how this government ultimately funds itself: on the back of pokie profits. There are the land deals and all those sweetheart deals that bring in millions, but it is the pokies that bring in the tens of millions into this government. Mr Stanhope said that the money that they get from their pokie empire is “morally unacceptable”. He said it is “morally unacceptable”, and it is. We have members like Gordon Ramsay opposite who come in and lecture us about gaming reform but, as we all know—this community would agree with Jon Stanhope—what you are doing is morally unacceptable. I again quote Mr Stanhope:
The Labor Party should not be in a position where it’s perceived as owning poker machines and facilitating gambling.
That is what you are doing. As I said earlier this week, Canberra is the only jurisdiction outside tin pot African dictatorships where the party of government and their union-affiliated mates own a pokie empire, profit from that and then regulate that industry; get the money from that into building luxury apartments and funding their own political success.
This is not isolated to the Labor Party. The Greens, as we know, are significant beneficiaries of the pokie money from the CFMEU; $50,000 went to the ACT Greens in one single donation.
It is unethical and it has corrupted this party. This Labor Party has been corrupted. This party of government has been corrupted as a result. This is on the back of the misery of problem gamblers in places like Charnwood. Mr Ramsay should know that this Labor Party is profiteering from poor families.
Although Mr Stanhope has campaigned on this issue, you can get an insight into the culture of this party. Last year the president of the ACT Labor sub-branch in Dickson, who is a member of the CFMEU, was charged with blackmail. He was stood down. He was replaced by another CFMEU official as the president of the Labor Party sub-branch, who was also facing court action.
The media were flabbergasted and, when asked questions about this by the ABC, the response of the secretary of the Labor Party to these very serious concerns—charges that I believe led to convictions for blackmail—was this: “If we started throwing people out of the Labor Party for fines, we probably wouldn’t have many members left.” That is what the leadership of the Labor Party thinks. That is the standard that the party of government sets for probity in this town: that if we were to throw out