Jenny Leong speaks on not letting political point scoring get in the way of gambling reform

On behalf of The Greens I speak in debate on the motion moved by the member for North Shore, and I wish to raise significant concerns about this debate. It appears we have gone from discussing the serious harms of gambling, poker machines and money laundering to a political point-scoring exercise between the Government and the Opposition. It has become a contest of who we are commending, who we are condemning and who we are moving on. Instead, we ought to be recognising that we have a responsibility to act to address gambling harm and money laundering. From that point of view, I thank the member for North Shore for putting the issue of poker machine reform on the agenda and allowing members to have this debate. It is critical for members to examine the impact of gambling harm. In keeping with the comments of the member for North Shore about focusing on the main game of reform, I will move a Greens amendment that will seek to bring us all together, instead of scoring political points, to recognise that all members of this House have a responsibility to act. I move:

That the amendment of Mr Harris be amended by omitting all words after "That" and inserting instead "this House recognises that every Member in the Parliament has a responsibility to act to end gambling harm and money laundering."

It is the view of The Greens that we must work through this problem to address all of the pressures and influence that we have seen from the clubs industry, the gambling industry, organised crime and money laundering. We have seen how gambling harm preys on our communities and how it corrupts our politics. I am proud to be a member of The Greens, which is the only political party represented in this place that does not take corporate donations or donations from gambling or the clubs industry. But the reality is that the gambling industry continues to wreak ongoing damage on our communities while reaping massive profits from poker machines and an enormous personal toll is taken on individuals and families who are experiencing profound financial stress.

Over the past 30 years, poker machines have taken $135 billion from people in New South Wales. The machines are designed to draw people in and addict them, and the families that can least afford it are being hardest hit by the pain. The Greens and the other crossbench members are clear on this. It seems that every member in the Chamber sees clearly that we must act to address the harm that is being caused by pokies in our communities. Through our willingness to act, we can demonstrate that we are not addicted to political point‑scoring in the way so many in our communities are addicted to poker machines. We can demonstrate that here and now by taking responsibility for ending gambling harm and money laundering. The Greens want to see a whole lot more. I recognise that the member for Murray is in the Chamber.

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