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Speech: Gambling Administration Bill - Second Reading

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:36): I rise on behalf of the Greens to speak to the Gambling Administration Bill 2019. I thank the government for their briefing—which was held yesterday. I thank them for the scant answers that I have received so far to my questions. I note that in their contribution the opposition, represented by the Hon. Clare Scriven, made a contribution of some 397 words on this bill. Of course, that stands in absolute glory compared to their 134 words on the regulation bill that is its companion. The opposition had 397 words to say on this bill, a bill which contains—

The Hon. T.J. Stephens: Quality not quantity.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: This contains neither quality nor quantity. I ask my first question: does the opposition today—that has just gagged the ability of the crossbenchers to engage in this debate—have a lead spokesperson for this debate today to answer the crossbenchers' questions about the agreement, the deal, the backroom brokered deal, between the Treasurer and the shadow treasurer on this bill that is now embodied in these pieces of government legislation, or will the opposition continue to hide behind that deal and not face the music in this place?

This bill, as it is described by the government, aligns and consolidates various administrative matters under the act across all sectors of the gambling industry, including that of the commissioner's powers of inquiry and direction, and the commissioner's powers when conducting proceedings. It ensures uniform rights for gambling providers to seek a review of a decision by the commissioner before the Licensing Court. It also provides for a streamlined process for the commissioner to prescribe advertising and responsible gambling, codes of practice and gambling administration guidelines.

It extends the expiation fees to all gambling providers for a breach of the code of practice. It also ensures the appointment of persons as inspectors for the purposes of the gambling acts and provides uniform powers of inspection, and it also simplifies and standardises the legislative power for compliance, enforcement and disciplinary action. Simplifies and standardises: well when they did the dodgy deal, the backroom deal, that shadow treasurer and the Treasurer, they certainly simplified and standardised processes in this place between the opposition and the government.

The bill will also allow persons at risk of harm or at risk of causing harm to a family member because of their gambling addiction problem to be barred for a period or for an indefinite period, including from the premises of a single gambling provider or from the premises of multiple gambling providers. This bill also broadens barring orders and those provisions to allow for a barring order, whether self-imposed or enforced by the commissioner or enforced by a third-party, to be initiated for any period of time or indefinitely, should those circumstances permit.

Those provisions are not ones that the crossbench seeks to query today. Indeed, much of this bill will provide some better and clearer measures, but the lack of transparency, the lack of process, the lack of respect for the crossbenches today reflects a lack of transparency, a lack of process and a lack of respect given to the community sector, and to those voices within the community that should have been at the table when the Treasurer and shadow treasure did the deal on note acceptors in exchange for facial recognition, in exchange for no conscience vote on the side of the government, no conscience vote on the side of the opposition—and today, almost no debate whatsoever in this place on the merits or otherwise of this bill, in particular on the merits or otherwise of the changes made by the Labor opposition to this bill in the other place.

There are 397 words, and not one about how the facial recognition technology will be applied, not a word in the 134 words on the regulations bill, not a word about whether or not facial recognition technology will be ensured to apply only to those who have barring orders, and not used to apply to actually create problem gamblers or fleece willing gamblers from their money more regularly, more quickly and more strategically.

We have no safeguards in this bill from the proposition put before us by the Labor opposition with no consultation with stakeholders, those who represent those at risk of gambling harm, to ensure that this technology will not be used for nefarious purposes rather than protective ones. However, we do have an agreement between Labor and Liberal that we are going to see note acceptors in this state, which means that people will be able to gamble away their money more quickly and, in cases of problem gamblers, with less protection in some situations.

This bill will also insert those requirements for facial recognition I have mentioned. They are the Labor amendments to the government bill in the other place. Indeed, the facial recognition systems will be approved by the commissioner under the Casino Act 1997 or the Gaming Machines Act 1992. It also allows some greater scope for the commissioner to make publicly available information regarding expenditure on gambling activities undertaken under a gambling act. It mandates the commissioner's report to include the total net state wagering revenue of all authorised betting operators and the total net gambling revenue of the holders of all gaming machine licenses and the special club licence.

I note we had the briefing on this bill just yesterday, so I did ask some questions and I will now place them onto the record. These were received today at 1.46pm and it is now a quarter to four. Being in question time, I have not had a great deal of time to digest the responses to our questions.

We did ask in our briefing who was involved in the consultation on this bill. We were told that there had been a round table. I note that at that round table from the government sector there was the Department of Human Services, the Department of Treasury and Finance, the Licensing Court of South Australia, SAPOL Licensing Enforcement Branch, the Lotteries Commission of South Australia and the office for recreation and sport.

There were support services and researchers, including the University of Adelaide's SA Centre for Economic Studies, the University of Adelaide School of Psychology, Aboriginal Family Support Services, AnglicareSA, Lifeline Mount Gambier, OARS Community Transitions, the overseas Chinese students association, PsychMed Pty Ltd, Relationships Australia South Australia, the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service, Uniting Communities, Uniting Country SA, and the Vietnamese Community in Australia SA chapter.

And from the industry, of course, always at the table, there was the Adelaide Casino, Club One (SA) Ltd, the Independent Gaming Corporation (IGC), the Australian Hotels Association, Gaming Care, Clubs SA/Club Safe, Greyhound Racing SA, Harness Racing SA, Responsible Wagering Australia, the South Australian Bookmakers League Incorporated, Thoroughbred Racing SA, Tabcorp Holdings, and Sport SA.

That was at the round table. Some of those aforementioned made a submission and some did not make a written submission, following that round table. What I am interested to hear from government is how many of those submissions, either at that round table that day, in the informal meeting or following that with the written submission, made a submission on note acceptors and made a submission on facial recognition technology. We will be seeking those answers from government.

Certainly in the briefing the full nature of the deal that has presented itself and wended its way to this upper house of this parliament was not consulted on at that particular round table. I note also that we asked the government about the community impact test. I will let the Hon. Connie Bonaros go into further detail on that, but I flag with the government that we will be asking further questions with regard to the community impact test as we move into the committee stage of this bill.

For, while the Greens will be opposing this bill today, we have seen quite starkly that the government and the opposition will be in lockstep on this, and they will be in lockstep to a point where no consideration will be given to other voices other than the Treasurer and the shadow treasurer and their deal behind the scenes that was done without the scrutiny of parliament, without the scrutiny of a committee process, without the scrutiny of proper community consultation on the very measures that were brokered, and that facial recognition technology, whether or not that shall be protected from being used, not to protect gamblers, as the opposition has put it, but indeed to procure gamblers. So again, I ask the government to give us some guarantees on that front, that this deal that they have done with the Labor opposition will not lead to unforeseen outcomes.

This bill is certainly one that we will be going through in committee stage in great detail. I could get up and speak for five hours. We could do what has been done in the past in terms of a WorkCover debate or a Return to Work debate. Indeed, with the Return to Work debate, when the Weatherill government rammed that one through, the fact that the now Premier, the then Leader of the Opposition, had told everyone to vote Labor made a whole lot more sense.

When it comes to some of these matters of great state importance, Labor and Liberal are often in lockstep. They are in lockstep to the point where they tread all over the voices of those in the community who are harmed and the voices of the crossbenchers in this place who were duly elected to represent views that are not often heard in this place and were certainly not given appropriate opportunity to be heard, with a rushed process where the opposition and the government have done a backroom deal.

They have ensured that note acceptors in this state will allow South Australians to lose money more quickly, at a greater pace and with potentially greater harm, without the scrutiny and without the respect of even having the lead speaker of the opposition—the person who contributed the 397 words on this bill and the 134 words on the other bill in this place—answer questions about Labor's deal with the government that has been done behind the scenes and not with the transparency of parliament. With those few words, I anticipate a very robust committee process.

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