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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Fitzpatrick there from the

inter national institute for

the BBC. The Federal Government strategic studies speaking on

is holding on to a Productivity

Commission report on the gaming

industry which is expected to

recommend tough measures to combat problem gaming.

campaigner Senator Nick Long-time anti-pokies

Zenophon is calling for the

report's immediate release and

he joins us now from Sydney.

Why do you think the Government

is holding on to the final

Productivity Commission

report? I don't know what's

going on in the head of the

Government but I do know the

draft report of the

Productivity Commission was

released last November, the

final report was handed to the

Government on 26 February. It's

been 3.5 months, it's time the

report was released. They need

to release it by the end of

June statatorily but I think

it's important the Government

not only releases the report

but tez us what they will do

about problem gambling. Based

on what was in the draft report

and what came from the hearings

into the report, what do you

expect the final report contansz in terms of

recommendation s? The draft

report made a key

recommendation that maximum

bets on poker machines per spin

be reduced from $10 to $1 with

the maximum rate of loss going

to $120 per hour. You could

literally lose thousands of

dollars on these machines now.

The impact would be on problem

gamblers. If the commission is

going down that path then the Government should adopt that

because it would be a very good

interim measure. What about

the growing popularity of

online gambling? Do you expect

the commission to delve into

that too deeply and I suppose

more importantly from your

point of view, what actions

should the Federal and State

Governments be taking to curb

that activity? It ought to bow

a Federal Government

responsibility because it

relates to broadcasting, it

Productivity Commission, I crosses borders. The

think curiously in their draft

report, said we should look at

liberalising online gambling

and have a system of regulation

but in their 1999 report they

said the more access scpble

electronic the gambling is, the

greater the risk. As my fellow

anti- gambling campaign er Tim

Costello has said, with online gambling you can lose your home

without having to leave it. The

Federal Governmentitute act in

relation to that. We have to

look at all of these reports

through the prism of politics. Do you think there's a

groundswell of voter support

for tougher action against the

and during the Tasmanian gaming industry? Yes there, is

election the welfare sector

undertook a comprehensive

survey of the attitude -

people' attitude towards

gambling and 9 out of 10 wanted very significant controls on

the poker mushen she know

industry in that State. That's

reflected in other surveys I've

seen in other states. That's

why we want to deal with this

and I guess Michael and my

colleagues in Labor hate me for

mentioning this but I was

inspired in part to run for

Federal Parliament because

Kevin Rudd at the last election

said that he hated poker machines and he knew something

of what they did to families

and something needed to be done

and here's a big chance for the

Government to follow that through. Do you think it's

also the case the Government

has taken on so many powerful

mining and tobacco interest groups of late, the

mining and tobacco industries

for example, that it doesn't

want to pick another

potentially bruise fight with

another large lobby in had

gaming industry so close to a

federal election? It may be a

factor but I think the

Government will find it

overwhelmingly popular to

introduce a number of measures.

If the $1 bet proposal is

followed through from the

commission' draft report, that

would make a significant

difference and reduce the level

of gambling losses amongst

problem gamblers. When you

consider 50% of losses on poker

machines come from people who

are hooked on the machines, we need to do something about

this. The Government has to

release the report by at the

end of the day of June. Given

how close the election is, be

it August, September, October,

it would be optimistic to see

action in terms of Government

response to report this site of

the poll. I'm always an

optimist, Michael. There will

be people like me and Tim Costello around the country who

will be saying, "You actually

need to do something about

this." I think this is an issue

that won't go away for the

Government. The welfare sector

knows how significant it is

because they run the agencies

that deal at the front line

with the people hurt by poker

machines and when you consider

there are upwards of a quarter

of a million Australians with a

problem or at risk of a problem

with poker machines and each of