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Labor Abandons Pokies Policy

pokie machine

A year after its pledge to remove poker machines from Tasmania's pubs and clubs torpedoed its election campaign, state Labor is now dumping it.

Opposition leader Rebecca White made the revelation today.

Federal Independent Andrew Wilkie calls it a disgusting back-flip.

"I expected better of Bec White, I think she had been very strong to this point in time. But regrettably, it was an open secret in Canberra that Federal Labor was desperate to have Tasmanian Labor dump the policy. Federal Labor wanted this totally off the radar for the Federal election."

The Federal Independent rejects the argument the party couldn't phase them out if the current government strikes a new long term deal with the Federal Group.
"It's nonsense to say that a future Labor government can't overturn or amend any deed that's written between the current state government and the poker machine industry."
Premier Will Hodgman was also quick to weigh in.
"This is Rebecca White's Kevin Rudd moment: she said it's something she believed in but now, and presumably with the Federal election not far away, she's happy to abandon that policy."
Greens leader Cassy O'Connor has also blasted the decision.

"This is a betrayal of every Tasmanian who voted for Labor on the basis of a position of principle.

It’s a betrayal of those disadvantaged individuals, families and communities harmed by poker machines in pubs and clubs.

It’s a betrayal of the community sector who has campaigned so hard for the removal of pokies from pubs and clubs, and backed in Labor’s position last March.

Ms White knows full well no Parliament can bind a future Parliament

She should know the gambling industry won’t be able to cry ‘sovereign risk’ if Labor sticks to its position of principle if it wins government in 2022.

This is a cop out of the highest order."

The Tasmanian Council of Social Service issued the following statement.

"The majority of the Tasmanian community wants pokies out of their local pubs and clubs. The election result has not changed this.

As we wait for the Hodgman Government to reveal the detail of how it will enact its election promise to cement pokies in Tasmanian communities until at least 2043, The Community Voice on Pokies Reform coalition will continue to be a strong and representative voice on this issue.

The principle of reducing the harm caused by pokies sits above politics and will continue to be raised as the process to renew or alter the current Deed proceeds.

The fact remains that Tasmanians were never asked if they wanted pokies to move into their neighbourhoods and the majority want them removed.

Tasmania’s house of review, the Legislative Council, remains largely independent and we have faith in its Members’ ability to look at this issue with the interests of Tasmanian communities at their core when the time comes to vote on the legislation.

The Community Voice on Pokies Reform coalition comprises 60 member organisations including local councils, not-for-profit service organisations, peak bodies, church-based groups and many others."