30 July 2009

Comrade Smyth on property rights

| johnboy
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In theory, back in the days when Liberals believed in anything at all, property rights were part of their intellectual underpinning.

So, jaded as I am, I was just a little surprised to see Brendan Smyth disputing the right of the Labor Party to maximise the return on the sale of its assets.

    The unseemly stoush within the Labor Party is being carried on without addressing the real moral question of the action – should the Labor Party be allowed to sell their poker machine clubs for a massive individual profit? asked Shadow Treasurer Brendan Smyth.

    “When poker machine licences were provided to the clubs industry, the understanding was clear that they were intended for the benefit of the community, not the profit of any individual party,” said Mr Smyth.

    “They were not provided so an organisation – let alone a political party who is also supposed to be the watchdog and regulator – could build private gambling empires and then reap obscene windfall gains.

One suspects Brendan is jealous that no-one’s ever paid to go to a Liberal Club.

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It would be interesting to see who the full/voting members are. If the Labor Club is typical of most other clubs there are two classes of members, social and voting. My guess is that the voting members are just a handfull of Labor Party heavies.

The MEMBERS own the club – and any decision by the board must be agreed by the members. I think this fact is getting lost in all of this. The whole sale process could be derailed if a decent campaign was mounted to get enough members to vote against the proposal…..It is not as simple as selling a restaurant or a pub.

I have to agree with Brendan here.

I think it is a massive conflict of the interest that the Labor Party owns the clubs which have many hundreds of poker machines in them and then attempts to regulate the industry. I think it is disgusting that the Labor Party runs elections on huge donations from the clubs which no doubt include profits from people addicted to gambling.

They may be within their rights to sell their clubs, but I think it needs to be handled very carefully with regards to the poker machines.

I was also appalled to hear Steven Fanner (head of the AHA) on 666 this morning talking about the sale in the context that it was unfair that clubs get all the poker machines and pubs don’t… that the machines were being “under-utilised” across the ACT and that the market for poker machines should be opened up! I think poker machines shouldn’t be allowed, regardless of the ‘donations’ to sporting and youth organisations, there is a better way to secure sponsorship than ripping money away from an addict or the addicts family. And no where near enough money goes into counselling addicts. Popping a Lifeline sticker on a machine just isn’t good enough.

And whilst I agree that the Libs might be upset they don’t have a club of their own, this is an issue in it’s own right and it is important for the public to see what it happening.

I am sure there is a club that provides “donations” to the Liberal Party.

Holden Caulfield11:15 pm 30 Jul 09

I thought the school holidays were over.

Brendan, they are in government. You are irrelevant. People still rember last time you had the gig. Maybe the next generation will give you another go before you retire.

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