Next Australian parliament may reform gambling

Anti-gambling groups are convinced that the next parliament could present a “wonderful opportunity” to advance on gambling reform.

Australia.- Anti-gambling campaigners are hopeful in Australia as they see the next parliament as a “wonderful opportunity” to advance gambling reform.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie declared he was encouraged by signs the Nick Xenophon Team could win as many as four Senate seats and perhaps a Lower House seat at the election. Senator Xenophon has affirmed a poker machine reform remained key priority for his party.

They are not alone in this endeavour as the Greens are in favour of gambling reform as well. They are also in a tight race to pick up a second Lower House seat. With polls tightening in this year’s election, the prospect of another hung parliament, one with more anti-gambling campaigners on the crossbench, is enticing for those parties in favour of the reform.

“We could have quite an unprecedented situation where a large number of key crossbenchers in both houses of Parliament do have a genuine, deep interest in reform,” said MP Wilkie. “I do see a wonderful opportunity in the next parliament. If it is a power-sharing parliament, it is quite possible we will have a number of key players who are quite committed to substantial poker machine reform.”

“It will always at the top of my agenda. Predatory gambling is [a] litmus test of good government,” said Senator Xenophon. “If a government is prepared to sacrifice literally hundreds of thousands of individuals because of gambling policies that allow this level of harm, then what else is going wrong?”

On its part, Minister Malcolm Turnbull showed his opposition when he urged voters to avoid the “chaos” of another hung parliament by voting against the Nick Xenophon Team and the Greens.