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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10388

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (21:47): Or will it be like the Talking Heads song—will it take us on the road to nowhere? This is what I am concerned about. I do not want to be like a dog at a bone with this, but this is my concern in relation to whether a state or territory could thwart the implementation of the scheme. It is a technical question, and I know the minister has some very capable advisers from the department and from the minister's office. Clause 36 of the bill says that there is no national database of protected information from precommitment systems, so it must not be established. Clause 58 talks about making noncompliant gaming machines available for use and it has, in a sense, penalty provisions. In relation to clause 85, there is a liability for a gaming machine regulation levy. The concern I have is this, and it is not a trick question; it is a genuine question about how the scheme would operate, because my understanding is that the minister is quite right when he says that the Commonwealth could try to impose penalties on venue operators—it could do that using the corporations power and other powers. But, because it relies on having the machines being able to flick onto a mandatory precommitment system, which is what this bill purports to do, you would actually need to have the cooperation of the states to have a system in place—in other words, to have a system where the machines are networked, where they are linked and where you would need some form of database, even the most basic database so that people can be locked out of playing another machine once they have reached their limit in a mandatory precommitment system. That is what I am struggling to understand. If there is a way that those concerns can be allayed, I would welcome hearing that from the minister.