"Gambling Will Set You Free"

Postcard Design, February, 2003


On March 22nd, the people of NSW voted in the State Election.

As has been the case in recent years, "Law and Order" was the big issue. This, by the way, is a nonsense issue invented by both major political parties to take the focus off more serious problems like Health, Education, Civil Liberties and so on.

For the record, Crime in NSW is not rising. It's falling. What is rising is fear of crime. And who's responsible for this increase in fear? The major political parties of course.

So this card is an attempt to point out that there are other issues more important than "Law and Order". In this case the issue I wanted to deal with is the explosion of Gambling in NSW.

Poker Machines are now in all pubs throughout the State. It's resulted in a fundamental change to pub life - Pubs no longer bother with live bands for example.

The social cost of increased access to gambling has also meant that people are gambling more. And problem gambling is increasing.

And which section of the community suffers the most from problem gambling? The poor and disadvantaged.

After some huffing and puffing when these problems first came to light, The Carr Government announced a raft of new legislation to curb the problem. Of course, once the issue blew over and we were reminded of how much crime we were suddenly faced with, most of the proposed changes never came out.

Indeed, at the moment there are objections to the 6 hour curfew - where pokies must be switched off - that's been imposed. The objection "on hardship grounds" is that six hours is too long. The hardship being that for six hours the pub would only be able to make money out of serving beer, food, and all the other stuff pubs still make a comfortable income out of.

Needless to say, the Government is trying to be flexible where cases of genuine hardship are revealed.

There was a time when the Labor party was supposed to be the party that looked after the poor and disadvantaged. Now they are a party that puts them in harms way.

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© Nick Bleasel 2002 All rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction is stealing.