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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 787


Mr CHAMPION (Wakefield) (10:15): I commend the Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform. He has often had to put up with trying circumstances, as I know the secretariat have. I second his commendation of their work. This inquiry into interactive and online gambling and gaming advertising was an important inquiry—it was all about bringing these issues, which have surreptitiously crept into our everyday lives, into this parliament for us to consider. We have noticed over the last 60 years or so the invasion of TV into homes—into living rooms, bedrooms and everywhere else in the modern household—but we are now seeing modern technologies spread themselves into our daily lives more and more. You only have to look at politicians and Twitter accounts and tablets and the like to know they are changing the nature of politics. Of course they are changing the nature of gambling, and that trend will accelerate. This parliament will have to be very aware of emerging technologies so we can legislate appropriately and not just chase the tail of the gambling monster, as it were.

The committee makes a number of important recommendations. The sooner recommendation No. 1, concerning the independent research institute, is implemented, the sooner the parliament will be in a much better position to assess the claims and counterclaims of proponents of reform and those who seek to avoid reform and avoid their increasing responsibilities as the providers of these services. Recommendation No. 9, which talks about a reduction in account verification from 21 days to 72 hours, protects children in particular and also generally the integrity of the industry. Recommendation No. 15 involves a total ban on the promotion of live odds at venues and during the broadcast of games. Much of the evidence given to the committee—and a lot of anecdotal evidence—is that people do not like going to the game and having gambling constantly shoved down their throats and therefore obviously down the throats of young people in attendance.

Recommendation No. 19 concerns prohibiting gambling advertising during children's viewing times. In this modern world we do not give children much time to have a childhood anymore. Kids grow up pretty fast and part of that process involves what they are exposed to on television. Over the last 15 years we have seen a liberalisation of standards and a willingness of broadcasters to push the envelope. Maybe that is because of competitive pressures and maybe it is because of self-regulation, but much of what children take in by watching TV is of concern to society, as it should be to this parliament. Recommendation No. 16 concerns a mandatory code of conduct for the advertising of wagering, including inducements to bet, credit betting, third-party commissions, harm minimisation messages on responsible gambling and having national consistent standards particularly in regard to logos on uniforms and the replication of guernseys, for example, for children which might have gambling logos on them. We want to have a mandatory code of conduct so that some of those more egregious things are taken out. This has inspired some government action, which is on the public record, and that is an important thing.

It is important that the committee continue its work. This is a very interesting area of public policy, a very contested area of public policy, but I think we have added to the knowledge of this parliament and to the knowledge in the community of some of the issues that the community has to face. I commend the chair once again for his excellent conduct.

The SPEAKER: The time allotted for statements on this report has expired. Does the honourable member for Denison wish to move a motion in connection with the report to enable it to be debated on a later occasion?