I am very concerned with the present political circumstances in our Federal Parliament in Canberra over the control of the House of Representatives.
The focus on the ‘numbers game’ has taken away focus from the important issues of the day, particularly problem gambling.
I applaud Mr. Wilkie for his efforts in championing poker machine reform amidst broken promises from the Federal Government.
However, the fact that this issue is only on the agenda because Mr. Wilkie holds a controlling vote demonstrates a sad state of affairs. The Government should repent of its opportunism and put its full weight behind genuine reform.
Instead of looking at the numbers of aligned parliamentarians, Prime Minister Gillard should exercise leadership by giving due consideration to these numbers from our state of Tasmania:
- Almost 50% of gamblers are “problem gamblers” or “at-risk” gamblers
- Amount lost on poker machines in Tasmania in 2009-10: $215.5M
- 27,500 Tasmanians affected by problem gambling.
As our Capital watches the senseless machinations of the political Arena I encourage Mr. Wilkie to hold the principled position with boldness. Please pray for wisdom and resilience for him, and success in gaining poker machine reform.
From Victoria, $500,000 an hour lost on pokies.