Things just got real.
In just five days, the ABC will air “Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation”, a documentary that gets behind the poker machines that have become inescapable in Australia’s clubs and pubs.
This documentary has been years in the making. The late Neil Lawrence was the driving force behind the film, and his passion for the project was limitless. It’s compelling and disturbing viewing, and lifts the lid on the designer addiction that has spread across the country.
So it really is no surprise that Clubs NSW, the representative body behind hundreds of venues and tens of thousands of poker machines, today announced they were suing the ABC.
They’re supposedly suing because of comments made by former Labor MP Peter Garrett about an envelope of cash he was reportedly offered by a Clubs NSW official a decade ago. This claim was published in Garrett’s recent book and is also included in the forthcoming documentary.
Garrett has since retracted his comments, saying he had a mis-memory. Make of that what you will. And his claims have been edited out of the documentary. But the ABC ran stories about Garrett and the documentary on two shows (PM and 7:30), and those episodes are available online. So now Clubs NSW are suing them for defamation.
What they’re really doing is throwing a tantrum. After decades of protected operation, their toys are about to be exposed as the addiction machines they demonstrably are… and there’s nothing they can do to prevent it.
So instead, they’re suing on a flimsy defamation charge, trying to cast doubt on the authenticity of the documentary as a whole by attacking one small part of it. This is standard procedure for the Clubs industry body; they’re well versed in the art of flinging mud. Remember the un-Australian campaign?
It won’t work. If anything, Clubs NSW’s reaction is even more reason to watch “Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation” when it airs. They really, really don’t want you to.
Find out why.
And click here to sign the Pokies Play You petition to tell Clubs NSW to stop suing the ABC for telling the truth.