Browse Directory

Clubs and pokies payout debate in Tasmania.

So now the prospect of compensating pubs and clubs in Tasmania for getting rid of their poker machines has become a major political issue.

The Tasmanian Labor Party has not ruled it out.

And that this week led to scenes in the Tasmanian parliament when Treasurer Peter Gutwein cornered Opposition leader Rebecca White in Question Time.

In a politically charged stunt, he accused Labor of offering venues $1 million compensation each to remove poker machines and introduced an urgency motion forcing Ms White to talk about Labor's policy on gaming machines.

Labor’s move is backed by the Greens.

Ms White was allotted 20 minutes to speak on the motion and spoke for six.

She told parliament Labor was not going to present its policy on pokies until after the report into the State Government inquiry into future gaming was handed down this month.

She later spelled out her position to reporters.

"Of course there has been discussion about whether or not compensation is a part of that conversation," she told the press conference.

But she said Labor policy was not about providing $1 million to venues, and it never will be.

"I think $1 million is excessive," she said.

At the same time, however, Ms White was not ruling out providing compensation to venues.

"I think we need to keep all options available to us. We are talking to industry, we are talking to key stakeholders," she said.

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said the Labor Party was trying to have it both ways.

She said people actually needed to hear what the party’s position was on pokies.

"They have got candidates out there hand-wringing, saying they don't support poker machines in pubs and clubs, yet we have had no firm position from the Labor Party," Ms O’Connor told the ABC.

She said pubs and clubs needed “transitional arrangements”.

"We acknowledge that there are some small pubs and clubs in particularly that will feel an economic impact," she said.