Page 3636 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 September 2018

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Another said:

Why can’t we be allowed to make some decisions remote from government at times, please think of the little community groups who will lose if this change goes ahead.

And another said:

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” Nothing I have seen from the Government demonstrates that the current system is broken; the changes seem purely ideological which is not a sound foundation for good policy.

Of course, we have gone a little further down the track with this. The minister will assure us that this debate is over. He will tell us that he has listened to the community, and that the community advised him to go with option 2 in the discussion paper; that is, quarantining the first eight per cent of gaming revenue to be still distributed by the clubs and then tacking on an additional two per cent that must go to a centrally administered fund.

This two per cent is not a community contribution; it is a tax. I see through it. Jon Stanhope sees through it. Just about every member of a club in Canberra sees it for what it is. It is vindictive revenge for the clubs’ campaign against the government at the 2016 election. It is institutionalised bullying of the highest order. Bullying by government is the worst bullying of all, and I am sick to death of it.

Our clubs already donate as much as they possibly can back into the community. By imposing this additional tax on our clubs, this government will be robbing community organisations that have been supported by the clubs to this point. If you tax them more, they will give less back to the community.

In regard to the minister suggesting that he has listened to the community and retreated to option 2, none of the options were palatable—none of them. As I said in this chamber during the last sitting, this is like consulting a death row inmate on which way he would like to be executed then suggesting that he is going to the electric chair because that is what the prisoner told us he wanted.

My message to the minister is: please leave our clubs alone. My colleagues and I on this side of the chamber are happy to stand up for the local community and help them to have their views heard, even when those opposite are determined not to listen to them. It is with great pleasure that I commend this petition, along with its 1,225 signatures and thousands of local supporters in the community.

Assistant Speaker

Revocation and nomination

MADAM SPEAKER: Pursuant to the provisions of standing order 8, I have revoked the nomination of Mr Steel as an Assistant Speaker and I have nominated Ms Orr as an Assistant Speaker. I present the following warrant of revocation and nomination:

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