Saturday, September 18, 2010

Spot the addict

Noel Pearson has a good opinion piece, States addicted to pokies profits, criticising Australian state governments for legalising gambling. Here is an extract:

The political history of the introduction of poker machines in Australia is shameful. Nothing more plainly involves the state corrupting its own citizens than the officially sanctioned promotion and growth of gambling, particularly poker machines.
The culpability of Labor governments in this history is extraordinary to reflect on. How can a party that sees itself as actively seeking a better society, whose mission involves tackling poverty and disadvantage, be responsible for such a scourge? Can there be anything more contrary to the Labor notion of social justice than the state-sanctioned spread of poker machines?
There is a further moral issue which Pearson does not raise. Why are state governments so eager for these revenues? It is because of pressures from their citizens. We want/demand/expect higher and higher level of government services (health, education, roads, police, parks, welfare, ...) but at the same time do not want to have to pay higher taxes in order to provide them! So who are the real addicts? The gamblers, the governments, or prosperous demanding citizens?

1 comment:

  1. A couple of years after pokies were legalised in SA (by Dean Brown's Liberal govt. if my memory serves me...), the state govt. opened up a gambling helpline for people in crisis. I remember a breakfast radio announcer commenting on the hypocrisy, comparing it to the Columbian drug cartels starting a rehab facility!