HOBART 1 September 2011. The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, today slammed the poker machine industry for resorting to threats and lies in its desperate attempt to stop the Government’s poker machine reforms.
He said he is particularly appalled at the way Clubs Australia and Clubs NSW have shamefully bullied and deliberately misrepresented the Salvation Army.
``Today the Sydney Telegraph attributed to ‘Salvo’ Louise Duff a Salvation Army statement that it no longer supports the Government’s poker machine reforms”, Mr Wilkie said.
``The newspaper report is patently untrue, as evidenced by a statement from the Salvation Army which makes it clear their Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory division supports the reform, while the New South Wales, Queensland and Capital Territory division supports further trials before endorsing it.”
``What this disgraceful episode really shows is the way in which the pokies industry bullies anyone standing between it and the $5 billion the industry harvests from poker machine problem gamblers each year.”
``The big story here is actually that clubs in NSW have started preventing the Salvos from fundraising on club premises and threatened to stop other support for the iconic Australian welfare organisation.”
``Moreover Ms Duff actually works for the Brilliant Logic public relations firm which proudly boasts Clubs NSW, Gaming and Racing as well as Easts Leagues among the clients it regards with ‘love and awe’.”
``The pokies industry is plumbing new depths in its deeply unethical campaign against the introduction of effective harm minimisation measures for poker machine players. That the industry is prepared to stoop so low as to intimidate and misrepresent an iconic welfare group like the Salvos just goes to show how desperate the industry is to protect its profits.”
The Government is moving to require players of high-intensity poker machines to set limits on their losses before they start play, as well as introduce safer $1 maximum bet machines outside of the mandatory pre-commitment system.