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Message No. 653, 28 June 2001, from the Senate was reported transmitting for the concurrence of the House a Bill for an Act about interactive gambling, and for related purposes.

Bill read a first time.

Mr Entsch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources) moved—That the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Entsch presented a revised explanatory memorandum to the Bill.

Debate, by leave, ensued.

Mr Smith moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: "whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House:

(1) condemns the Government for introducing an unworkable, internally inconsistent and hypocritical bill which:

 (a) does not provide strong regulation of interactive gambling as the most practical and effective way of reducing social harm arising from gambling;

(b) may exacerbate problem gambling in Australia by barring access to regulated on-line gambling services with in-built safeguards but which in practice will allow access to unregulated offshore on-line gambling sites that do not offer consumer protection or probity;

(c) does not extend current regulatory and consumer protection requirements applying to off-line and land-based casinos, clubs or wagering venues to on-line casinos and on-line wagering facilities;

(d) damages Australia's international reputation for effective consumer protection laws and strong, workable gambling regulations;

(e) singles out one form of gambling in an attempt to create the impression of placating community concern about the adverse social consequences of gambling but does not address more prevalent forms of gambling in Australian society; and

(f) is not technology neutral or technically feasible;

(2) calls on the Government to show national leadership on this issue by:

 (a) addressing harm minimisation and consumer protection as well as criminal issues that may arise from on-line gambling;

(b) ensuring a quality gambling product through financial probity checks on providers and their staff;

(c) maintaining the integrity of games and the proper working of gaming equipment;

(d) providing mechanisms to exclude those not eligible to gamble under Australian law;

(e) implementing problem gambling controls, such as exclusion from facilities, expenditure thresholds, no credit betting, and the regular provision of transaction records;

(f) introducing measures to minimise any criminal activity linked to interactive gambling;

(g) providing effective privacy protection for on-line gamblers;

(h) containing social costs by ensuring that adequate ongoing funds are available to assist those with gambling problems;

(i) establishing consistent standards for all interactive gambling operators;

(j) examining international protocols with the aim of achieving multilateral agreements on sports betting and other forms of interactive gambling;

(k) investigating mechanisms to ensure that some of the benefits of on-line gambling accrue more directly to the local community;

(l) working with State and Territory governments to ensure that on-line and interactive gambling operators meet the highest standards of probity and auditing through licensing agreements;

(m) seeking co-regulation of interactive gambling by establishing a national regulatory framework that provides consumer safeguards and industry Codes of Practice; and

(n) coordinating the development of a co-regulatory regime through the Ministerial Council comprising of relevant State and Federal Ministers".

Debate continued.

Amendment negatived.

Question—That the Bill be now read a second time—put and passed—Bill read a second time.

Leave granted for third reading to be moved forthwith.

Mr Entsch (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources) moved—That the Bill be now read a third time.


The House divided (the Deputy Speaker, Mr Nehl, in the Chair)—

AYES, 68

Mr AbbottMr FaheyMr LiebermanMr Schultz
Mr AndersonMr FischerMr LindsayMr Scott
Mr AndrenMr Forrest*Mr LloydMr Secker
Mr K. J. AndrewsMrs GallusMr McArthur*Mr Slipper
Mr AnthonyMs GambaroMr I. E. MacfarlaneDr Southcott
Mr BairdMrs GashMr McGauranDr Stone
Mr BarresiMr GeorgiouMrs MayMrs Sullivan
Mr BartlettMr HaaseMrs MoylanMr C. P. Thompson
Mrs B. K. BishopMr HardgraveMr NairnMr A. P. Thomson
Ms J. I. BishopMr HawkerDr NelsonMr Truss
Mr BroughMr HockeyMr NevilleMr Tuckey
Mr CadmanMrs HullMr ProsserMr M. A. J. Vaile
Mr CameronMr JullMr PyneMrs D. S. Vale
Mr CausleyMrs D. M. KellyMr ReithMr Wakelin
Mr DownerJackie KellyMr RonaldsonDr Washer
Mrs ElsonDr KempMr RuddockMr Williams
Mr EntschMr LawlerMr St ClairMs Worth

NOES, 61

Mr AdamsMr M. J. FergusonMr McClellandMr Rudd
Mr AlbaneseMr FitzgibbonMs J. S. McFarlaneMr Sawford*
Mr BevisMr GibbonsMr McLeayMr Sciacca
Mr BreretonMs GillardMr McMullanMr Sercombe*
Ms BurkeMr GriffinDr MartinMs Short
Mr ByrneMs HallMr MelhamMr Sidebottom
Ms CorcoranMr HattonMr MorrisMr Smith
Mr CoxMs HoareMr MossfieldMr Snowdon
Mr CreanMr HollisMr MurphyMr Swan
Mrs CrosioMrs IrwinMs O'ByrneMr Tanner
Mr DanbyMr JenkinsMr O'ConnorMr K. J. Thomson
Mr EdwardsMs KernotMr O'KeefeMr Wilkie
Ms EllisMr KerrMs PlibersekMr Zahra
Mr EmersonDr LawrenceMr Price
Mr M. J. EvansMr LeeMr Quick
Mr L. D. T. FergusonMs LivermoreMs Roxon

* Tellers


Mr Howard Mr Beazley

Dr Wooldridge Mr Horne

Mr Somlyay Mr Latham

And so it was resolved in the affirmative—Bill read a third time.