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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 348

Mr WILKIE (Denison) (17:53): I thank the minister for his answer. An interesting part of that answer was an acknowledgement that some of these measures which will be in the consumer protection bill, the forthcoming bill, are state and territory responsibilities, and consequently we see that the Commonwealth is prepared to work in that space. That is good. I am happy with that. The contradiction that drops out of that is that, when I asked the Prime Minister last year—the current Prime Minister—whether or not he was prepared to act on poker machine reform, his answer was: 'No, because that is entirely a matter for the states and territories.' So we seem to have a contradiction here—that the government is prepared to work in the states and territories space on some gambling issues but use it as an excuse not to act on other issues. Through you, Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to challenge the minister now to make some sort of commitment to be more open about poker machine problem gambling, which, as the minister would well know, accounts for about 100,000 gambling addicts in this country, who between them—this is just the gambling addicts—are losing between $4,000 million and $5,000 million a year. How about it, Minister? Why are you saying it is okay in one gambling case but not in the other gambling case?