Page 4905 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017
I note that throughout the debate the volume has been increasing at times across the chamber. There is clearly an inverse relationship between the evidence and the volume, because there is no policy, no evidence upon which to base this. There is no policy that the Canberra Liberals have in relation to women’s health. They are closing their eyes to the evidence of what policy achieves.
They are desperate to work around the Assembly and the sovereignty of the territory regarding people’s health and pill testing. They are internally conflicted and confused when it comes to considerations of electronic gaming machines and gambling. The current Leader of the Opposition continues to insinuate that this government cannot engage objectively with the clubs.
The Canberra Liberals’ repeated assertion that the government is conflicted because of the Labor Club gaming machine revenue is misplaced, it is misunderstood and it misrepresents reality. Gaming machine revenue is collected as a tax. It goes into consolidated revenue, which of course funds schools, hospitals, roads, public transport, rubbish collection, mowing, parks, city services, the justice system.
Opposition members interjecting—
MADAM SPEAKER: Can you resume your seat, please, Mr Ramsay. Ms Lawder, you were heard in silence, I think, as were you, Mr Wall, but you are not providing silence for Mr Ramsay at the moment. Mr Ramsay.
MR RAMSAY: Madam Speaker, city services, the justice system, the arts—I could go on. This is revenue like any tax that is necessarily collected to fund the city that we love and the lifestyle that we enjoy. But the realities of running an economy elude the opposition, probably for obvious reasons. The facts are clear: this government is working and working hard to reduce harm.
But the opposition spokesperson for gambling constantly seeks to water down any steps designed to reduce the negative impact of gambling in the territory. Madam Speaker, I draw to your attention that the assistance package for clubs that this government has initiated is aimed primarily to assist small and medium clubs. Neither the Labor clubs nor the tradesmen’s clubs qualify for that assistance. There is no preferential treatment.
The Labor Party’s relationship with the Labor Club is transparent. There is nothing hidden about it. The Labor Party has not received donations from the Labor Club since 2013. And, more importantly, decisions about the club’s gaming machines and its income are not made or directed by the Labor Party. The club is an independent organisation owned and controlled by its members. All donations, as the opposition well knows, though may well choose to ignore, are reported as part of the electoral donations regulations.
The allegation that this government is conflicted on this is entirely unfounded when you look at the policy that we have on gaming machines. In addition to the casino legislation, which we will be debating later, which prioritises acquisitions from small