Tuesday, 17 January 2012

I have never played

on a poker machine. I would not know how to do this. I do not know how to play poker either.
I have seen poker "machines" of course. Even passing by them can give me a headache. I do not like things that whirr and whizz and make jangling noises. I cannot watch the screen shudder and shake and roll. I would not want to put money in a little slot (or whatever you do) in order to see it disappear for ever. If I had money to spare I would rather buy a book or another skein of knitting yarn.
I know there must be a lot of people who feel differently from me. Some people can limit the amount they spend and others cannot.
Our minority government is being propped up by, among other people, a man who claimed a seat in parliament on a platform which included introducing restrictions on gambling at "the pokies". He knew it was a problem. We have a Senator from my own state who also knows there is a problem. He has been trying to do something too.
The government knows there is a problem but it does not really want to do anything because, they say, too many jobs depend on it. What they really mean is that any move to restrict the use of poker machines will be unpopular and that the jobs of certain marginal seat politicians might be at risk. The government risks losing those seats. The government also likes the money brought in by poker machines, especially if they can rely on charities to support those who do not use poker machines wisely. It would be a problem to fill the hole in the budget.
The government has been stringing along the "independent" anti-gambling politician on whose support they have depended but it no longer depends on his support. The parliament will go back with a new Speaker, a man who should be sitting on the Opposition benches. The government now believes it can afford to lose a vote on the floor. It probably can. The other "independent" MPs know they are likely to be one-term politicians. For obvious reasons they want to stay there as long as they can.
The anti-gambling MP was gambling. He was gambling on the government needing his support and thus doing what he wanted. The government may do something because, without it, there will be another damaging "broken promise" weapon for the Opposition and the media. It will not be what the MP wants. He has gambled and, like most gamblers, he has lost.
I do not think I will try to learn to use a poker machine any time soon.

1 comment:

widdershins said...

A percentage of gambling revenue here goes to charities which in turn run recovery programs for gambling addicts, who spend their money on gambling.

The winner? ... pollies who sit out their term doing bugger-all and retire with a pension-for-life, paid for in part by the revenue generated by gambling!

Heh. It's a win-win situation!