This morning in Parliament the Independent Member for Clark, Kristie Johnston, asked Premier Gutwein a straightforward question:
Over the past five years, how much money and in-kind assistance has been donated to the Tasmanian Liberal Party and Liberal candidates, by organisations, companies or individuals associated with the gambling industry?
The Premier did not or could not answer. His only response was to patronise Ms Johnston by suggesting she look it up herself.
“Of course I had looked it up,” Ms Johnston said.
“But I wanted to hear it from the Premier. The fact that he refused, tells us a lot about who pulls the strings behind the poker machine regime in Tasmania.
“Returns to the Australian Electoral Commission shows that since 2016 close to $1.1 million has been donated by gambling interests to the Tasmanian Liberals. That amount alone is enough to make Tasmanians very concerned, but it is only a small part of the story.
“It does not include donations below the threshold of around $14,000 or the massive in-kind contributions from the hospitality and gambling industry who ran huge, parallel third-party campaigns, in particular in the build up to the 2018 state election.
“And it does not include donations received during this year’s election campaign in May.
“Then today in Parliament we saw the poker machine industry get its payday. Legislation introduced to regulate poker machines in Tasmania that gives the industry what it wants: business as usual without real and effective harm minimisation measures.
“So nothing has really changed. The blatant wealth transfer from the poor to the rich remains. Tasmanians loses at all levels: financially, socially and morally.