Wilkie wins poker machine tech restraints


Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie has won a commitment from Prime Minister Julia Gillard that Labor would enforce an overhaul of poker machine technology if Labor takes Government, involving what is called “pre-commitment technology” being applied to the gambling devices.

As part of his deal with Gillard which will see him support a Labor Government, Wilkie told reporters in Canberra this afternoon — in a press conference broadcast by the ABC’s News 24 channel — that the pre-commitment technologies would be implemented by 2014 under a Labor government.

The so-called pre-commitment additions to poker machines enable gamblers to log in to poker machines via smartcards, USB thumb drives and other devices that will identify them to poker machine networks. They allow poker machine operators to minimise gambling problems by, for example, setting limits on how much money gamblers can spend.

Wilkie said Gillard had given him a commitment that if a Labor Federal Government couldn’t get the state governments to agree to the implementation, it would force the issue through legislation.

“The Federal Government is prepared to create legislation to force the states to act on gambling and poker machines in particular,” he said.

Wilkie said with the login technology in place, individual settings for the whole system could be easily changed to suit each gambler and drive an overall improvement in their lives.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also “saw the value in pre-commitment technologies”, but the discussions with Labor contained more detail, Wilkie told the press. “I was left with more confidence that the ALP had the wherewithal to pull it off,” he said.

One item on Wilkie’s priority list that he discussed with Gillard was the National Broadband Network, but he did not immediately disclose what the content of his discussions with the PM on the matter was — although he did note he had discussed all items on his list with Gillard.

Wilkie is a former Greens candidate, although he stood this election as an independent. Harm minimisation of gambling through pre-commitment technology is also a Greens policy. Further information about how the Greens sees the matter is available on the party’s site.

Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon, who has long campaigned for poker machine reform, immediately hailed the agreement as a victory, speaking to the press after Wilkie’s own disclosure.

Image credit: Christian Ferrari, royalty free


  1. 2014 Wow what an achievement, and no loopholes to be sure! Gambling addiction solved! Go Wilkie.

  2. Wilkie is officially the biggest kook on the planet. An icon for Tasmania. Well done Gillard. Based on the reports from the media, the other 3 simpletons will be sure to try and outdo Wilkie on kookiness. This is the greatest race to the bottom I’ve ever seen, and a clear example of why Australia needs a Republic.

  3. Hmm… I don’t see how being a republic would improve the quality of our politicians. I agree that the monarchy is an archaic complication, but politician’s attitudes are are a serious problem no structural change is going to affect. We need parliamentary changes like those the independents have proposed. (On top of those, how about penalties for dishonesty and nepotism?)

    So far, I don’t really see anything negative about the independents’ actions. Yes, we have a hung parliament, but that’s not the independents’ fault. It’s the fault of the major parties who lost the support of the electorate. The independents are pushing for changes we need, which would make parliament a more genuine and useful process.

    Also, so far Wilkie’s requests have been reasonable ones. He wants to help the Hobart hospital (and if you haven’t seen a regional hospital recently, the need is urgent), but decides to accept an offer which also helps other hospitals. He wants to reduce the harm from gambling, but is supporting a technology which leaves the choice up to the user.

    I don’t think this makes him a kook. There is stiff competition for that award. ;)

  4. Being a republic would make the current situation worse, not better.

    Assuming a simple change of the constitution, replacing the GG with president with same powers and elected by public, the President would have conciderable power. The GG has this power as well, however we follow conventions and not the letter of the constitution. If the GG acts on the instructions of the PM under the conventions, and only can call on the oposition leader to form government if the PM can not gain confidence of the lower house or can not carry supply.

    If a president was publicly elected, s/he would naterally be a politician, and may feel that s/he has a “mandate”. Mandates are anathema to our system, as there is checks and ballences between executive (Cabinet), Legislative (Parliament) and judicial (courts). generally when one element goes wacko, the other sides geneally smacks that side down. However, a publicly elected prsident can ignore parliament, usurp the executive and will negate the courts becuase the constitution is written in such a ways that the president has the power to do exactly that.

    It would be, in a nutshell, a mess

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