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Restoring integrity and democracy in government - read more

How can Parliament restore trust in State politics?

Parliament can restore trust by putting an end to rorts, corruption, pork barrelling and the “jobs for mates” culture. I have experience in exposing and stamping out corruption. I will work to strengthen parliamentary oversight, to ensure that:

  • grant programs are open, competitive and merit-based; and that

  • all public board, tribunal, and statutory appointments are advertised, with selection criteria for each position.

In Estimates hearings, I will support increased funding for the New South Wales Audit Office to extend performance audits of government agencies, grants programs and a health check of regulatory agencies. I will also support an independent funding process for the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption.

How can Parliament tackle the tentacles of corruption?

Money laundering to hide the proceeds of crime has been the major source of profit for casinos. In March 2022, following alarming revelations from a Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Casino, New South Wales established a new regulator, the Independent Casino Commission, the NICC, that appointed Senior Counsel Adam Bell to conduct an inquiry into Sydney’s Star Casino.

Overnight, money laundering moved from the casino into pubs and clubs in the suburbs. Those just across the Bridge were an immediate target; pubs and clubs in North Shore invested in more poker machines to meet demand and take up windfall profits. Last year I campaigned and appeared with a number of residents before the Sydney North Planning Panel, to oppose expansion of gambling in a local pub; the Panel found in the pub’s favour.

Last year daily profits from the 86,568 poker machines in pubs and clubs rose to $23 million a day, as gamblers’ losses rose by 11%. Machines in pubs account for 44% of all losses, though they house only 26% of the State’s poker machines.

The report of the inquiry into the Star Casino was released on 13 September. It heard evidence of money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference, and made 30 recommendations. The Government has failed to implement a key recommendation of the report - to introduce a compulsory gambling card at gambling venues that will identify the gambler and their exclusion status, prevent money laundering and protect problem gamblers. Under pressure, the Premier has made a loose commitment to address the cashless card after the election, and taunted the Opposition to match his promise.

On 22 December 2022, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed registered clubs have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past decade to the Coalition and Labor. While gambling companies are deemed prohibited donors, clubs have been exempt from any donations ban because they are not-for-profit entities. Again, it appears unlikely anything will be done to close this outrageous loophole before the March election.

The public is kept in the dark about tunnels under the Harbour, flood mitigation in Lismore and elsewhere, and where the Government stands on Cashless Gaming Cards and road toll reform; they are to wait until after the election. Clearly it considers these matters unsuitable for public discussion: what right do we have to ask for information or accountability for Government decisions?

Premier Perrottet, serving his first term in Parliament, was elevated to the premiership after the resignations of three previous Liberal premiers, two of them amid allegations of corruption. Voters in North Shore can use the ballot box to voice their opposition to backroom and across-party deals; to the power-focused behaviour of our political parties and the disquieting alliance of our political parties with corporations, and powerful lobbyists such as Clubs NSW and the Urban Taskforce.

Tough and urgent choices ahead will require the people of New South Wales to trust their government to take difficult decisions in the public interest. Voters across New South Wales can replace seat warmers in Parliament with independent members who speak and vote for the communities they were elected to represent.

North Shore can vote to restore integrity and democracy in New South Wales by electing Victoria Walker to the Legislative Assembly on 25 March 2023. It will be a vote for genuine representative government and parliamentary reform.

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