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Burch begins to fall from her perch

By clinton9988 - 14 January 2015 33

poker-machines-gaming-stock-140115

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has put his foot down on Minister for Racing and Gaming Joy Burch’s plan to scrap the twenty-dollar limit on poker machines, a move that would have allowed gamblers to use $50 notes. Ms Burch made the change on 22 December, the very day before Andrew Barr became the Leader of the Labor Party. It is well-known that Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants to see a significant reduction in poker machines from nearly 5,000 to 4,000 in the ACT by 2018. But the revelation that Burch attempted to relax restrictions on the regulations surrounding poker machine laws has contradicted Barr’s desired message. Particularly damaging for Burch is that Barr was kept in the dark.

ACT Labor currently owns 488 poker machines. The machines generate around $25 million dollars per year. The ACT has more poker machines compared to its population than any other jurisdiction in Australia except for NSW which has more machines compared to its population than any other jurisdiction in the world. Australian state and territory governments are as addicted to the revenue of poker machines as the people who use them, and Joy Burch has highlighted this ugly truth to the dissatisfaction of pretty much everyone except perhaps for the Clubs ACT chief executive Jeff House, with whom she made the deal.

Earlier this week Burch and House both made the argument that the introduction of the $50 note to ACT poker machines was justified as ATMs in clubs can only dispense a maximum of $250, and that only stocking ATMs with $20 was an unaffordable burden for clubs. Community and advocacy groups, politicians, and even senior Labor figures saw through this argument like cellophane.

Senator Nick Xenophon, gambling researcher Dr Charles Livingstone, and leader of the opposition Jeremy Hanson have all lined up to condemn Burch’s actions and ACT Labor’s reliance on poker machines. And to cap off the condemnation, former chief minister Jon Stanhope has put a motion to his Mount Rogers sub-branch calling for the clubs to be sold – an action that has angered ACT Labor secretary Matt Byrne. If the motion was adopted by the party it would effectively divorce Labor from poker machines all together. That it not going to happen.

Yesterday, Barr forced Burch to backflip on the issue by releasing a joint statement reneging on Burch’s unilateral decision. The statement read, “As a result of discussion within the community over the past few days, the Government has decided to withdraw the regulation which allowed $50 note acceptors on electronic gaming machines in the ACT pending further work on practices in other states and implementation of cash input limits.”

Throughout the past year, Burch has undoubtedly caused more headaches for the government than any other MLA. She has made a series of blunders throughout her term so far. She has “accidentally” tweeted that Christopher Pyne was a c***. She has snubbed the advice of her education directorate by granting approval for an independent school which has now been deemed unsuitable for registration. And among many other misjudgements, Burch continues to receive criticism for handpicking last year’s director of the Fringe at the Multicultural Festival instead of tendering the position.

A senior Labor staffer yesterday revealed to The RiotACT that Joy Burch is no longer under the protection of former chief minister Katy Gallagher.

“Joy is no longer enjoying her job,” he said. “She dislikes public functions and avoids them as much as she can. She will either resign or not contest the next election. It is time for her to go.”

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33 Responses to
Burch begins to fall from her perch
Masquara 3:56 pm 14 Jan 15

John you didn’t answer the question. What is your view on the ‘reform’ as you put it? Do you support enabling pokie addicts by allowing more money to be fed through the machines more quickly? If so, what is the basis for your position? If not, why not be honest and abandon your Labor Apparatchik pretensions on an issue that goes to the heart of welfare among your underprivileged former constituents.

John Hargreaves 3:20 pm 14 Jan 15

Hi there Dungfungus and Masquara – my two biggest fans. This is gunna surprise you but I don’t spend all day glued to the computer/phone trolling about looking for cr*p to spread.

I saw the article on Joy Burch today just now and I have to say what a lot of hysteria whipped up by a salivating bunch of hypocrites. We see political vultures and hyenas waiting for carrion. Unbecoming if I might say so.

Ministers have responsibilities and they must discharge them to the best of their ability. They shouldn’t have to seek the permission of the first minister in each case. And they shouldn’t need to get the OK from another minister of another political persuasion with noting to do with the portfolio.

Let’s put some perspective here. The $50 bit was part of a reform package. Get it? Package!. It was Ms Burch’s decision after advice from her office that the package could be rolled out piecemeal. And so she did. The crime? nothing!

If Cabinet is going to decide the minutiae of each portfolio, they will never see the light of day.

There are always people who disagree with policy positions taken by government and that is healthy. What is not healthy is the way the nasty vociferous minority of head hunting, tall poppy cutters dine out on the smallest of differences.

In the grand scheme of things this is small change. How about some credit for the NDIS reforms, how about some credit for the way in which education issues are off the front page, despite the bleatings of Hansen and Co. Just to name two.

But let me sound a word of warning to the “senior Labor staffer” who dribbled off at the mouth. If I find out who you are and I am looking, I will deal with you the way Paul Keating taught me. I will do you and I will do you slowly. Because you are a rat and Labor hates rats more than anything, including Liberals.

This is just a distraction from the ineffective way the Opposition are “holding the Government to account”. The Leader of the Opposition puts out a media release from his holiday and his colleagues are nowhere to be seen. Not heard of either. They have more holidays than schoolies do.

So… Masquara and Dungfungus, happy now?

Bennop 2:54 pm 14 Jan 15

stonedwookie said :

Um this is stupid clubs still have note change machines that take 50 dollar notes what difference does the 20 seconds it takes putting it into anothere machine gonna make anyway complete nanny state.
Do they take away beer taps because a few people cant handle there grog? No. why should they reduce peoples gaming machines adults should be able to make choices!

They do limit the size of beer glasses at clubs though. I think you can only drink pints.

Apaprently the research on pokies indicates the amount you can put in using one not does correlate closely with the amount you will lose.

stonedwookie 2:32 pm 14 Jan 15

Um this is stupid clubs still have note change machines that take 50 dollar notes what difference does the 20 seconds it takes putting it into anothere machine gonna make anyway complete nanny state.
Do they take away beer taps because a few people cant handle there grog? No. why should they reduce peoples gaming machines adults should be able to make choices!

HenryBaits 1:17 pm 14 Jan 15

And good on riotact for reporting on this. Sure the Canberra times has done an alright job but anyone can see that they are just trying to run a leftie nanny state campaign against pokies. The city news has just copied and pasted a press release. But riotact has rapt up the story thoroughly and focussed on the facts instead of having an agenda. The Canberra Times are Green and prissy-Labor, and the city news is mainly Lib – except for a few exceptions. Riotact doesn’t give favour to any party.

dungfungus 12:35 pm 14 Jan 15

Rollersk8r said :

The political mess seems much bigger than the original issue – especially when the stories to support lower limits are always worst cases; people that have lost tens of thousands of dollars. Gambling addicts (like the one cited in yesterday’s Canberra Times) openly admit that none of the restrictions stopped them from feeding the machines – so to be blunt – what difference does it make if you throw away your life savings in $20s or $50s?? And what proportion of players are addicted – how many people are Labor supposedly saving from their own machines??

I’m not defending pokies at all. If you have a spare $50 note to put into the pokies, or spend on lotto tickets for that matter, you are stupid. Although if you’re looking to save all the worst cases from ruining their lives in one way or another, perhaps we should also restrict the size of a block of chocolate, a daily limit of the amount of McDonalds or alcohol you can buy, etc, etc.

Rather than being remembered as the person who created the tree-less arboretum, Jon Stanhope would be fondly remembered and revered if he campaigned for the total abolition of poker machines in the ACT.
He has already moved that ACT Labor sell their interest in the clubs that own poker machines but this doesn’t go far enough.

Rollersk8r 12:16 pm 14 Jan 15

The political mess seems much bigger than the original issue – especially when the stories to support lower limits are always worst cases; people that have lost tens of thousands of dollars. Gambling addicts (like the one cited in yesterday’s Canberra Times) openly admit that none of the restrictions stopped them from feeding the machines – so to be blunt – what difference does it make if you throw away your life savings in $20s or $50s?? And what proportion of players are addicted – how many people are Labor supposedly saving from their own machines??

I’m not defending pokies at all. If you have a spare $50 note to put into the pokies, or spend on lotto tickets for that matter, you are stupid. Although if you’re looking to save all the worst cases from ruining their lives in one way or another, perhaps we should also restrict the size of a block of chocolate, a daily limit of the amount of McDonalds or alcohol you can buy, etc, etc.

dungfungus 11:35 am 14 Jan 15

Masquara said :

John Hargreaves – your two cents’ worth? (or ha’pence worth )

Rounded off = zero.

XO_VSOP 11:31 am 14 Jan 15

She has far to many portfolios, I have watched her enter a function with just time for her speech and photo opp, then slowly run away through the side door.

Masquara 11:17 am 14 Jan 15

So everyone’s angel Katie Gallagher was one of the pro-pokies culprits…

Masquara 11:15 am 14 Jan 15

John Hargreaves – your two cents’ worth? (or ha’pence worth )

Reprobate 11:02 am 14 Jan 15

Joy Burch is exactly what makes me worry about with the push for an increase of members and Ministers in the Assembly. When someone of her skill set can somehow get a Ministerial position, god help us all when even more oily local party grafters, time servers and hangers-on get foisted on us…

HenryBaits 10:48 am 14 Jan 15

Actually that is s true. I haven’t seen Joy smile for years now. I think she is just over it and that Barr is probably over her too. I wonder what Barr thought of Mary Porter wasting all that money going to Europe to “learn” about Euthanasia? I reckon it is time for some new blood to come into Labor. They are becoming arrogant.

dungfungus 10:19 am 14 Jan 15

The Canberra Liberals had Gary Humphries; ACT Labor has Jon Stanhope.
Katy Gallagher sure knew when it was the right time to jump ship.
The token job at Legal Aid is obviously not enough to keep Stanhope quiet so will he end up being a candidate for the next Senate election? .

Mysteryman 9:56 am 14 Jan 15

You wouldn’t think such low-hanging fruit would have very far to fall.

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