Darkest day in SA’s tragic history of poker machines since their introduction 25 years ago: SA-BEST
The Liberal Marshall Government and Malinauskas Labor Opposition both stand condemned for colluding to pass some of the most repugnant pieces of legislation ever introduced in State Parliament, SA-BEST warned today.
SA-BEST MLCs Connie Bonaros and Frank Pangallo today blasted all politicians of both the major parties for becoming “convenient bedfellows” to vote to allow note acceptors on poker machines - despite overwhelming evidence they cause untold harm.
They also joined forces to vote against an amendment prohibiting a gambling provider from publishing advertising aimed at inducing a minor to gamble.
The controversial new reforms are expected to pass their final hurdle later today when the Upper House is expected to vote on the legislation.
“I am absolutely disgusted to the core,” Connie said.
“These new laws will have catastrophic, life-altering impacts on poker machine addicts across the state,” she said.
“The behaviour of MPs from both major parties to wipe their hands clean of the profound impacts their collective decision will have on people is nothing short of deplorable.
“Have MPs from either side no moral compass?
“How can historical, arch political rivals agree to become convenient bedfellows for such an insidious and serious issue.
“Collectively, they have teamed together to ensure the scourge of gambling addiction in this state worsens to a level never experienced before.
“This is despite the warnings of every anti-gambling expert in the country about the impacts the government’s proposed gambling reforms will have throughout the community.
“It is estimated about 400 Australians a year die due to gambling addiction. MPs from both major parties will have blood on their hands as a direct result of their vote.”
Frank condemned the actions of the major parties describing their behaviour as “repugnant” and said their support for the reforms went against what South Australians wanted.
He was referring to a recent survey by the Australian Institute which found 80 per cent of South Australians believed that allowing poker machines to accept notes would increase harm.
“The unholy alliance of the two major parties culminated in some of the most repugnant pieces of legislation ever introduced in Parliament,” Frank said.
“Both major parties have showed yet again that they are totally and utterly beholden to the super rich poker machine barons - and the AHA they prop up - who fill both parties with funds, along with the Adelaide Casino with its Midas Tower that will house hundreds more poker machines,” he said.
“We’ve even had the AHA General Manager, Ian Horne, gloating about the new laws being ‘our’ legislation – how crass is that!
“It’s an absolute outrage and further proof that money buys influence and money buys elections.
“You need to look no further than the implicit voting of ALL Liberal and Labor MPs on these reforms – not one had the guts to stand up for what they know is right.”
Connie said poker machines are being described as the “crystal meth of gambling” such are their levels of addiction.
“Australia has 20 per cent of the world's poker machines - yet only 0.3 per cent of the world's population,” Connie said.
“Australians lose more at gambling than any other population in the world, with $1000 in per capita losses, mostly because of the prevalence and ferocious hunger of poker machines,” she said.
“Poker machines are in the majority of the state's pubs and clubs, housed in over 500 venues in South Australia, with more than 12,000 machines still taking money from South Australians – that’s an average of nine poker machines per 1000 South Australian adults.
“These horrid machines are concentrated in the state’s most disadvantaged areas, with South Australians losing $680 million in 2016-17.
“Yet in this most disturbing of environments, the major parties have jumped into bed with each other to ensure these horrid new laws are passed regardless of all the issues raised by SA-BEST and the Greens.
“To add insult to injury – and clear testament to her and her party’s callous, heartless and reckless stand on the new laws - Labor’s acting Leader in the Upper House gave a speech totalling a little over 120 words when expressing her views on the issue. A complete and utter disgrace.
“All government and Opposition MPs should be utterly disgusted with themselves.”