Jenny Leong speaks in Parliament on banning gambling advertising

Jenny Leong speaks in Parliament on banning gambling advertising, on 19 October 2022:

Ms JENNY LEONG (Newtown) (17:27): I contribute to this public interest debate on the motion moved by my colleague the member for Balmain and thank him for bringing it to the Chamber. It recognises the significant impacts of gambling and gambling advertising on our communities. Australians lose more money on gambling per capita than any country in the world. We have a deeply ingrained culture of gambling in this country and the harm it causes to people, families and communities is very real. Gambling ads fuel those losses and that harm by pushing people to spend more money, more often, as well as normalising gambling for kids. Gambling money has become so prolific in professional sport you cannot avoid it while watching a game. The concepts of athleticism and competition have been taken out of it, replaced by the wins, losses and making money.

Some States, including my home State of South Australia, have banned gambling advertisements during live sports broadcasts to minimise the impact on young people. It is time New South Wales did the same. It is evident by the actions taken in South Australia that this can be done at a State level. Instead, this Government seems happy to sell our State and our communities to the highest bidder in the gambling industry. We all remember when the Government allowed The Everest horserace to be advertised on the sails of the Sydney Opera House. This year our skies were filled with drones doing the same thing. It is the latest in a long line of examples of public space being ever increasingly given over to gambling promotions and advertisements that cause harm in our community. Each year Martin Place and other major public gathering places are often used for major gambling promotional events. Gambling advertisements and promotions commonly run in train stations across the city. It is a disgrace.

Instead of committing to genuine reforms that would reduce the harm gambling causes to our communities, this Government sits in the pocket of the gambling industry. While The Greens members recognise that the Government is seeking to undermine this motion by amending it in the Chamber to direct all responsibility at the Federal Government, we seek to amend the amendment moved by the member for Upper Hunter. I move:

That the amendment be amended by omitting all words after:

"(1)The New South Wales Government"

and inserting instead: "cannot avoid responsibility for the harm caused by gambling advertising by passing the buck to the Federal Government.

(2)Commits to ending exposure of children and vulnerable people in our community to the harm of gambling advertising in New South Wales."

Despite the inability of the Government and Opposition to support our motion, The Greens urge them to support a motion that calls for a ban on gambling advertising. It is shameful to see the New South Wales Liberal‑Nationals Government and the Labor Opposition in lock step when it comes to not supporting the motion before the House. I urge all members to support the amendment I have moved to the Government's amendment, which simply notes that the New South Wales Government cannot avoid responsibility and commits to ending the exposure of children and vulnerable people in our community to the harm of gambling advertising in New South Wales. That harm is real. In effect, gambling advertising is grooming young people for a lifetime of harm and gambling addiction that will have a huge impact not only on their lives but also on the lives of people around them.

So much more needs to be done to ensure that harm is not impacting on families across this State, especially when we know the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Being unable to pay the rent or worrying about the mortgage means people will go to desperate lengths to make money in order to meet those basic needs. The last thing a person in a desperate situation needs is to have a gambling ad in their face as they make a decision on what they will do after having their shifts cut at work or being unable to make their rent payment that week. We should not encourage that kind of dangerous behaviour in our society. We need a genuine harm minimisation approach, which means a ban on gambling advertising as a starting point.

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