Legislative Council Hansard

Tuesday 17 April 2007


[2.40 p.m.]

Mr FINCH (Question ) - My question is to the Treasurer and the Minister for Racing. Has any challenge been made to the legality of the Gaming Control Amendment (Betting Exchange) Act 2005 in the High Court of Australia or any other court and, if so, what stage has been reached and what action has the Government taken in relation to this?

Mr AIRD - I thank the honourable member for his question. There has been a challenge to the Western Australian legislation which effectively excluded the citizens of Western Australia from participating in betting exchanges and the effect of that was obviously that people in Western Australia at the moment by law are prohibited from participating in betting with Betfair.

Betfair have taken the Western Australian Government to the High Court and I have sought to ensure that the Solicitor-General has represented Tasmania's interest in that High Court challenge. It is disturbing - and I do not want to go into the legal argument now - but I think as Tasmanians and citizens of Australia we ought to be able to participate in activities which are legal and participation should not be based on whether you live in one State or another; it is the way our Constitution was framed. I do not want to pre-empt the High Court decision but I think it is important that Tasmania be represented in those hearings and hopefully the matter will be resolved before the High Court.