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Don’t Gamble with Freedom.

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

http://taslabor.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Its-About-the-Health-of-Communities-Phasing-Out-Poker-Machines-From-Pubs-And-Clubs.pdf

Government EGM Policy

https://www.tas.liberal.org.au/sites/default/files/Future%20of%20%20Gaming%20Tas.pdf

  • Show Comments

  • Oliver Gathercole

    The Liberal party made the wrong decision with pokie machines. They should never have been allowed in our communities to begin with. It is much easier for us to remove them now while still only one company owns the machines. Unfortunately in this article Cooley misunderstands or is trying to confuse the reader on the issue of ‘personal responsibility’. Pokie machines are not there for the majority of people, they are not there for those who are bored at their local and enjoy having the occasional flutter. They are there for the very few people that spend almost all the money taken from pokie machines. These few are the addicted, the 0.6% of Tasmanians that are serious problem pokies gamblers and the 1.4% of at-risk gamblers. These are the people that make the machines profitable, these are the people targeted by pokie barons, these are the people that suicide, drag their friends and families through hell, just because they have lost control of their lives because of pokie addiction. Pokie machines are not there for anyone else, they are in our communities to trap the vulnerable. The addiction that these vulnerable people endure doesn’t transfer to online gambling. It just doesn’t work like that. They have been really bad for our state. Sadly in the first couple of years pokies were introduced into pubs and clubs people lost their jobs. Since they have been in our communities job growth in the industry has been at a standstill. I do realise it’ll get harder and harder to remove them. But I hope we see the end of pokies one day soon.

  • Ken

    What about the freedom of the pokie addict Clark.
    You are ill informed.
    Feel free to contact me and as a reformed pokies addict I would love to respectfully talk to you and inform you.

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