Thursday 10 November 2016
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Gaming Control Amendment (Community Interest Bill) 2016 (No. 65)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I will join the conga line of people who wanted to be on the investigative committee for gaming and did not get a guernsey . It will be such an interesting process. I thought I would have been a very worthy member because I have quite an open mind about the whole circumstance of gambling and gaming machines. I would have been on a voyage of discovery in many ways about where my thoughts actually lie. That is the process that I bring to a lot of legislation that we deal with: I try to come with an open mind, take in the evidence and then see where my thoughts lie. I am not opinionated or driven by opinion in a lot of cases. This bill gives me the opportunity to use my current favourite word, which is 'discombobulated'. It is a beauty. I will not spell it. I am of two minds about this process.
The briefing, while it was terrific to have the Government advisers give evidence and also to have the Dixons give evidence to us, has not given me a clear pathway for a decision I want to make. Having listened to the arguments put forward, as usual, the arguments come from different directions, different angles and people's different life experiences, which all makes for an interesting debate. I would like to see this proposition go to the Committee stage because amendments are coming now. Whether at the end of the Committee stage I support the process is yet to be seen. I can go down that path by supporting it into the Committee stage.
At least the Tasmanian Government is making a move to curb the proliferation of gaming machines in Tasmania, or putting them under the spotlight. They are giving them the due scrutiny. With the evidence and the concern in the community, the experts we are hearing from, the research being done and the discussions that are taking place about the problems of gambling we have in our community, I think it is appropriate we have this spotlight and microscope placed on this situation, to see whether it is good for our community. We know we are a nation of gamblers. We love to gamble. Like the Asians, some Europeans, a lot of people generally, the people love to have a gamble.
Mr Armstrong - The Americans had one yesterday.
Mr FINCH - That is the doozy of a gamble. I am tempted to digress on that path, but people are slowly moving into recovery mode.
Ms Rattray - You may meet the incumbent President of the USA, so do not say anything.
Mr FINCH - No, that is right. I am drawing on my own experience. The member for Windermere was talking about using facilities when he travels. I lived in New South Wales for some time. The poker machines were popular and the facilities those gaming machines, the gambling machines, provided for those communities gave a focus and brought the communities to life which otherwise would not have a focal entertainment point.
The entertainers we witnessed, the opportunity to have an inexpensive meal in fantastic surroundings, was all provided for by the gaming machines. People have the freedom of choice as to whether they want to spend a bit of time, as Carol and I did every Friday night and at other times, to relax and enjoy. With your frantic work life, you can relax in those atmospheres, in good surroundings, and enjoy the facilities they provide. I have used those facilities in the past and enjoyed the opportunity to do so.
Whilst we have been through the process, and I was part of that debate when we reviewed the Federal Group's operations in Tasmania, that cap was set for gaming machines in Tasmania. The cap for the machines was set at 3680. That was through debate, assessment, consideration, what should the future hold, what should the impact be in our community, what can the community sustain as far as these machines are concerned - 3680. It is a strong point. We are not at that cap, at that level set by the previous government, and from all the evidence that we received - 3680. We are still 130 short, but now we are going to change the ground rules.