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Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Page: 7603


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (12:40): Could I just take up Senator Siewert's point? I guess I look at it from a slightly different perspective. By having two legislative instruments, by having two periods of six months, if the government is not being transparent in the process—and I would shocked if it were not, and I say that with a straight face, because I think it is in the government's interest for there to be transparency in the process. I genuinely believe that. I know some more cynical in the chamber might not have that view, but the fact is: if there is not, then that itself could be a factor for the disallowance. I think the government would know that, in order to ensure that the regulation not be disallowed in the second six-month period, there would need to be a level of transparency and accountability in the process. So I think that itself would act to be useful.

I will just ask a question of the minister that I raised briefly with Assistant Minister Tudge. This is what happens when you pass people in the corridors of this building. We had a useful conversation but sadly none of it was recorded for the purposes of Hansard. This relates to online gambling. Yesterday, just parenthetically, I had a very useful discussion with former New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell, who is heading up—

Senator Dastyari: Over wine?

Senator XENOPHON: Senator Dastyari, hopefully Hansard did not pick that up. Through you, Chair, Senator Dastyari needs to know that there was no wine consumed, only water.

In his review of online gambling, there was an issue about the distinction between illegal online gambling providers—those that operate out of Gibraltar and the Caribbean and goodness knows where else, which are unauthorised and illegal—and those that are authorised under the Interactive Gambling Act. My question to the minister—and I happy for some of this to be taken on notice—is: given that some of these illegal operations have innocuous-sounding names that do not sound anything like a gambling provider for their merchant ID, will the healthy welfare card prohibit overseas transactions, and which overseas transactions will be allowed? If you are dealing with Amazon.com to buy a book, I would have thought that someone should be able to do that transaction—or if they are dealing with any online retailers that might be overseas or they want to subscribe to The New York Times, which might have a special subscription deal that goes to an overseas website. How do you distinguish between those overseas transactions and, in particular, overseas online gambling transactions?