Page 4944 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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How amazing that the holier than thou Greens will clearly be voting for this bill. I know we have an amendment coming. Is it not amazing that the Greens, who are so worried about people doing harm to themselves in gambling houses, are voting for poker machines to go into the casino?

But not just poker machines. In this gambling harm awareness week, the Greens are not voting just for poker machines in the casino; they are voting for a completely new form of gambling to be introduced in the form of fully automated table games. We have never seen them here in the ACT. This form of gambling has never been available here in Canberra. But, thanks to Ms Le Croupier—thanks to Caroline Le Croupier and Roulette Rattenbury; thanks to the Greens and our good friend, Mr Ramsay—everyone will now have the ability to play fully automated table games. They have never been here before.

James Packer would be very pleased with this. This is half-baked legislation. So many of the finer details that would be required to make an informed decision on matters as important as these are simply left out to be determined by bureaucrats at a later date.

One of the most absurd things that the minister said in this chamber—let us face it, we have quite a number to choose from—was in regards to this bill. Mr Ramsay suggested that the bill had nothing to do with the unsolicited bid from Aquis to redevelop the casino precinct. Suggesting that this bill has nothing to do with the Aquis bid is like suggesting that Floriade has nothing to do with spring or that the Mardi Gras has nothing to do with the LGBTIQ community.

The bill relates to the unsolicited bid from Aquis to redevelop the casino precinct in return for access to poker machine licences. You cannot separate the two. When the Chief Minister met with Aquis at 2.45 pm on 21 May 2015—when Tony and Jason Fung and others from Aquis walked through the casino’s unsolicited bid proposal; when they showed that swish video and detailed exactly what would be built on the site—they made it abundantly clear that all of this grandeur, all of these jobs, all of this development would be commercially viable only if gaming machines were approved for operation in the casino. This is how business works in the real world. Enterprising people come up with scenarios whereby they invest a certain amount of money; they take a risk; they make a judgment on how much they can get in return.

I was asked by the media to respond to the casino bill on the day it was tabled. I said—I cannot remember the exact quote—words to the effect that, if I were a bookmaker, I would be offering 10 to one against the casino redevelopment going ahead. I am sure that Mr Ramsay and his staff googled “10 to one against” after I made that statement to get their heads around what I was saying. I say that because time and time again in this portfolio Mr Ramsay and his staff make it clear that they have no understanding of the gambling or the racing space, none whatsoever. This is shown again in this bill.

If you think that Mr Ramsay has no idea what is going on in this space, you want to have a chat to Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur. Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur are so clueless in this space, they make Mr Ramsay look like Tom Waterhouse!

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