Cartoon: By Pickering.
Perennial obsessive MP Andrew Wilkie is determined to force clubs to introduce mandatory pre commitment to all high-end poker machines. As one of the independents holding the balance of power over the government, he is in a position to enforce his will over a party desperate to cling to power. He has threatened to bring Gillard down if his wishes are not met.
Naturally the clubs are campaigning strongly against this move with a television advertising blitz. As the popularity of Labor has sunk into the mire, they and their supporting independents and Greens have grown increasingly strident about any criticism, real or perceived.
Last weekend Channel 9 commentators, Ray Warren and Phil Gould discussed Mr Wilkie's proposed mandatory pre-commitment reforms during the station's coverage of the NRL semi-final between Manly and the Bronco’s:
Wilkie is so outraged that anyone would dare to criticize his ‘reforms’ that he has complained to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA):
He said while Channel Nine and the NRL were entitled to campaign against the changes, there were clear rules governing political advertising on TV. "If someone is going to effectively make a political advertisement, then there are issues that it has to be identified as such and authorised," he said. …After the result of the last election was announced and the need for negotiations was realized, the independents and Greens approached the issue in the style of carpetbagger politics. Labor was desperate enough to give in to every wish every one of them was holding over them, knowing that the taxpayer would pay financially, and the public with their freedom.
"When you have commentators who have clear links to rugby league clubs and hence a clear interest in the financial performance of those clubs, they should make that quite clear, otherwise they are at risk of deceiving their audience. …
Mr Wilkie also renewed his threat to pull support for the Federal Government if his plan to tackle problem gambling is not passed by May next year.
"There's no theatre here, no grand strategy playing out. I have reached an agreement with the prime minister, she is only the prime minister because she agreed to it," he said.
Its about time we dumped them.