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Career paths post-Labor politics

The $2.5 billion dollar Victorian gaming industry is being advised by Labor Party hacks and ex-pollies. There is huge political pressure on the Bracks Government to restrict pokie numbers particularly in disadvantaged areas of Melbourne and consultants are needed to nullify this pressure. There is also a review occurring over the possible breakup of the pokie duopoly held by Tattersall’s and Tabcorp and, of course, each of these firms agrees the current lucrative arrangements are sound while new competition wants to get a toe in.

The gambling industry obviously needs help to find its way. Who will help?

Tony Sheehan will. He is the former Treasurer of the inept Kirner Government who brought Victoria to its knees with disasterous financial mismanagement. Sheehan is helping the Greek company Intralot (the world’s second-biggest gambling company) apply for a lottery licence. He helps in ‘initiating discussions with key players’.

David White will also help. A minister in the Cain-Kirner Governments (and indeed despite his dopey appearance, one of the better ones) works via a consulting business as a lobbyist for Tattersals.

Adam Kilgour (former Cain Government staffer) and Eric Locke (former State Secretary of the ALP) will. These leaders of the proleteriat work for Hawker Britton a consultancy servicing Unitab and the Coalition of Major Professional Sports both of which seek to expand their wagering operations.

Geoff Walsh will. Former national secretary of the ALP works for Gavin Anderson whose clients include Crown and Tattersals.

Michael Mangos a Former Labor chief of staff will. He now works for Tattersal’s.

Gary O’Neill a former staffer for Kim Beazley will. He now works for PBL Crown.

The gambling industry earns billions each year and can afford to leave nothing to chance. I do not understand why Ted Baillieu does not target the throat of Steve Brack on this one. Or are the Liberals also getting certain rewards from the gambling lobby?

The Minister for Gaming in Victoria, John Pandazopoulos, is an inspiration. On current competition between the parties to reduce pokie numbers he says:

Labor stood by its record, having committed more than $111 million to problem gambling programs since coming to office, compared with just $13.9 million by the previous Liberal government.

But the Liberal Party and to a greater extent the Greens are advocating very significant cuts to pokie machine numbers. What is Labor doing other than a token move towards cleaning up the devastating damage wrought by a social experiment that most agree has gone seriously wrong?

(Ex-pollie names and business links from AFR September 2-3, 2006, page 6, subscription only).

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