For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 24 Nov 2013.
On Wednesday, virtually unnoticed by media, the federal House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the requirements for limits on ATM withdrawals in clubs and hotels with poker machines, dynamic warnings on pokies, the National Gambling Regulator, and the roll-out of voluntary pre-commitment technology on all poker machines in Australia – measures designed to ensure harm minimisation and public health for those at risk of gambling addiction.
Apart from the message it sends to vulnerable people, this bill is a blatant gift to the gambling industry from a federal government that is quickly attracting a reputation for unethical, hypocritical and self-serving policies that favour special interest groups and undermine the common good.
The NSW Council of Churches remains convinced that the best way to protect public health and ensure harm minimisation for poker machines is to introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology and a one dollar bet limit on all pokies throughout Australia.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.