Gambling is a legal form of entertainment that many Tasmanians enjoy. There is a range of different gaming products available to consumers that are fair, regulated and provide the chance of return to players. We all have the choice to participate or not.
As the votes rolled into the tally room on the 3rd of March, the results were clear for the State Election, the majority of voters had chosen freedom; delivered by a Hodgman Liberal government and rejected the chaos of statism and control from another four years of minority rule. The outcome was an electoral middle finger to the nanny-statism “government-knows-best” Labor/Greens coalition and a victory for personal accountability. That is, a win for the right to choose the best course of action (and accept the outcomes) based on experience, fact and individual preference.
Early before the campaign had officially begun Labor announced their decision to follow the Greens into the embrace of regulation and government mandated moderation. The policy announced would restrict poker machines from pubs and clubs, isolating them in Tasmania’s licensed casinos. Effectively, Labor placed their distrust in the people of Moonah, Chigwell, and Glenorchy, the very people that would typically be ALP voters, but says that if you live near the casino that you can be trusted with your own pay cheque.
If Labor’s policy had been enforced it would have killed small businesses and cost jobs, particular in rural and regional areas of Tasmania, for no real impact on problem gambling. – with Labor’s own policy release conceding that more than 70% of pokie gambling would have moved online, or to casinos. In terms of tackling the issue of problem gambling, the Labor policy would have been fundamentally useless.
Worst of all, the Labor/Greens partnership on gaming policy ignores the inherent personal responsibility for our own decisions and the corresponding consequences. This kind of big government policy rejects that innate responsibility. We all have the freedom to take the logical, impulsive, or a mixed approach to learning from our decisions based on trial and error.
Without violating the rights of others, we should all be able to live the life we want. It’s our responsibility to learn from our mistakes. There is merit in failure because that’s how we learn.
It is this respect for personal freedom that the Tasmanian people have voted for, to value each other’s decisions to behave in different ways even behaviours which we might disagree with. The vote reflects that we respect everyone’s individual decision, and that we don’t wish to impose our own set of individual morals on others, something Labor will need to learn if it wants a chance to govern Tasmania again.
Clark Cooley is President of the University of Tasmania Liberal Students
Labor’s EGM Policy
Government EGM Policy