Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Why We Need To Save The PGF

New Zealand's Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) is one of a kind. It stands alone as the biggest and most effective problem gambling organisation in Australasia; think about that, in the context of the almost 200,000 poker machines in neighbouring Australia, and how little is being done there and elsewhere around the globe.

Petition - Save The Problem Gambling Foundation

The PGF has, for years, had a tremendous impact on problem gambling and the gambling industry in New Zealand. But more than that, they have grown into a truly international force.

The PGF's bi-annual International Gambling Conference is recognised as one of, if not THE leading conference of its kind in the world. Their researchers and support staff have an impact not just locally, but globally. When someone from the PGF speaks, everyone listens.

But not any more.

Just this week, the New Zealand government stripped away almost all of the PGF's funding, electing instead to engage with the Salvation Army for alternative services. It has widely been seen as payback for the PGF's opposition to a deal between the government and SkyCity casino; the implications and ramifications are terrible to contemplate.

The world's strongest, most effective and informed voice in problem gambling has been silenced. We can not let this happen quietly, as we are all poorer for this petty, contemptible decision.

So please, no matter where you live, find a few moments to read and sign the "Save The Problem Gambling Foundation" petition. The world needs organisations such as this.

Petition - Save The Problem Gambling Foundation

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tony Abbott - Our Inspirational Prime Minister

Credit where credit's due. I really, really never thought this would happen, but there it is.

To Tony Abbott, Australia's conservative Liberal prime minister, I say thank you. Deeply and sincerely.

For without your relentless negativity, without your sneering misogyny and corporate bias, without your denialist blundering and cataclysmic government, we would have been cheated of two of the most compelling, most scathing and yes, most inspirational speeches this country has heard in the past 20 years.

Oh no, don't get me wrong. You didn't MAKE these speeches... let's face it, a public speaker you are not.

No, you INSPIRED them. You CAUSED them. And they are truly magnificent.

First, of course, came THAT speech. In October 2012, then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard rose to respond to a motion that had been moved by Tony Abbott, then Leader of the Opposition. Abbott had made reference to a phrase used earlier in the week by shock jock Alan Jones that Gillard's father had "died in shame" because of her.

Gillard rose, and tore Abbott to shreds in a verbal demolition that echoed around the world.

Now, almost 18 months later, things have changed. Tony Abbott is now in charge, and has brought the same qualities that defined his time in Opposition to the office of Prime Minister.

The carnage that his government has wrought across the country since the last federal election just 6 months ago has been heartbreaking.... but it also gave rise to the most compelling response I have ever seen.

When Greens Senator Scott Ludlam rose (just days ago) to welcome Tony Abbott to Western Australia, few could have anticipated what was to follow: a calm, controlled and utterly furious refutation of Abbott, his actions, his government and his ideology as a whole.

If you watch nothing else today, watch this. And may this be a lesson for the world in general that we, as a nation, are NOT defined by the fatuous sycophant we somehow voted into power.