Independent MP Andrew Wilkie is just one step away from finally getting his wish for a measure package regarding the issue of tackling online gambling from the Australian government.
Over the last few months the debate over the future of internet gambling in Australia has intensified, though for once it isn’t those who play online poker in Australia that seem to be the center of attention. Instead the focus has shifted onto those who play poker machines, video poker, in arcades and poker rooms across the continent.
Whilst the Australian government sought to revise the current Australian gambling laws concerning the matter, Mr. Wilkie has spent the last few months campaigning for an amendment to a recently proposed trial package by Prime Minister Julia Goddard.
The government recently announced that the trial of poker machines that was initially scheduled to take place soon has been postponed until May with a new legislative package possibly being needed by then.
Mr. Wilkie’s victory comes after months of arguing that the package trial was destined to fail, and that he had serious concerns over the trial’s independence and whether or not it might spill over into neighboring New South Wales.
Mr. Wilkie was unhappy with the plan for poker machines to bet ready at the flick of a switch, and also demanded that the maximum bet be lowered to $1 (AUD). Kevin Andrews, the opposition families spokesman felt differently, stating that “having torn up its political fix with Mr Wilkie and walked away from that, it now appears to be walking away from the second fix to fix up the political fix in the first place.”
Dr. Charles Livingstone, who also felt differently regarding the governments proposed trials, feels as though he has been shafted and excluded from any further talks, following criticism, unlike the fortunate Mr. Wilkie.
“Because I’ve taken a critical stand on the trial, and pointed out some of the issues which I think make it fatally flawed, I’ve been locked out,” he commented recently. The former federal government’s ministerial expert advisory group member does not feel as though he has been given a sufficient explanation for his exclusion, following their early invitation to voice his opinion.
Even though the decision on Australian poker rooms has been postponed until May, it has been widely rumored that this battle between Mr. Wilkie and the federal government is far from over. One can’t help but wonder when may comes, if Julie Goddard or her government will gradually tire of an already over-reaching Andrew Wilkie.