An excerpt from Stephen’s announcement, via The Mayne Report:
Shareholder activist, local government councillor, Crikey founder and former Liberal staffer Stephen Mayne turned 41 today and announced he is running as an independent candidate for the Senate in Victoria on a Nick Xenophon-style anti-pokies platform after the Rudd-Gillard government failed to act on sweeping Productivity Commission recommendations.
Mayne says Australians are the world’s biggest gamblers on a per capita basis and Victoria’s biggest pokies venue, the Woolworths-run Werribee Plaza Tavern, is located in Julia Gillard’s seat of Lalor. He also says the family of the third Liberal-National Senate candidate in Victoria, Julian McGauran, owns a pokies venue, the Millers Inn, in Julia Gillard’s home suburb of Altona where gamblers lost a staggering $13.2 million in 2008-09.
“Pokies are arguably the greatest social scourge in Julia Gillard’s working class seat of Lalor, but she doesn’t seem to care. At least Kevin Rudd declared he ‘hates’ the pokies before failing to do anything meaningful,” Mayne said.
Lalor takes in the local council areas of Wyndham and Melton where working class people, many of them vulnerable females, lost $79 million and $42 million respectively on the pokies in 2008-09.
Mayne is calling for the Labor Party to sell the four pokies venues it owns and runs in Canberra and he’ll be directing preferences to which ever party declares the toughest action against pokies in this campaign with the Productivity Commission recommendations being the benchmark which needs to be followed.
“If the Productivity Commission recommends a $1 maximum bet and the Tasmanian Liberals took that policy to the recent state election, then there is no reason why the two major Federal parties can’t do likewise,” Mayne said.
“Victorians concerned about the pokies have the lamentable choice to make in the Senate between the only major political party in the world which operates gambling dens for political fundraising and a Liberal ticket which includes a pokies venue owner.”
Mayne has been an elected councillor at the City of Manningham in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs since November 2008. Manningham councillors will debate the approval of a much tougher draft gambling policy at next Tuesday’s council meeting which countenances the possibility of levying special taxes on the industry.
Victoria has the most lethal pokies in Australia and Manningham has two of the 10 biggest pokies venues in Victoria, namely the Doncaster Inn and the Shoppingtown Hotel, both of which are run by Woolworths and pokies billionaire Bruce Mathieson.