the victorian govt gambling minister insult disclaimer

We have an odd approach to gambling legislation in Victoria.

Actually, no. “Odd” doesn’t cut it. Bizarre? Misguided? Completely whacked out? Yes, that’s closer.

This morning’s papers are reporting that Victoria’s Bailleau government is seeking to make changes to the Gambling Regulation Act. The Amendment they’re proposing passed the Lower House last week, and will be introduced to the Upper House in a fortnight’s time.

Tighter controls on poker machines? No.

Pre-commitment legislation? Uh uh.

Advertising restrictions and penalties? Yeah, right.

The Amendment that is *this* close to becoming law in Victoria makes it a crime to offend the Gam(bl)ing Minister, Michael O’Brien, and his staff.

Yes, I know. It’s be funny if it wasn’t so incredibly pathetic. No, not you, Minister, the legislation. Grovel grovel.

It will be a criminal offence to “assault, obstruct, hinder, threaten, abuse, insult or intimidate” Mr O’Brien or his people. Much of that list is common sense, but “insult”? Oh wow… I could be in trouble.

And it’s big trouble indeed. The fine that goes with this Amendment has a price tag of almost $12,000.

Run a red light? Hundred bucks or so.

Fare evade? Couple of hundred bucks.

Call Mr O’Brien a twerp (not that I would, of course, he’s a charming man with a rakish wit and a boyish smile)? Sorry kids, we don’t eat this year.

The implications are huge. I won’t get into them here, others are already doing so, including blogger and social conscience extraordinaire Mike Stuchbery. But it’s clear that anyone who wants to call the Gam(bl)ing Minister a nong is going to have to protect themselves.

With that in mind, I have crafted this disclaimer. Feel free to copy it and use it whenever you feel the urge to say rude things about our gam(bl)ing ministry.

DISCLAIMER

I acknowledge that Victorian Gaming Minister Michael O’Brien is a wonderful, wonderful man. Witty, incisive and well-read. Any reference I make about him or his staff (who are similarly endowed with all the traits our society values so highly) which may be construed as derogatory in any way, should be seen as a compliment. He is the kind of man who would kick the winning goal after the siren, in the rain, with a broken leg, from the back pocket; who could win Bathurst in a Prius with the gears stuck in reverse; who could win the Tour de France and then do a victory lap. Chuck Norris fears him. He is a chiselled, handsome, dashing man, and anything I say or write to the contrary are the ravings of a fool and a madman.

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2 Responses

  1. mrtiedt says:

    I’m afraid I disagree with you on this one mate – not that you can be blamed, since the papers did exactly the same thing you did.

    If you go the Victoria Hansard website and look up the legislation, you will see that the new offence is this:

    A person must not assault, obstruct, hinder,
    threaten, abuse, insult or intimidate the
    Minister or an authorised person when the
    Minister or authorised person is exercising or
    attempting to exercise a power under
    section 3.8.7, 3.8.8, 3.8.9 or 3.8.10.

    The full bill can be found here: http://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/domino/Web_Notes/LDMS/PubPDocs.nsf/ee665e366dcb6cb0ca256da400837f6b/B44EFFFA186D223ACA2578FB0083C328/$FILE/571023bi1.pdf

    Unsurprisingly, the Labor-authored press release left off the last 2 lines of the amendment, so the journos covering the story did too – so, as I said, not meaning to sound like I’m having a go.

    What do section 3.8.7 through 3.8.10 talk about? If you look at the bill, they talk about the Minister and his delegates getting access to premises and documents (access notices, access powers and the like) and the directions to provide assistence to the Minister and his delegates in obtaining said access.

    The bill does not have a universal application – it applies only to the Minister and his delegates investigating allegations. It’s essentially stopping people acting like dills and interfering with an investigation.

    Now, having said that, the word “insult” really should not be in the bill – it’s a little silly. I can’t imagine what kind of behaviour they would be trying to sweep up that wouldn’t be covered by the other provisions.

    It’s just a pity that the Hun couldn’t serve its readers a little better by actually glancing at the bill before parrotting the Labor press release.

  2. cyenne says:

    Curses! Spoiling my fun with legalities! 🙂

    Seriously though, points well made and succinctly put. I do agree with you on the word “insult”, seems strange to be included… especially after the hooraw of the Bolt case and the issue of offense versus discrimination.

    What WAS nice to see was a tweet from our (handsome and very intelligent) minister, Michael O’Brien, this morning… wondering why everyone was being so polite to him! We may not see eye to eye but he does have a sense of humour!

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