Senator Mitch Fifield today accused the ALP of rank hypocrisy for receiving donations from Labor’s pokies clubs.
The ACT branch of the Labor Party has accepted more than $2 million since 2006 from the Canberra Labor Club, who operate four pokies venues across the ACT.
“For the ALP in Canberra, the light on the hill is the flashing light of poker machines,” Senator Fifield said during Senate Estimates Hearings today.
“One of the only reasons the Labor Party is in Government today is because of a deal they signed with Independent MP Andrew Wilkie a deal which had a commitment to curbing problem gambling as its cornerstone.”
As part of their deal with Mr Wilkie, the ALP agreed to introduce pre-commitment technology to poker machines in order to help problem gamblers set limits on their gambling.
The deal states that:
“…the parties agree that problem gambling, especially through poker machines, is an important issue which must be addressed by all governments.”
“It seems the ALP has been signing deals with Mr Wilkie to help solve the issue of problem gambling with one hand, while accepting revenue from pokies in the other,” Senator Fifield said.
“This Government estimates that 160,000 Australians have a gambling problem, and that three quarters of people with severe gambling problems are poker machine users.”
“I’m the last person to get in to the business of saying who you should and who you shouldn’t take money from. But the ALP makes an art form of being particularly sanctimonious about these sorts of issues,” Senator Fifield said during Estimates Hearings today.
“This $2 million stinks of rank hypocrisy.”