With the federal NXT Team today voting to support a Senate motion calling for poker machines to be phased out, the Greens have called on Nick Xenophon to clarify his position at a state level, inviting SA Best to stand with them on gambling reform.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today brought a motion to the Federal Parliament calling for the Turnbull Government to support states in phasing out gaming machines in pubs and clubs. With the motion enjoying the support of NXT Team Senators Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick, SA Greens MLC Tammy Franks has asked whether Mr Xenophon is now out of step with his federal colleagues.

“The Greens are committed to phasing out poker machines from South Australian pubs and clubs within five years,” Ms Franks said. “I welcome the decision of the Federal Xenophon team to vote today in support of an end to pokies, but Nick Xenophon himself has stated this is no longer his policy position in South Australia.

“Is Nick out of step with his federal team here or is this just an example of policy on the run? Can he now clarify the SA Best position on pokies that he is taking to the state election?

“His announcement about one dollar minimum bets does not go far enough to stop the damage caused in our community by these machines. The Greens believe we can do better by phasing them out over a realistic five-year period.

“However, last week, I sat on a forum panel where an SA Best candidate argued that our policy was ‘not realistic’, but I reject this defeatist attitude. It is only unrealistic if there in not the political willpower to make it happen; and that is not reason enough to abandon a core Xenophon policy of 20 years.

“An end to poker machines is looking realistic enough right now in Tasmania with the support of the Greens and Labor. It was not considered unrealistic by Nick 20 years ago. And now with the support of the Federal NXT Senators, it is looking more realistic in SA. I invite SA Best to stand with the Greens on a real ‘no-pokies’ policy, and we will make this happen,” she concluded.

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