27 November 2015
Clubs NSW folds
I am pleased that Clubs New South Wales has finally seen sense and dropped its unwarranted legal action against me.
There was never any basis for their intention to sue me for defamation in relation to my comments on the ABC about Peter Garrett being offered money by someone in the poker machine industry. That they slammed this action on me in the Supreme Court no less, without any warning or Notice of Concern, was a remarkable move and one which ultimately backfired. My legal counsel was always of the view that this was a complete beat-up so it’s unsurprising that the action has been abandoned by Clubs NSW at the very first hearing.
The threat by Clubs NSW to sue me was no small matter. They represent over 1,200 clubs, which operate between them some 70,000 poker machines and enjoy about $3,500,000,000 in poker machine revenue annually. For them to be suing a Member of the Federal Parliament for doing no more than publicising possible wrongdoing was always a most worrying development.
Although the action against me has been dismissed the substantive matter, that former Labor Minister Peter Garrett claimed repeatedly but then retracted a claim he was offered an envelope full of cash by someone in the poker machine industry after he was elected to Parliament, is still to be addressed. I have referred this matter to a number of government agencies so hopefully we will eventually get to the bottom of it.
Bad things happen when people are forced into silence. So I will continue to speak up when I see wrongdoing, and won’t be intimidated by anyone or any industry. I certainly won’t be silenced by the poker machine industry generally, which inflicts shocking harm in the community and which always seems to get its way as far as most politicians are concerned.
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