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POKIES NOTE ACCEPTORS BULLDOZED THROUGH SA PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK

 

After a marathon debate in the state Upper House (over three days and long nights into early morning) the controversial bills that will ‘turbo charge gambling harm’ by allowing note acceptors in SA poker machines has drawn the condemnation of Greens’ MLC Tammy Franks.

 

Despite the lengthy debate and dozens of amendments put to the Bills by the crossbench members the bills passed the South Australian parliament after 8pm last night with not a single Labor or Liberal MP allowed to exercise a conscience vote and never once supporting an amendment to the bills - giving rise to repeated suggestions in the chamber that a ‘deal had been done’ well before the debate even started. The Greens, SA Best,  and Advance SA all voted against the Bills.

 

Greens and SA Best amendments put that all MPs from both the major parties rejected:

-          Maximum $1 bets

-          Ensuring Labor’s required facial recognition technology is only used to actually reduce gambling harm rather than (as it often used by Casinos) to groom gambling behaviours

-          Liquor Licensing fee concessions for ‘Pokies Free’ Pubs  

-          Increased penalties for allowing children in gaming rooms

-          Penalties for advertising inducing children to gamble

-          More money into the gambling rehabilitation fund and a stronger voice at the advisory table for the social welfare sector and those with lived experience of gambling harm

-          Various transparency measures around reporting including making timely statistical information on gambling expenditure more readily available

-          Protection for a person to be barred from bureaucratic delays having their barred status lapse

 

The following quotes are attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:

 

“In the debate the Treasurer’s modelling for this legislation predicts gambling revenue to now go up by $2m (then $3m) each year and that may well be reflected in this month’s mid-year budget review figures, but the figures for poverty, suicide, mental health and harm in our state will also increase and along with that the costs to our social services sector will balloon over those same years.

 

“The crossbench MLCs put up some basic protections and safeguards in amendments. In what was quite unusual for a state Upper House debate every single one of the dozens of crossbench amendments were flatly rejected by both Labor and Liberal MPs on the floor.

 

“The debate was an appalling display of public spin winning over legislative substance as Labor’s deal with Government to introduce these note acceptors with purported protections was shown to be flimsy and false. On being caught out on this the Opposition simply shrugged their shoulders and blamed the Government.

 

“Without facial recognition technology (FTR) protections in the Act to ensure the use of FTR is to prevent harm rather than to groom or promote gambling, the Labor amendments are worthless. In fact, tonight they might as well have put the fox in charge of the henhouse by pretending a tool (FTR) to manipulate behaviours will not be used to do so.

 

“Under the scrutiny of the chamber’s questioning Labor’s so-called ‘strict’ $100 limit on these machines turned out to be as illusory as Labor’s pretense that they were not complicit in the Bill from the start.

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Coorong Trust Passes Upper House

Last night the Legislative Council passed the Coorong Environmental Trust Bill 2019, which received unanimous support from all sides of politics.  The legislation, which has been called for by the local community, will establish the Coorong Environmental Trust; an independent body with the objective of driving the restoration of flows and ecological stability within the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, with a strong focus on the Ramsar principle of sustainable use. This will put science and community back into the heart of our understanding of the Coorong and Lower Lakes.

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Confucius Institutes are a key plank of the Chinese Communist Party's global soft power effort.  There are 14 Confucius Institutes in Australian universities and 67 Confucius Classrooms in Australian schools.

In South Australia, there is a ‘Confucius Institute’ (CI) at the University of Adelaide, two Confucius Classrooms in our state's public schools (Salisbury High and Plympton International College), and one Confucius Classroom in the private sector at Christian Brothers College.

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After first appearing in Perth, another car has now appeared in Adelaide imitating a Chinese police vehicle, alarming members of the public and in particular ex-pats from China. There is currently speculation that this fake police car may have been part of an intimidating ploy against pro-democracy protesters rallying in solidarity with those in Hong Kong over the weekend.

Currently under South Australian law it is an offence to impersonate a police officer, but it is unclear if this incident is an offence under our state’s legislation as it does not refer to police vehicles or the impersonation of police from other countries. There needs to be greater clarity around these laws to protect the community. 

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In a win for respect for CFS and SES Volunteers, today the Fire and Emergency Services (Volunteer Charter) Bill has passed in the House of Assembly with the support of all sides of politics after it was moved by Troy Bell MP. This Bill had already passed the Legislative Council, where it was sponsored by Tammy Franks MLC, and enshrines the CFS and SES Volunteer Charters in the Act itself (rather than in regulations).

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Confucius Institutes are a key plank of the Chinese Communist Party's global soft power effort. In South Australia, we have one Confucius Institute at the University of Adelaide, two Confucius Classrooms in our state's public schools (Salisbury High and Plympton International College), and one Confucius Classroom in the private sector at Christian Brothers College. There are 14 Confucius Institutes in Australian universities and 67 Confucius Classrooms in Australian schools.

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