Wilkie Backflips on Wilkie Backflip

Andrew Wilkie’s decision to support the Federal Government’s proposed gambling reform legislation should finally bring to an end 18 weeks of posturing by the Member for Denison.

It has been clear for several weeks that Andrew Wilkie had no concerns with the Government’s proposed legislation and was simply delaying his support in the forlorn hope that he could position himself as a kingmaker.

With that door now closed, Andrew Wilkie has effectively given up on the magic bullet solutions he along with Nick Xenophon have been demanding for 20 months.

The Government’s proposed legislation includes a trial of mandatory pre-commitment, a recommendation that the Productivity Commission first made in June 2010. With Andrew Wilkie’s apparent vote in favour of a trial, clubs hope that he has finally found a consensus with the industry that gambling reform must be evidence based.

Clubs Australia Executive Director Anthony Ball said he hopes Andrew Wilkie will finally stick to his word and support the trial.

“Andrew Wilkie’s support for a trial of mandatory pre-commitment is of course a backflip on a backflip.

“The constant bullying and threatening of both clubs and the Federal Government over the past 20 months has delayed gambling reforms that were well underway before the last federal election.

“The parliament should now be given the opportunity to consider the proposed legislation. In the meantime, clubs will continue to work on evidence based measures which it expects will further drive down the rate of problem gambling.

“Australia already has one of the lowest rates of problem gambling in the world. In NSW where 50% of Australia’s poker machines are located, the rate of problem gambling has halved during the past 4 years.

“This success has been achieved not through Federal Government intervention, but rather industry working with both Labor and Coalition State Governments.

“Regarding the timetable for the introduction of both voluntary pre-commitment and the trial of mandatory pre-commitment, I hope common sense will prevail and sufficient time will be given to ensure both technologies are properly designed.

“Virtually no progress has been possible on the design of voluntary and mandatory pre-commitment technology since Andrew Wilkie’s previous declaration that he was unable to support the Government’s reforms. With this roadblock removed, that work can now start again.” he said.

MEDIA: Jeremy Bath 0419 267 789