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Politicians spearhead ‘Pokie-leaks’ to weaken gambling industry

Tue, Sep 27, 9:24am by Staff Writer

Three prominent anti-gambling politicians are encouraging Australians to leak inside information about the poker-machine industry in order to help curtail the growth of gambling in Australia.

The ‘Pokie-leaks’ campaign has been spearheaded by Senator Nick Xenophon along with independent MP Andrew Wilkie and Greens senator Larissa Waters, with the politicians offering to use parliamentary privilege to reveal trade secrets of the multi-billion dollar industry.

Sen Xenophon said he was happy to use the cover of parliamentary privilege, which allows politicians to speak on any subject without fear of prosecution, in order to help whistle-blowers within the industry.

“This information needs to be out there in the court of public opinion,” Senator Xenophon told the ABC. “That’s where Pokie-Leaks comes in.”

“If you know something that needs to be revealed, tell us, and with parliamentary privilege, we can tell everyone.”

Xenophon, who led his NXT party to strong results in July’s federal elections which gave them one seat in the house of Representatives and three in the Senate, has been working closely with the Alliance of Gambling Reform to diminish the influence of the gambling industry.

He has already campaigned on gambling advertising and an in-play sports betting, while poker machines, which are the most costly of all gambling mediums in terms of revenue, are firmly on his agenda.

The Greens have always been strong critics of the influence of the gambling industry and Senator Waters said that the fact that this industry was also a major source of political donations meant ‘Pokie-Leaks’ was a necessity.

“Avoiding this kind of scrutiny is exactly why the gambling lobby donated hundreds of thousands to the old parties in the federal election,” she said.

“Until we get big money out of politics in Australia, the old parties will continue to serve their paymasters in the gambling lobby, and Australians will keep getting ripped off.”

The leaks could contain anything from the technical specifications of poker machines and their rates of pay, to the list of political parties who receive donations from the gambling industry.

The politicians have indicated they are already receiving information which they are ready to reveal in parliament under privilege.


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