The Federal Government must delay consideration of a raft of online gambling reforms – including a total ban on gambling advertising – until after the constitutional referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform’s Chief Advocate, Rev. Tim Costello, said television executives, who are bitterly opposed to a gambling advertising ban, could use their support or opposition to the Indigenous Voice to parliament as a bargaining chip.
“My deep fear is that the government is so desperate to win support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament that it may be tempted to water down gambling advertising bans in a trade off to win the support of the television networks for the ‘yes’ vote,” Rev. Costello said.
“The government should delay any decision on banning gambling advertising until after the national referendum on the Voice to Parliament.”
“The referendum is sucking the life out of all other critical issues and it would be a tragic, lost opportunity if horse trading over the voice led to critical reforms being watered down or even rejected.”
Rev. Costello said both sides of politics needed to understand the white-hot anger that is out in the community about gambling advertising.
“Gambling advertising is the real bbq-stopper in the Australian community. If there is a failure to seize this opportunity to crackdown on gambling ads, there will be voter backlash against the major parties,” he said.
Rev. Costello, together with the Alliance’s CEO Carol Bennett, earlier this month met with both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to encourage them to support the recommendations of a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling which included a recommendation to ban all gambling advertising over three years.
“It is clear there is enormous pressure being put on our political leaders from the gambling industry and free to air television networks to stop this ban. Our leaders must not collapse under this pressure,” Rev. Costello said.
“It would be prudent to delay any government response to the online gambling inquiry recommendations until the referendum has been completed. Only, then can the public be assured the major parties are not yielding to powerful lobby groups.”
The Alliance is the only national peak body working to reduce gambling harm. We have over 60 supporting organisations in our network and 23 leadership local councils in Victoria who have an interest in reducing the exponential level of gambling harm in Australia. We are a registered health promotion charity and are 100% funded by donations from individuals, foundations, trusts, local government and other sources that do not have ties to the gambling industry. We are not affiliated with any political party
The Alliance for Gambling Reform has long advocated for public health reforms that are evidence-based and community-backed with the sole purpose of reducing and preventing gambling harm in Australia. Online gambling is increasingly becoming one of the biggest health issues we are facing as a country.
Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704