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Thu Jan 19, 2012, 03:24 AM

There's nothing voluntary about addiction

In the wake of the last federal election a written agreement was made that changed the course of modern Australian political history.

This agreement, signed by Julia Gillard and independent Andrew Wilkie provided Julia Gillard the crucial support she needed to become Prime Minister. Without it, she would never have formed Government.

A lot of things are debatable in politics, but that is an indisputable fact. Without that signed piece of paper there would never have been a Gillard Government. The promised reforms were welcomed by the majority of Australians who have consistently supported the Government taking action to reduce the unacceptable harm caused by poker machines.

For a year and a half the Prime Minister spoke as if the deal was rock solid. That was until she secured the support of Liberal MP Peter Slipper who turned his back on his party to take the plum position of Speaker of the House of Representatives.


I really am in despair about the Gillard government if she reneges on this legislation, the only people who will be pleased will be the registered clubs. Polling has shown consistently that a majority of Australians favour a curb on the activities of problem gamblers, since they can't help themselves, although whether it be mandatory pre-commitment or a limit on the amount people can put through machines is still up for discussion.

And backing away leaves Gillard open once more to the charge that she's a liar, and it's fair comment. It seems that her word is never her bond, and will be broken at the slightest pressure from vested interests.

The worst of all this flip-flopping is that she's setting us up for an Abbott victory. If all things were equal, I don't think Tony would ever be elected, but Julia seems determined to hand him victory on a plate.

What does she think she's doing?

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply There's nothing voluntary about addiction (Original post)
Matilda Jan 2012 OP
Violet_Crumble Jan 2012 #1
pink Jan 2012 #2
Matilda Jan 2012 #3
pink Jan 2012 #4
Matilda Jan 2012 #5
pink Jan 2012 #6
Matilda Jan 2012 #7
pink Jan 2012 #8
Matilda Jan 2012 #9
pink Jan 2012 #10
Matilda Jan 2012 #11

Response to Matilda (Original post)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 07:48 AM

1. She better not renege on that one....

It won't surprise me if she does, though. I've got no faith at all in her, and think she's leading the ALP towards a massive loss next election....

I strongly support a limit on the anount people can put through the pokies. I'm not sure how that can be done, but having had a friend whose addiction to the pokies destroyed her marriage, something needs to be done.

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Response to Matilda (Original post)

Fri Jan 20, 2012, 06:36 PM

2. The game is not over yet

Post election 2010 I doubt if Wilkie would have supported Abbott whether Gillard agreed to poker machine reform or not. However, a promise was made during negotiations and I think even with the unrealistic time limits, to the best of her ability, she tried to keep it.

I always thought that pre-commitment was a bit silly, but that was intoduced into the mix to placate the clubs and pubs so that they could hang on to their high rollers. $1 limits is the way to go. I have stupidly played the poker machines for over 40 years and never have I come close to betting anywhere near $1 a spin.

The voting and gambling public still need to be convinced that the reforms may only effect less than 10% of them. When you're up against the "Limited News" press and the clubs (using money collected from poker machine takings) lying to people about licences to gamble and the local sports teams closing down, its hard to get the facts out there.

This story is not over yet.

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Response to pink (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 20, 2012, 11:48 PM

3. I think betting and payout limits makes more sense, and would be easier to implement.

Wilkie has indicated that he's amenable to this, and the Greens would also support it.

Britain has limits on the amounts people can put in, and also on winnings, and they don't have anything like our gambling problems.

Gillard has been spooked by the fury of the registered clubs, but the real problem is, I think, that she's not really committed to taking action. Climate change legislation and the mining tax were Greens' initiatives, and the stimulus that kept us out of the worst of the recession was Rudd's. Gillard has no vision, no ideals at all; she has no commitment to anything except holding on to power.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #3)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 12:34 AM

4. I believe that Gillard is committed to reform

The mining tax was a LABOR initiative. If it wasnt for Gillard's negotiation skills we would not have a mining tax at all. (Still yet to get past the Greens in the Senate). Rudd was never a negotiator. He didnt even speak to his own caucus, let alone The Greens or independents. Rudd abandonded climate change when he could have easily taken it to a double dissolution. Rudd was PM during the GFC so I give him and Swan credit for the stimulus package. However, apart from that, except for apologising to the Aboriginals, there wasnt a lot that he achieved during his term.

We have never witnessed before in our lifetime what our Prime Minister has had to deal with. She has a weather vain for an opposition leader who has always used bully boy tactics and who has, at the same time, trashed the parliament, especially question time. She has to deal with independents who have the power to make or break a government. With all this happening, she has to deal with a 24 hour news cycle.

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Response to pink (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 04:16 AM

5. I think Gillard would have walked away from the mining tax if she could.

As it is, it's so watered down it's almost worthless, and this is why the Greens
are so opposed to it.

Whatever Gillard has to deal with is of her own making the way she came to power was ugly, and whatever faults Rudd had, his polling was never so low that a coup was justified. Gillard's hunger for power was so great that it overcame what little political judgment she ever had, and only the greater unpopularity of Abbott saved her and the party from complete annihilation. Yes, she can negotiate deals, but now we all know that she can't be trusted to keep her part of the bargain, so those skills will have little value in the future.

Had she been able to inspire people with her plans for the future, she might have been able to rectify some of the damage, but nothing she has said or done since she seized power gives any reason to believe she has any values or any vision for the country. She speaks only in empty slogans and says nothing that hasn't been scripted for her, and her speeches are delivered without any thought or feeling, because even she doesn't believe what she's trying to sell us. She's had the top job for two years now, and I doubt anyone knows what Julia believes in.

At one time, I would have welcomed the election of our first female PM, and I thought Gillard might be good, in time. But she blew it, and I think the damage is irreparable. The truth is that nobody wants Gillard and nobody wants Abbott; we're caught between a rock and a hard place.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 21, 2012, 06:47 PM

6. And the caucus doesn't want Rudd

If Gillard wasn't encouraged to take the leadership before the 1910 election, we wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in hell of winning it under Rudd. He had abandoned the ETS and he was in an unwinnable war against the mining companies. Voters were starting to question how effective a prime minister he actually was. He rarely ever spoke to Bob Brown, the independents or most of his caucus. He treated his staff like shit and would expect public servants to wait for hours on end in the early hours of the morning, after calling them in for a discussion. If Rudd was such a great guy, why did he decide at the last minute not to put the leadership to the vote of the caucus? He knew he only had a handfull of votes. I would have liked to see Kim Beasley become prime minister, but the member for Griffith stabbed HIM in the back.

It now looks like Andrew Wilkie's moment of fame has come to an end. I used to respect him, but you cant expect a minority government to assure a certain bill gets through when you need independents' votes to support it. It will be interesting to see if he falls behind Tony Abbott from now on. If he does, whatever popularity he ever had (outside his electorate) will go down the drain.

I personally would have liked to have seen just $1 limit spins on poker machines, but probably due to internal polling with Labor MP's in danger of losing their seats at the next election, they probably made the best deal possible, under the circumstances.

When Julia Gillard speaks, she is speaking as a representative of her caucus, not always from what she feels personally. If Rudd or any other former prime minister had undergone the same amount of scrutiny that Julia Gillard has undergone and under the circumstances of controlling a minority government with an idiot as an opposition leader, it would be interesting to see how any one of them would have fared.

Matilda, I dont know much about you, but I guess you are a Labor voter and you come from Queensland. Am I right?

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Response to pink (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 02:25 AM

7. Labor voter from N.S.W.

But I think it's the Greens who are pushing the kind of legislation that Labor should be putting forward.

I was very disappointed when Rudd dropped the CPRS, but remember, it was on the advice of Julia Gillard and Wayne Swann. Both Lindsay Tanner and Penny Wong were in favour of continuing to support it. Rudd made a bad call on that one, and his numbers fell, but dropping him was an excuse on the part of factional leaders who never could stand him because he is factionally-unaligned. The factions like to control their members, and nobody had control over Rudd.

I also think that announcing the mining tax before the 2010 election was bad politics, and gave the opposition and the mining billionaires too much time to organise. According to Twiggy Forrest though, they were on the verge of signing an agreement when Rudd was rolled. And the tax we have now will bring in $10 billion per year less than the tax proposed by Rudd, and some economists question whether there will be enough to pay for the low-income compensation payments promised under the legislation.

As for Kim Beasley - no, he had more than one chance already and he was never the man for the job. A decent bloke by all accounts, but far too accommodating for his own good. He's probably happy as a sandboy as Ambassador to Washington.

Personally, I like Rudd, but the biggest mistake he made was not having the nerve to go for a double dissolution over the CPRS. He would have won the Lower House and almost certainly would have seen a change in the Senate that would have enabled him to get the legislation through. That he lacked the guts to do it put a question mark over his political judgment and his strength of character. Has he learned from his experiences? He says yes, but we may never find out. I think Labor will be trying to find a replacement for Julia if her polling doesn't improve in the next few months, and they may just be desperate enough to try Kevin again, because there's certainly nobody else ready at this point, but it would be through gritted teeth.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #7)

Sun Jan 22, 2012, 09:44 PM

8. My apologies for calling you a Queenslander

Fortunately, I agree with you on more things than I dont.

What really irks me though is that whenever Julia Gillard makes an announcement on policy, the media insinuate that its her idea alone. She cops the full brunt of ire. When Rudd made a call, especially when it was unpalatable, he says it was his inner cabinet that made him do it.

You wouldn't have to be a Rhodes scholar to work out that Rudd was behind the leaks in the last election campaign, which I believe, is the main reason for us being in minority government now.

I am acquaninted with an ex member of his caucus. Apparantly he is not the lovable milky bar kid that he makes out he is. Plus, he has a reputation for being one of the biggest leakers in Canberra.

I agree with you about the timing of the announcement of the mining tax Where we differ though is that I think it still should have been policy at the last election, but it shouldn't have been announced until about 1 week before election day. That would have stopped the mining companies from organising a $20 million campaign against it.

I am a very disallusioned Labor supporter at the moment and its not because of Julia Gillard, its because of all the flack she unfairly cops. I watch Question Time every day on tv (sometimes in Canberra) and I never cease to be amazed at the lack of respect she is shown by the opposition. To have put up with as much as she has I think she is a very strong leader and I will support her for as long as she deserves it. If she is forced out of the leadership and is replaced by Rudd, I will resign from the party.

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Response to pink (Reply #8)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 03:26 AM

9. Perhaps you can understand why I hate the Labor Right.

They treated NSW like a personal slush fund, corrupting public processes, particularly in the area of development, for the personal gain of themselves and their mates. From Bob Carr on, education, health, roads, and transport were allowed to slowly rot - the very areas that should be the springboard for Labor policies - while Sussex Street had their noses firmly in the trough. And now they're trying to take over Federal Labor in the same way, and I believe the assassination of Kevin Rudd had more to do with that than anything else. As one of the Crikey writers said "Kevin Rudd needed a clip round the ears, not a knife in the back". Whatever his personal failings, Rudd has the ability to communicate to the public, and that's vitally important when it comes to being elected.

I also watch Question Time daily, and I think Gillard is an excellent parliamentary performer. Although her delivery style still annoys me, she can think on her feet, and reel off reams of facts without once looking at notes. But when she gets before a camera or a live audience, she freezes and is replaced by a robot. She simply isn't a good enough actress to deliver the lines that are written for her with any conviction. I suspect her advisers have told her just to keep on message, but perhaps if they let her loose and allowed her to speak off the cuff a bit more often, she might win a few more friends. It could be good for the polling figures if we could perhaps see Julia deliver a few direct kicks to the balls of Tony Abbott, but I get the feeling that she's been warned to remain "feminine" no matter what. I certainly think she's capable of it, but there's always the feeling that she's being held on a tight leash by invisible minders and doesn't dare be herself. Whether people would like her any better is anyone's guess, but from her performances in parliament, I think they might.

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Response to Matilda (Reply #9)

Mon Jan 23, 2012, 10:43 PM

10. I agree whole-heartedly

Julia is the best parliamentry performer since Paul Keating. When she does news conferences, you see two differently people. Firstly, she gives the policy speech and she speaks slow and precisely, then she answers the questions from the media and she's the person you see at question time. I much prefer the "question time" Julia. Tony Abbott has been given a very easy ride by the media but Julia is scutinized in every department (clothes, hairstyles etc).

I am proud to say that my electorate stood up to Sussex Street before the last federal election. They wanted to put up a candidate that was totally inappropriate and we didnt want to have a bar of it. We hired a bus and threatened to picket outside, and they ended up caving in.

Labor needed to lose the last state election so it could purge itself of the corruption that was orchestrated by persons such as O'Beid and Tripodi. I hope that McDonald gets his come-uppence as well.

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Response to Matilda (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:02 PM

11. And back to the original topic ...

I think Gillard should still have introduced the legislation, in whatever form (I favour betting and payout limits). She's such a crash-hot negotiator, she should have tried to come up with something workable. And if the backbench don't like it, she should have used her skills to bring them into line. That's what Labor does. That she was so quick to drop it once Slipper was on board I think shows that she was never serious. Had she persevered, she might have been defeated, but she would at least look as if she had a commitment to something other than pure politics.

And what a dope Wilkie was - he should never have announced his intention to walk away from the government if he didn't get his own way. Now he's a single-issue politician who's failed to get even a debate on his one cause. Walking away can only hurt him, because an independent who can't achieve anything at all is likely to lose his seat at the next election. He's been naive and stupid, and it's hard to think of him now as anything but a total failure to his electorate.

What I'm interested in is how both Rudd and Gillard walked away from issues when they simply go too hard are the backroom boys really responsible? And if so, when are our leaders going to stop listening to them and start acting on their own convictions?

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