This is like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders becoming best friends. Or, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov going to have a drink together at a pub in Ireland. Or even America and Syria creating an alliance. This is unbelievable.
One Nation and the NSW Greens will form an alliance to support a gambling card for poker machines. For those who don’t live in Australia, One Nation is an incredibly nationalistic and extremely conservative political party compared with the Greens who are pretty much socialists and sit on the far-left of Australian politics. This alliance is random, unexpected, but it could lead to some vital legislation passing efficiently through the government.
So, what is this gambling reform?
The government wants to move to cashless poker machine and require players to register for a government-issued gambling card. These changes will mean gamblers will be forced to register and pre-load money to the card, which would operate similar to a transport card such as the Opal card. This card would also be linked to the state’s exclusion register to block out thousands of self-excluded gamblers.
Any guesses as to who is against these new measures? Pubs and clubs.
They have slammed the draft legislation and believe it is not an appropriate time to be introducing new compliance requirements as gaming revenue is a significant contributor to the funds of different pubs and clubs.
One Nation leader, Mark Latham, has been a long-term critic of gambling machines after his father battled with a gambling addiction. Moreover, Greens gaming spokeswoman, Cate Faehramnn, said that her party supported the new legislation.
In a rare occasion, there may be bipartisan support for this bill, and that is excellent news. Gambling addiction impacts people across the political spectrum, and if personnel from all sides are involved in solving the issue, the chance for success increases exponentially.
Some of these measures could devastate pubs and clubs around Australia at a time when their survival is under threat and protecting jobs is paramount. However, there has actually been a rise in gambling over the past few months as individuals have tried to increase their money after losing employment due to the pandemic. I would even go as far to say that getting rid of pokie machines will save many more jobs than if everything stays the same.
I fully support this legislation, and I hope that it can be passed with bipartisan support. I acknowledge the concern of pubs and clubs and believe that waiting a month or two may be appropriate to give them time to recover lost funds. However, the delay must not be for too long. Gambling machines destroy lives, and it is finally time to start solving a problem present in every suburb of Australia.