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31 July 2015

The Wilkie Report July 2015

This month's focus is the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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29 July 2015

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Palmer and Wilkie to move no confidence motion in Speaker

Clive Palmer, the federal leader of the Palmer United Party and Member for Fairfax, said he would lodge a motion of no confidence in the Speaker of the House of Representatives when parliament resumed unless the Member for Mackellar resigns from the position.

“My hope is that Mrs Bishop will do the honourable thing and resign,’’ Mr Palmer said.

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, said he would join with Mr Palmer and second the no confidence motion.

“Bronwyn Bishop is not a fit person to occupy the highest position in the House of Representatives,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

“The Member for Mackellar has abused parliamentary entitlements and treats public expectations with contempt. No wonder many members of the community question her integrity.”

Mr Palmer said that on top of the expenses scandal, questions must be asked as to how Mrs Bishop was allowed to continue to operate in such a biased and unfair way in support of the Government.

“There seems to be double standards with both the former speaker Peter Slipper and now Bronwyn Bishop. They have not been a fair yardstick for the Australian people. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander,’’ Mr Palmer said.

“I personally have been very concerned that questions I have raised in Parliament on behalf of my constituents and all Australians have been dismissed by the Speaker because of her biased attitude.

“I will be calling a no confidence motion for bringing the position into disrepute.’’

Mr Wilkie agrees that the Australian people deserve a better and more open Parliament.

“Mrs Bishop has brought the Office of Speaker into disrepute by her scandalous bias,” Mr Wilkie said.

“This is another example of disgusting behaviour by politicians with an inflated view of their own importance and no respect for their office.”

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28 July 2015

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Dirty money and dirty deals: Pollies caught in bed with pokies barons

The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will call for stricter political donation disclosure laws after more revelations of dirty pokies money flowing to the major parties.

At a Tasmanian level, he will call on Premier Will Hodgman to commit to ending Federal Hotels’ exclusive right to operate pokies in Tasmania at the earliest possible date of 30 June 2018.

Dirty money

Mr Wilkie said the revelation that the pokies industry gave at least $75,000 to support the re-election of Liberals’ Kevin Andrews - the chief architect of his party’s industry-approved pokies policy - highlighted the urgent need for political donation disclosure reform.

``In my opinion these huge donations are made with the expectation of payback,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``And the pokies industry hit the jackpot with these donations to the Menzies 200 Club, a fundraising body supporting Mr Andrews. This is dirty money and Australia’s weak political donation disclosure laws make the donations little different to handing over great wads of cash in a brown paper bag.

``We need much lower thresholds for donation disclosure and much shorter timeframes for reporting.’’

Licence to print money

Mr Wilkie will also call on Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to end Federal Hotels’ exclusive right to operate pokies in the State.

``In 2003 the then Labor State Government gifted Federal Hotels a licence to print money in the Deed of Agreement which grants exclusive rights to Federal Hotels to operate gaming machines in Tasmania,’’ Mr Wilkie said.

``The agreement expires on 30 June 2018 and the Minister has the discretion not to renew the five-year rolling term on that date. Last month I wrote to Mr Hodgman requesting confirmation of this power and whether it would be exercised or the agreement extended to 2023.’’

Mr Wilkie said in light of this week’s revelation that the pokies industry gave $75,000 to a body to support the re-election of Liberals’ Kevin Andrews as he was drafting the party’s pokies policy, the Tasmanian Liberal Party must reveal any gambling donations it has accepted as it considers any new licence in Tasmania.

Mr Wilkie said he was still waiting for answers from the Premier and, after the revelation last week that Federal Hotels’ Wrest Point had again been fined for faulty poker machines, the public deserved answers.

``Given Mr Hodgman’s criticism in opposition to the secretive process and costly outcome of the agreement negotiated in 2003, and the Liberal Party’s commitment in opposition to introduce $1 bet limits on gaming machines, I believe the Tasmanian people deserve an explanation of the Government’s intentions after June 2018,’’ he said.

Mr Wilkie will also call on the Premier to reveal whether the audit of Federal Hotels’ poker machines for faults will be an in-house snow job or an independent review.

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