Gambling Harm Awareness Week

21 October 2021

In some states, this week is Gambling Harm Awareness Week. It is a week when people are encouraged to talk about the harms associated with gambling and the effects on communities, families, friends, workplaces and individuals. It should also be a week when we talk about the insidious link between political parties and the gambling industry.

A recent ABC News investigation which tracked gambling-related political statements dating back to 1998 showed that entities with a stake in gambling made at least $81.77 million in political donations over the 22 years. Nearly half of this went to the ALP. More than a quarter went to the coalition. But the response to these revelations has been met with complete silence from both Labor and the coalition. It's their dirty little secret, and neither will break ranks over it. The gambling industry is trying to buy influence and access to politicians, and over $80 million would buy a lot of influence in anybody's mind.

I echo the calls by the Alliance for Gambling Reform that political parties must reject donations from the gambling industry. We must stop the flow of this dirty money to our political parties and to our candidates. It is money collected through the suffering and harm caused to so many Australians and their families. It is indefensible and it is unethical for candidates and political parties to continue to accept these donations when they come at such a high cost, measured in broken lives. Gambling Harm Awareness Week should end with both the Labor and Liberal parties ending their own addiction to gambling.

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