Home > Oz Politics > Please don’t blow this chance

Please don’t blow this chance

November 24th, 2011

The desertion of Liberal (or LNP?) member Peter Slipper to take up the Speakership offers the Labor government a great opportunity, but also the temptation to mess things up disastrously. The opportunity is to see out a full Parliamentary term, long enough to put the carbon tax and MRRT in place in a way that the Opposition will either have to accept them, or announce a credible plan to replace them – something that is clearly beyond the capacity of its current leader.

The temptation is that the corrupt hacks who infest the ALP machine will use the extra vote to renege on the promise to Andrew Wilkie to tackle the scourge of poker machine gambling through precommitment. A large section of the ALP has been tied to the hotel and club industry since time immemorial and have obstructed any reform that would challenge the interests of this industry.

Even disregarding the issue of principle, it would be really stupid to break the deal with Wilkie. The government’s only chance is to survive past the point when the scare campaign about the carbon tax and MRRT will be shown up for what it is. If Wilkie abandons them and one ALP member has to leave Parliament for some reason, the government will fall. In that case, electoral support or opposition from the poker machine lobby will make no difference.

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  1. m0nty
    November 25th, 2011 at 03:15 | #1

    Very much agreed.

    This will be a test of how much pull the NSW Right has within Labor right now. Hopefully, not much.

  2. Brian Weatherson
    November 25th, 2011 at 03:44 | #2

    The Age says that Gillard says she told Wilkie she is still committed to the reforms. Hopefully that is true.

  3. November 25th, 2011 at 03:58 | #3

    The proposed poker machine reforms will not impact upon problem gambling.

    So what is the point of them?

  4. conrad
    November 25th, 2011 at 05:35 | #4

    “The proposed poker machine reforms will not impact upon problem gambling”

    I guess we’ll know that in hindsight. I’m willing to bet that they will.

  5. Leon Walras
    November 25th, 2011 at 05:48 | #5

    Irrelevant off-topic rant deleted. You’ve run out of chances, LW. Any future comments from you will be deleted, unless disemvolment or posting with corrections seems more amusing = JQ

  6. November 25th, 2011 at 06:42 | #6

    Steve, How do you know that? They have not been implemented. You are guessing.

    On a priori grounds a repetitive low stakes gamble such as pokies where players chase losses might well respond to pre-commitment devices.

    If they were destined to fail why are the pubs and clubs getting so uppity about them. If they fail these groups will be able to continue to exploit problem gamblers who yield 40% of their revenue.

    My guess seems better than your guess. These measures will plausibly work.

  7. Julie Thomas
    November 25th, 2011 at 07:39 | #7

    Steve, Insight on SBS did a program on the issue which seemed to me to provide a convincing argument for the idea that $1 machines would be the better solution, and that was Wilkie’s original suggestion.


    The camera people on Insight are brilliant, just watch the faces on the club representatives when whatshername – she’s good but no-one seems to like her – asks them some inconvenient questions. Watching faces in slow motion is a wonderful way to ‘see’ what people are really saying.

  8. BilB
    November 25th, 2011 at 07:42 | #8

    What is the basis of your claim that mandatory precommitment for poker machines will be ineffective, SATP? Where is your evidence?

  9. BilB
    November 25th, 2011 at 07:55 | #9


    The ALP now have an extra 2 vote margin. The manouvre has more to do with the likelyhood that Craig Thompson might need to resign to defend himself leaving a doubtful bi-election battle on the cards. The bonus is the humiliation of Abbott, an opportunity too politically useful to pass up.

    As all commentators have Gillard has negotiated with integrity throughout. It would be out of character, not to mention totally unwise, for her to rennig on the promise on poker machine reform. It is curious that Abbott has been so successful in transposing his very character and traits to Gillard in the public and press minds. Forging the very notion that she would be dishonest and unreliable when her every achievement is the exact opposite is indeed Abbotts ONLY achievement.

  10. November 25th, 2011 at 08:15 | #10

    Add to the list of things to get bedded down the NBN. Half a million working services by 2013 is a lot harder to abandon.

  11. Troy Prideaux
    November 25th, 2011 at 09:28 | #11

    It’s also interesting that Abbott’s electoral disapproval appears to have increased since he declared his support for the clubs. Not suggesting that’s the direct consequence, but it’s safe to say that didn’t help his electoral popularity.

  12. Adam (ak)
    November 25th, 2011 at 09:59 | #12

    Problem gamblers are the best example of rational agents maximising their utility function until the marginal utility is equal to the market price.

    How can I calculate the consumer surplus in their case?

    The following is the result of applying the “governments must tax or borrow before they spend” logic:

    “In my view, there is no evidence that introducing mandatory pre-commitment or introducing a one-dollar maximum bet will be effective in tackling problem gambling, but it will hurt recreational players, and that will cost jobs and investment across the industry and cost the state government tax revenue used for essential community services.”

    James Packer, chairman of casino owner Crown speaking at Crown’s annual general meeting in Melbourne on 27 October 2011

    So we must tolerate these parasites because they increase the state revenue and increase employment.

    What if the root cause of the problem are not the “corrupt hacks who infest the ALP machine” but the “scientific” economic paradigm constraining our thinking?

  13. November 25th, 2011 at 10:46 | #13

    @Julie Thomas


    recall just recently a lot of discussion on austerity. Something you said in one of your comments inspired me to write a short story.

    I’ve dedicated it to you and to John (for providing this forum)

    It’s called “the land of skinny people”

    here’s the link


    i hope you enjoy it


  14. November 25th, 2011 at 10:46 | #14

    @The Peak Oil Poet

    Whoops! Sorry about the slip up with the punctuation. My Bad.


  15. gerard
    November 25th, 2011 at 11:13 | #15

    Leon Walras it is customary to provide a link to the source of copy-paste posts, even if it’s from the Moonie Times


  16. gerard
    November 25th, 2011 at 11:17 | #16

    The proposed poker machine reforms will not impact upon problem gambling.

    So what is the point of them?

    if they’re not going to make any difference, why is the hotel and club industry so opposed?

  17. El Mono
    November 25th, 2011 at 11:31 | #17

    In all this talk about mandatory pre-commmitment I find it funny that people seem to have forgotten that not so long ago Pokies weren’t around in Queensland and Victoria and they still aren’t around in WA (lucky buggers).

  18. November 25th, 2011 at 11:53 | #18

    Hmm, nobody above seems to know the first thing about poker machines. Probably got their knowledge from the recent media reports.

    hc, your guess does not seem better than mine. Mine is accurate, yours is an uninformed ramble. You couldn’t be more wrong. That is something for you to reflect upon before commenting again.

    The cover story for the Wilkie pre-commitment proposal is to reduce problem gambling. We’ll take that story at face value.
    If that is the purported aim, the proposal will fail in its objective. ie it will have negligible impact upon problem gambling.

    I could assume there are thinkers on this thread, but I’ve found that to be an erronous assumption, so I’ll go on:

    There is no law of the universe that says if something is going to fail in objective (a) that it will not achieve unexpected conseqquences of (b). This basic error in thinking seems to run through the middle of just about every opinion on the proposal. (or in English, “If the clubs are so against it, then that can ONLY be because the proposal is going to work).

    Even saying this demonstrates a lack of critical thinking ability, & certainly a lack of scientific background, or exposure to scientific methods.

    The Wilkie proposals will require a lot of capital expenditure by clubs. They reforms will have little impact upon problem gamblers. The proposed reforms will however bring discretionary gambling to a near halt.

    Clubs know that the bulk, or if not the bulk, one helluva lot, of their income is not from problem gamblers, but from discretionary gamblers.

    Thus the Wilkie reforms will cost a lot of money, will not achieve their stated aim, and will cause inconvenience (ie the sack) to workers in the industry. Furthermore the Wilkie reforms will impact upon the discretionary recreational gambling of people for whom gambling is not a problem, why bother legislating to remove a person’s freedom to engage in what is for them a harmless activity?
    The problem gambler will still be gambling. Pre commitment hasn’t achieved the stated goal in New Brunswick, nor in (though done slightly differently there) Norway.

    On top of that the timetable for implementation of the reforms is unlikely to be met. Logistically it will take longer than that to replace every poker machine in the country.

  19. Freelander
    November 25th, 2011 at 12:16 | #19

    @El Mono

    Obviously there couldn’t have been clubs back then if the horror stories of the likely consequences of the tiniest curb on problem gambling pokie cash flow is to be believed.

  20. Freelander
    November 25th, 2011 at 12:16 | #20


  21. gerard
    November 25th, 2011 at 12:49 | #21

    I’m in moderation too, dont know why

  22. BilB
    November 25th, 2011 at 13:07 | #22

    My preferred outcome on poker machines is to dispose of them completely, SATP. If the clubs cannot come to terms with the need to prevent the immense destruction that these ghastly devices cause then the outcome will in due course be their total removal.

    Those of you who are defending their uncontrolled use wake up to yourselves.

    As I have said before, the fate of the couple next door to my house at the time that my family moved in was that the wife gambled away all of the couple’s retirement money on poker machines, the husband committed suicide in the garage against our fence, the bank foreclosed on the property and then threw out the wife to a fate that I know nothing about.

    There is nothing good about these devices. It is just bone lazy business trumped up as being “good for the community”.

  23. conrad
    November 25th, 2011 at 13:14 | #23

    “hc, your guess does not seem better than mine. Mine is accurate, yours is an uninformed ramble”

    Well, mine isn’t. I work about 4 meters away from the person who will be evaluating it in Vic (depending on where the chair in my office is and where her chair is), and I don’t see her wandering around saying “this will never work”, “this will never work”, “this will never work”.

    This why I’m happy to bet that there will be significant effects on problem gamblers and, also importantly, the number of people becoming problem gamblers. Again, if you’re so sure in your beliefs, then (a) you shouldn’t give a toss about the current reforms; and (b) you should be suggesting that stronger enforcement rules be used unless you think that taking money from vulnerable groups, such as old people with undiagnosed dementia, is a good idea (which is likely outcome if the current rules don’t work incidentally — especially now the issue has gain traction with the general public who will inevitably fall on the side of more authoritarian measures).

  24. may
    November 25th, 2011 at 13:15 | #24

    the interesting bit was the way it was reported.

    if the shoe was on the other foot?

    “brilliant political manouvering.” “embattled battlers battling against satanic socialist sorts.” “upset of the century.”etc.

    and the other day.

    when this “failed”,”dysfunctional”govt pointed out the number of the pieces of legislation passed, the cry went up that the stack of paper would be a meter high.

    as if that was somehow pertinent.

    the fin might be the most accurate info source, but really, what else there is there?

    not a lot.

  25. November 25th, 2011 at 13:18 | #25

    BilB, either you are opposed to poker machines, or you are for them, but with pre-commitment technology installed. Which is it?

    I have stated that the Wilkie reforms will not achieve their purported aims.
    Please explain how me pointing that out amounts to “defending their uncontrolled use”? Thinking ain’t always a strong theme in threads on this site. That can make discussion difficult.

  26. may
    November 25th, 2011 at 13:21 | #26

    Steve at the Pub :BilB, either you are opposed to poker machines, or you are for them, but with pre-commitment technology installed. Which is it?
    I have stated that the Wilkie reforms will not achieve their purported aims.Please explain how me pointing that out amounts to “defending their uncontrolled use”? Thinking ain’t always a strong theme in threads on this site. That can make discussion difficult.

    especially when you are drunk.

  27. BilB
    November 25th, 2011 at 13:40 | #27


    Your claiming that precommitment will not work is no form of evaluation or proof at all. If you read back, I asked you for the basis of your judgement. Where is the proof. You fail to deliver.

    I have seen the damage these things cause. You had better come to terms with the notion that the real risk here is that the clubs could loose the income from these machines completely.

    The argument that the state governments cannot do without the income from these machines is a total crock The fact is that if the money is not put through the poker machines it will still be spent, but through other channels such as grocery stores, clothing stores, and book shops. The states will still receive a portion of that expenditure in increased GST compounded.

    Frankly I would be delighted to see the sports clubs become proper businesses rather than the boozy, smokey, dingey gambling dens that they are. Get the point? I hate them, and only go to them under duress, and then only for the food which is totally mediocre to bad.

    There is nothing at all about “sporting” clubs that I see that is worth preserving that is based on the revenues of gambling machines.

  28. November 25th, 2011 at 14:41 | #28

    I doubt any of them are drunk may, unless you speak for yourself? ;-)

  29. November 25th, 2011 at 14:45 | #29

    @Steve at the Pub

    “Steve at the Pub”

    I guess she thinks you really are at the pub.


  30. November 25th, 2011 at 14:56 | #30

    I really am Peak Oil, I spend my who cursed life here. The point is what?

  31. November 25th, 2011 at 16:22 | #31

    @Steve at the Pub

    oh, nothing. I’m sure it was a slip of the mouse.


  32. November 25th, 2011 at 18:00 | #32

    Hmm, I’ve watched a bit of that show that Julie links to on the Soccer Bikes & Sex channel. It’s daytime, so I’ll get around to the rest of it later.

    I’m up to the part where Andrew Wilkie is defining problem gambling as betting more than $1 per spin of a poker machine.

    This is flawed methodology.

  33. paul of albury
    November 25th, 2011 at 19:00 | #33

    SATP you have ‘stated’ that the reforms will not work, you have asserted that your views are accurate and others ill informed but you have argued nothing, except your belief of other’s motivations and your belief that the reforms will affect ‘discretionary’ gamblers. But all you have to say about problem gamblers is assertion after assertion that the reforms will not work with no reasons. Are you merely arguing from authority? Is this authority owning a pub? Is this in WA or is your interest self-interest? I’m not sure how the thinkers on the thread are supposed to respond, it sounds like we are just to reflect gratefully upon your glorious assertions. If so, I’d appreciate a little more substance to reflect upon.

  34. November 25th, 2011 at 19:48 | #34

    Paul of Albury: For starters, the reforms will apply only to poker machines. They will not apply to any other form of gambling.

    The reforms require a gambler to register as a gambler (licence to punt as the club industry aptly puts it). This will stop overseas & casual gamblers. It will certainly stop me. Even if I were to be bothered to obtain a punter’s card (which I won’t) I wouldn’t carry it with me 24/7. Thus when I am overtaken with the urge to pop $50 through a poker machine, say interstate & in a post prandial state of mine, I’ll be prevented by not having my punting licence on me.

    Problem gamblers (ie, those who are “hooked”) will go to all sorts of lengths to punt, if they have to (see what happened in New Brunswick). However under the Wilkie proposals they won’t have to, all they have to do is pre-commit to, say, a million dollars a day of maximum losses, & bob’s their uncle.

    Imagine if you will, how successful would be a law aimed at improving our health & reducing smoke, that limited people to purchasing, say, 20 cigarettes each day.

    The Wilkie proposals likewise won’t achieve their stated aim, to stop problem gamblers from doing their dough.

  35. Sam
    November 25th, 2011 at 22:50 | #35

    @Steve at the Pub
    It’s an interesting point SATP. I think policy makers are assuming though, that most problem gamblers know they have a problem. This means that in the cold light of day they would set low maximum daily bets.

    Or imagine a husband with a gambling problem which has severely impacted on the family. His wife can be there with him when he is signing up for the system, and she can insist he set a reasonable limit, say $20 a day. In this way, she applies a familial/social pressure, and that can be enforced when she isn’t at the pub.

  36. Scott
    November 26th, 2011 at 02:48 | #36

    All I know is that the people who make money out of poker machines are screaming loudly about this reform, so given their obvious self-interest, I infer that the Wilkie proposals will, in fact, reduce revenues to poker operators, and since a fair slab of that money that they get is from problem gamblers, that suggests that this reform will have some positive effects.

    Even if it doesn’t, if it annoys the pokies lobby, that’s good enough for me.

  37. conrad
    November 26th, 2011 at 06:05 | #37

    “Problem gamblers (ie, those who are “hooked”)”

    It’s not just current problem gamblers, it’s those who would have otherwise become problem gamblers.

    “Imagine if you will, how successful would be a law aimed at improving our health & reducing smoke, that limited people to purchasing, say, 20 cigarettes each day.”

    There’s no real comparison here. Drugs are easy to sell in a black market. Alternatively, you could get rid of every pokie tomorrow and I doubt there would be any great black market for them.

  38. BilB
    November 26th, 2011 at 07:21 | #38


    Precommitment works. The proof is all here.

    Case A

    As an addicted blogger I have submitted myself to the bloggers precommiment beta test programme. I had indicated in my precommitment for this week “happy/casual”. Well we can all see what happened. So my previous response to SATP was thrown into the moderation bin for a day and my further blogging has subsequently been reduced. The benefit has been more time spent with my family. Win, Win.

    Precommitment works.

    Case B

    Steve at the Pub #34 himself says that he mentally precommits before he considers gambling…. “thus when I am overtaken with the urge to pop $50 through a poker machine”…. but believes that he would not carry through with the urge because he would not get a “gambling card”. The fact is that he already has a gambling card if he is a member of a club. The membership card itself is all that is required. Pop the card in a machine to use it…….enter in what he has already decided….that precommitment is logged onto his card or into the club’s tracking system and away he goes. Steve can move from machine to machine and his precommitment goes with him.

    Precommitment works.

    Or. …..Steve maintains his stance of never getting a gambling card and he saves all of his money and has more available to pay his staff….properly. Win, Win, Win.
    Steves staff, being better paid, now have the money to contribute to their childrens weekend sports associations and those associations become better funded as their money has not come to them via the poker machine/club profit/goverment taxation very inefficient pathway. Win again.

    It is all good. Get with the programme.

  39. BilB
    November 26th, 2011 at 07:28 | #39

    Moderaton again. Wait for it. You will like it.

  40. snuh
    November 26th, 2011 at 08:30 | #40

    “[1] The Wilkie proposals will require a lot of capital expenditure by clubs. [2] They reforms will have little impact upon problem gamblers.”

    the capital expenditure argument might well be the actual (as opposed to the stated) reason clubs are opposed, but i remain sceptical. obviously implementing the wilkie plans will require some capital expenditure, although whether the expenditure will be “a lot” seems to require my taking on faith the statements of club industry groups who have an exceedingly clear motive for exaggeration.

    what i don’t understand is why you seem to think there is some necessary relation between your statements [1] and [2]. the wilkie proposal might actually cost clubs quite a lot of money to implement, i wouldn’t know and i suspect neither do you, but they might also substantially reduce problem gambling. both statements can be true. both statements might be driving club opposition. to many, including me, the cost to the community through the cost imposed on clubs would be a price worth paying.

  41. Chris Warren
    November 26th, 2011 at 08:39 | #41

    @Steve at the Pub

    Limiting cigarettes to 20 a day would be a desirable reform. It would reinforce other public health initiatives.

    Who cares about a few winging gamblers crying over having to carry a card. The benefits to many other families far outweigh such sobbing.

    Money that would otherwise be lost down pokie machines and so currently feeds the corporate profits of Woolworths (& etc), will now stay in the pockets of householders and will be available to buffer against increased energy costs as society necessarily adjusts to climate change.

  42. John Quiggin
    November 26th, 2011 at 09:16 | #42

    Just a side note – anything to do with g*mbling, and even more with c*sinos, is likely to set off the spam alarms and go into moderation. Not much I can do about this, except to haul it out when I notice it.

  43. Charles
    November 26th, 2011 at 19:27 | #43

    It will indeed be interesting. Up to date Gillard has shown herself to be one smart cookie. Up to date she has done a lot of good things, but the detractors can claim it was only because the minority government forced action. If she continues with the reforms no one can claim it wasn’t because she wanted the reform.

    I suspect she will continue.

  44. Jill Rush
    November 26th, 2011 at 21:11 | #44

    The issue of gambling is going to be a difficult one now that the Labor Party has a little more breathing space. However a PM who already has credibility issues will be reluctant to appear completely untrustworthy by going back on Wilkie’s demands. The other independents would rightly question their agreements with the PM. This would allow room for Rudd to move.
    The arguments put forward by SATP show how self serving the opposition is. There is a need to control the addictive machines just as addictive medication can only be bought on prescription.
    The funniest piece of mental contortion from Clubs Aust is that they can run voluntary programs but somehow when it legislated it is too expensive. Clubs Australia like to focus on their good works. The problem for the pokie barons however is that too many of us know of families left with nothing because of someone else’s addiction. The argument is really about people preying on others through an addiction which those same people have fostered. People need protection through mechanisms such as are proposed because it is not a level playing field.

  45. November 26th, 2011 at 21:15 | #45

    Scott #36
    “…..if it annoys the pokies lobby, that’s good enough for me.”
    So for you it is not about good policy, it is about sticking it to someone, anyone. Gambling isn’t of the slightest concern to you.

    Chris Warren #41
    “….and so currently feeds the corporate profits of Woolworths (& etc), will now stay in the pockets of householders and will be available to buffer against increased energy costs as society necessarily adjusts to climate change.”

    Now we’ve got the picture. You’re against someone making money, and a likely envro-fascist.
    Gambling isn’t of the slightest concern to you.

    I wonder has anybody got any actual, you know, evidence based concerns that relate to gambling, rather than to the fasicistic urge to implement legislative control over the lives of others?

  46. November 27th, 2011 at 01:29 | #46

    Living in the UK, one big difference in the pubs is that they’re not infested by poker machines. And pubs seems to function fine without them, at least in Oxford.

    Not having poker machines makes pubs more attractive to me, not less, and I can’t believe I’m the only one.

  47. Fran Barlow
    November 27th, 2011 at 06:58 | #47

    I’m in the fairly unusual position of being with Bilb on this one. I’d prefer the p*kies were banned entirely, but as a second best option, caps on payouts and bet would be an improvement with pre-commitment as the weakest of the worthy options.

    All of these will, IMO, moderate the problem.

  48. November 27th, 2011 at 11:29 | #48

    Danny Yee #45:
    If you are in the UK, you will be aware that in the past several years the main topic regarding pubs has been the number of them that have been closing. It is expected that up to 40% of them will have to close. Something for you to reflect upon when claiming “pubs seem to function just fine”.

    Fran there are already caps on both payouts & bets. In Qld bets are capped at $5, and payouts at $10,000. To get a payout any higher a machine has to be linked to a statewide jackpot, which only a small percentage are. The $10,000 is achievable on a stand-alone EGM only by doubling up the win, usually doubling it several times, as a win on combinations on a stand-alone rarely is more than circa $3,000

  49. BilB
    November 27th, 2011 at 11:48 | #49

    Whatever you are aluding to, SATP, UK pub closures are not about poker machines.


    Perhaps UK pubs need to discover the benefit of micro breweries and onsite beer brewing, as New Zealanders have done. The beer is better with far greater variety, and it is always cold. More to the point it means better profits for the publican.

  50. November 27th, 2011 at 12:20 | #50

    I am alluding to UK pubs not being financially viable BilB. A diametric reversal of the (hardly scientific) observation @45 that “pubs seem to be functioning just fine”.

    Perhaps microbreweries in pubs is a great opportunity for you to move the the UK & show them how it is done. As it is better profits for the publican it will be a great opportunity for you to really clean up financially where those dumb yokel british have failed.

  51. Gerard
    November 27th, 2011 at 12:24 | #51

    Think how much more financially viable they would become if they were licensed to sell crack cocaine

  52. BilB
    November 27th, 2011 at 12:53 | #52

    Read the Article, SATP. The failure of viability is squarely laid on the name Brands charging extortionate prices compared to the open market product ie excess corporate profiteering.

    Last weekend I had several restaurant class meals at a pub in Wagga. Beautiful building, good beer, great food, indoor outdoor and balcony dining, functions under way, no poker machines,….a memorable experience.

  53. rog
    November 27th, 2011 at 13:33 | #53

    The evidence is solid, poker machines create crime.

    Judge Roland Williams questioned at the time ”how a so-called civilised society can allow and offer the mindless operation of poker machines to witless members of the public under the euphemism of gaming and entertainment is no doubt a question for the sociologists of this world”.

  54. rog
    November 27th, 2011 at 13:45 | #54

    Also…the evidence shows that as fast as UK pubs close licensed and unlicensed eateries are opening up. Pubs need to change to survive and reliance on gambling is not helping them.

  55. rog
    November 27th, 2011 at 13:47 | #55


    Also…the evidence shows that as fast as UK pubs close licensed and unlicensed eateries are opening up. Pubs need to change to survive and reliance on g*mbling is not helping them.

  56. November 27th, 2011 at 14:58 | #56

    That pub in Wagga is no doubt in trouble once BilB opens up a microbrewery & pub there. A great opportunity, and a real financial killing to be made.

    Are you sharing your epicurian experiences with us so we all may vicariously enjoy your good meal in Wagga?
    I’ve eaten in restaurants both high & low brow all over the country (& the world) none of which were operating EGM’s. Your point (relevant to the Wilkie reforms) is what exactly?

    I’m not interested BilB, in reading any article written by either an ingenue or even if written by someone who knows what they are writing about.

    It may surprise you (probably does) that I didn’t get my knowledge of the pub trade from reading about it. Nor did I get my knowledge of the UK pub trade by reading about it, (even if I did read about it, I’d use more sources than two or three journalistic puff pieces)
    I keep abreast of what is occurring in other parts of the world. If a jurisdiction is easier to make a go of it in than home, then I’m off!

    For a long time the UK has had too many pubs, they’ve cut the pie into slices too small. Furthermore these have been way overvalued for the returns. To top it off they are way overtaxed & over regulated. A pub in the UK that makes 50,000 quid for the operator will have paid roughly half a million quid in one form or another of tax. This is before running costs. At the end of all that, Fifty Thousand isn’t much kick for a husband & wife working every hour god sends, never mind for an investment, where a return is far from guaranteed.

    I don’t doubt eateries, licenced & unlicenced are opening up. But any mention of eateries opening “all over the place” must also mention how long they trade before closing again. The eatery game has always been a tough one.

    None of this has the slightest relevance to the Wilkie reforms.

  57. BilB
    November 27th, 2011 at 18:16 | #57

    Unfortunately I used the “G” word in my post so this is to short circuit the mod box.

    Clearly micro breweries are a bolt out of the blue for our very own Steve the Publican.

    http://www.thedux.co.nz/ and add brewery.html to see the Duxes awards and beer labels


    What it comes down to Steve is that people love a good product and reward it with loyal patronage.

    “None of this has the slightest relevance to the Wilkie reforms”

    Oh yes it does. The Clubs associations are claiming that their very viability is built on the continuance of poker machine useage. The real issue is that they are just plain bad business people.

    Our local Penrith Panthers Club have used the greedy grab of g*mbling money to buy up every club in the area, refurbishing..yes…but installing more poker machines and bad food. The whole thing is sick (not good sick).

    The links are for those who are interested in seeing how pubs can be, if we get switched on energetic publicans who believe in creating a good experience for their patrons.

    The Dux de Lux was, I believe, badly damaged in the earthquake and I’m not sure if it is up and running again.

    Unfortunately we have a lot of lazy publicans in this country. They will catch on eventually.

  58. Chris Warren
    November 27th, 2011 at 18:16 | #58

    Steve at the Pub

    “You’re against someone making money,”

    This was a lie ….

    Normal people are against profiteering where it damages others. No one opposes people making money in fair circumstances.

    This is a lie….
    “a likely envro-fascist.”

    This is another lie….
    “Gambling isn’t of the slightest concern to you.”

    It would be best if listened more and did not manufacture such falsifications.

    Maybe you have some other argument you’d like to proffer?

  59. snuh
    November 27th, 2011 at 18:32 | #59

    I’m not interested BilB, in reading any article written by either an ingenue or even if written by someone who knows what they are writing about.

    It may surprise you (probably does) that I didn’t get my knowledge of the pub trade from reading about it.

    you can learn things from listening to and reading other people’s opinions. true story. yes, even about your own chosen profession. i suggest trying it some time.

  60. Red
    November 27th, 2011 at 20:43 | #60

    The simple mathematics on poker machines means you will lose. Hence, the smart collective look down upon those simple poker machine players.

    The simple trend polling up to date, tell us Abbott will win the next election. In fact this trend hasn’t changed since the day after the last election. Yet, the smart collective tell us Abbott will lose. It’s obviously an “emotional feeling”, because it’s not based on statistical evidence up to date, perhaps it’s that lucky itch?

    It’s just got to turn around, just one more spin, it’ll come good with my lucky last dollar etc.

    I reckon a good gaming machine would The Jackpot Julia, whataya reckon punters?

  61. BilB
    November 27th, 2011 at 21:15 | #61

    Yes, I’m with you, Red. That would be very good, and the barrels being computer generated would have very good resolution for the images displayed. And might I point out that Jackpot Julia would be powered by a very honest computer, as compared to the Toxic Tony Terror Bonanza machine “brain”.

  62. Freelander
    November 27th, 2011 at 22:09 | #62

    The net money you lose is simply payment for the enjoyment you receive. Just like any other consumption good you are better off as a result. Society would be much worse off if people couldn’t ‘purchase’ this form of enjoyment. The punters are simply purchasing a form of entertainment. Don’t worry though Toxic Tony and others like Eddie McGuire don’t intend to let you be deprived of that pleasure. Great that they are looking out for us.

  63. Red
    November 27th, 2011 at 23:16 | #63

    The point I make freelander is that the expected ALP turn around isn’t based on any tangible evidence, it’s based on emotion. They are the same emotional responses that inflict poker machine players.

    There’s absolutely no evidence that the “sky not falling in”, whatever that means???, after the introduction of a carbon tax will help the present government in any way. It may not harm them further, however there’s no evidence it’ll make any difference to the major improvement in standing that’s needed to come close in the next election.

    The “sky not falling in” meme is of course at its heart, hope. No different really to what keeps the guy/girl playing that machine with the last fifty out of the pay packet.

    That’s the problem with a nanny state, who’s keeping tabs on nanny? Does she really know it all?

  64. John Quiggin
    November 28th, 2011 at 00:00 | #64

    ” In fact this trend hasn’t changed since the day after the last election. ”

    Umm, that’s not the way it looks to me


  65. derrida derider
    November 28th, 2011 at 10:20 | #65

    Harry, ignore steve on this – he’s swallowed the kool-aid. You’re right that the clubs’ attittude is strong evidence it will work – they wouldn’t be trying to bring down a government if the measure onlycreated a bit of inconvenience rather than a big revenue loss.

    The government would have to have rocks in its head not to carry the measure through now. Apart from the fact they may still need Wilkie, it is far worse to fail to get a controversial measure up than to succeed in getting it in. They cannot possibly afford another major backdown – surely even the Sussex St mob must understand that.

  66. November 28th, 2011 at 11:20 | #66

    Derrida Derida, if “he’s swallowed the kool aid” is the best you can do, then give it up.
    A comprehensive refutation, or a fisking of me is fine. But “ignore, ignore, ignore” says: “I haven’t an answer for his points”

    Which kool-aid have I swallowed anyway? There are so many different vats of it to choose from.

    I reiterate: The opposition to the Wilkie reforms by the Club lobby need not be due to the clubs believing that those reforms will actually halt problem gambling.
    You will have to prove that link. You won’t, as the Wilkie reforms will not prevent problem gambling. End-of-Message.

  67. Fran Barlow
    November 28th, 2011 at 11:39 | #67

    @derrida derider

    Just so DD. Since in practice, controversial measures always have at worst, considerable support (otherwise they’d not be contemplated) failure to get them passed demoralises the friends of the measure and causes them to doubt the usefulness of the regime without those opposed looking any more kindly upon the regime. The more often the government holds its nerve and presses forward, taking the parliament with them, the more competent they look.

    On the whole, the people who hate controls on pokies are either never voting ALP any way or they are voting ALP despite hating it. In the middle there are those who are to be persuaded that it’s the best measure but if the measure works (i.e. problem gambling is seen to decline) then the government gets kudos for “leadership”. A government that goes to water every time there’s a trolling populist campaign simply makes a rod for its won back — which is why the RSPT backdown was so toxic for the regime. If they were going to back down, they shouldn’t have proposed it in the first place, perhaps engaging in “extensive consultation” about “how to reconcile a strong mining industry” with “dealing with the problems of our patchwork economy” and “setting aside for the future some of the benefits of the mining boom” and “sharing the wealth in present and future Australians”. In short, you make nebulous claims that hardly anyone can disagree with, get through the election and a change of senate and then just do it. Had they done that, then carbon pricing, live exports and pokies would have gone a lot better.

    There can be no doubt that there is support on the right for such measures. Traditionally, it was the conservative right who had to be persuaded that gambling in Australia ought to be legally tolerated. They can’t be all that happy about being in the pro-gambling camp. This is potentially a huge wedge issue.

    Bear in mind also the sources of funding for the coalition in the AHA/Registered Clubs movement and anything that disrupts the clubs helps the ALP.

  68. may
    November 28th, 2011 at 12:11 | #68

    wow, i got a jokey response from the barred in blowfly (sorry) blow in barfly.

    funny there was no response to queries about the chirpy claim to have tortured some-one quite a while back on another thread.

    is going all quiet when specifics are raised a debating technique?

    or just containment or derision or dismissal or if that doesn’t work,chuck a huge wobbly .

  69. Freelander
    November 28th, 2011 at 12:42 | #69


    Don’t worry Red evidence of trend or not, with Toxic Tony, the One Trick Pony, “No, No, No”, the Libs are backing a loser. Twelve more months of the same tune will be more than the public can bear. To guarantee a loss, Toxic Tony won’t even have to provide anymore Latham moments. Toxic Tony, the gift that keeps on giving. You can hear Turnbull chuckling in the background.

  70. November 28th, 2011 at 13:08 | #70

    In all the discussion about the pros and cons of mandatory pre-commitment and the issues of problem gambling there has been no mention of the huge elephant in the room.

    Do you know that it takes nothing more than to print an on-line form and sign it and submit it with a certified copy of you ID to get a share trading account linked to your bank account?

    With a little help from google you can take it one further and fill out a form that will link options trading to your bank account. Ditto for other trading.

    Now, as much as you might be able to lose on a poker machine, you can lose a whole lot more speculating on stock movements – and, attractive to gamblers, you’ve probably got a better chance of winning against the market than against the house (I’m not 100% sure of that).

    3 things flow from that to my mind.

    1. if we must protect gamblers from themselves then should we not also do so for all forms of gambling?

    2. If it is so easy to gamble on line – then why do people go to clubs etc to gamble? What are the other issues involved? Have there been studies that have tried to shed light on why it is that people BOTH go to clubs etc AND throw their money away on gambling?

    3. There are a lot of forms of gambling available and few if any of them other than the sort that has been discussed here (ie gambling at your local club) plough anything at all back into the local community in any way at all. If local clubs are indeed stripping little old ladies and lonely old men of their home equity (which is how i see it at my local club) then the ones losing would seem to be their children (who are where prey tell?) and the ones winning would seem to be the local clubs and to some extent t6he local people – for example i know 4 people who are employed full time at the club.

    I am no expert in any way whatsoever on these issues but i can see with my own eyes who is putting money through machines at my local club and it’s not the family man with a gambling problem that takes food from the mouths of his family. It’s just all these lonely little old men and women who, rather than spend all their days locked away at home, spend their time at the clubs. I chat with them. I know a few because I live next door to them or down the road from them. I know from experience that they are happy NOT to go to the club if they have something else to do.

    Maybe my suburb is atypical i do not know. Maybe the real problems are in the outer suburbs.

    anyway that’s my 2 cents worth


  71. BilB
    November 29th, 2011 at 07:38 | #71


    There is a huge difference between an addiction and bad judgement. Certainly internet gaming is a huge problem, and perhaps the next one to be challenged after poker machines.


    You’ve got a nerve to suggest that anyone else should “prove that link”. You’ve never yet substantiated a single one of your outlandish claims. Thrusting you chest out and declaring that you are the font of all knowledge may work over the bar at your pub to half inebriated patrons, but it is totally unconvincing in these forums.

  72. November 29th, 2011 at 08:24 | #72


    Did i mention internet gaming at all?

    I talked about gambling on-line by people speculating on the markets.

    As for the assertion that’s there’s a huge difference between bad judgment and addiction – really? Is not Addiction the very embodiment of the lack of ability to use judgment to influence/alter actions? Huh?

    You just brush aside all of my issues – there appears to have been no thought at all – in fact I would suggest there’s little to distinguish your approach from the approach you accuse SATP of taking.

    I’ll make it simpler – what’s the real difference between someone addicted to on line trading and gambling by any other means?

    If you are going to suggest that we upper middle class types are immune to addiction – have you some lessons to learn.

    Who really are the targets in the legislation being discussed? Who? And by that question I mean who are the target gamblers and specifically why and how much are we talking about and how does that compare with all other forms of speculation. As well where will that money go for sure? Who are the targets on the receiving end? Both gainers and losers?

    All humans react to losing the same way – with the need to un-lose – it’s well documented neuroscience.

    I have no idea what research is being used as the foundation for the legislation but I do know politicians and in general they are stupid, lazy, self interested, incredibly arrogant and easily manipulated by many forms of lobbying (not much different to the rest of us). I know from a lot of first hand experience that that they will lie through their teeth. I also know that they (or their bosses) are masters of using the side issue to hide the real issue.

    Consequently i have no faith at all that there is any value in any form of legislation.

    I’ve not seen anything in everything above to have me think it’s a slam dunk in favour of legislation. And unlike many, I spent most of my formative years surrounded by addicts of all kinds.


  73. November 29th, 2011 at 10:30 | #73

    Bilb, it may surprise you to learn that on hobby forums such as this, inhabited by closed minds such as your own, there are far less critical thinking skills displayed than in any pub.

    It is a laugh for somone who exhibits mental skills on the level you do, to attemp an ironic tone when calling me the “font of all knowledge”. Do you seriously think there is one person on this site who’s a match for me? !!

  74. Dan
    November 29th, 2011 at 10:45 | #74

    In a word, yes.

  75. November 29th, 2011 at 10:49 | #75


    Maybe everyone? Equally silly? All “disempowered righteous types”?


  76. Chris Warren
    November 29th, 2011 at 12:48 | #76

    @Steve at the Pub

    Lies and arrogance gets you nowhere.

  77. November 29th, 2011 at 12:50 | #77

    But apparently, being a math nerd at 10 years of age does.


  78. derrida derider
    November 29th, 2011 at 13:35 | #78

    pop, the argument about whether governments SHOULD make problem gambling on pokies harder is one thing, but the argument here is not about the whether precommitment SHOULD discourage it, but whether in fact it WILL discourage it.

    satp, it is plain as a pikestaff that the clubs are hypocritical liars in this. If they wanted to stop problem gambling they’d be putting forward things that we can all agree must work – tiny jackpots only (the UK approach) and/or $1 machines only, both of which Wilkie has said are acceptable substitutes for the precommitment measure but neither of which the clubs will agree to – because, of course, they don’t really want to stop problem gambling. Instead their proposal is “lets talk about it and maybe run some trials” – ie put it all off as long as possible in the hope of a change of government.

    It actually reminds me of the way governments tried to discredit the Lancet’s estimates of the Iraq war costing 600,000+ dead. The strongest evidence that they secretly thought that estimate was reasonable was that they refused to do any studies to provide alternative estimates, for fear these would be even higher.

    And satp, I can safely say there is no-one on this forum who is a match for you – or would want to be :-) .

  79. KB Keynes
    November 29th, 2011 at 15:02 | #79

    of course they will blow this chance.

    They got rid of Rudd for reasons which were never fully explained. It was certainly not polling. No-one believed the internal polling except Andrew Bolt. nuff said.

    they learnt nothing.

    Their campaign was a shambles. Remember the great strategy of dissing Rudd. wow that worked well.
    They learnt nothing.

    They then said to Julia tell them the ETS is a carbon tax but we have to do it.
    wow that worked.

    They learnt nothing.

    This is a government of Aspergers.

  80. Freelander
    November 29th, 2011 at 21:26 | #80

    They got rid of Rudd because he was a dud, and what was worse he was incapable of doing the job of prime minister and was too big headed to let others do the job he couldn’t do behind the scenes. On top of that his autocratic behavior means that few who had the misfortune to work with him, like him. There is more to being prime minister than appearing on TV. Unfortunately the rest of the job was beyond him. They will never regurgitate him. Although he doesn’t seem to know it his prime ministerial aspirations have long since dissolved. John Howard was no more incompetent than his peers, and John Howard wanted it so much more. That is why he was left standing after a long war of attrition. A certain large Labour politician, now retired, would have been recycled if he had hung on, but then that person had no ticker and just expected it to all fall in his lap. Really appalling the choice on both sides. Rudd put then in a very difficult position. How could they really explain it. Good thing we don’t have Presidents. Then we would have been stuck with him right until and past when the internal collapse of government had become apparent to the populace.

  81. Fran Barlow
    November 29th, 2011 at 21:49 | #81

    @KB Keynes

    Please, let’s leave off the Aspergers references. That’s got nothing to do with this regime’s shortcomings. These are political rather than the result of intellectual disability.


    Anthony Ball from registered clubs got a gig in theirABC’s The Drum today, scoffing at pre-commitment and $1 caps. Of the 308 responses so far about 90% were overtly hostile, with words like “parasite” and similar being tossed about and many saying the p*kies should simply be removed entirely.

    Nice one Anthony.

  82. Freelander
    November 29th, 2011 at 23:38 | #82

    @Fran Barlow

    For many years the ABC suffered the undeserved reputation of being a “sheltered workshop” but it can’t be called that unfairly any more. Since the right took over during the Howard era, as well as subjecting Australians to a parade of invitees like Anthony Ball, the skill and apparent education of many of their new crop of ABC staff is simply appalling. I just heard an ABC announcer referring repeatedly to the capital of Iran as Terrain. ABC NewsRadio, whenever ABC staff are on, is error after error. Now I would like to see it privatized. I don’t see why we should pay for this rubbish. Maybe that was the plan.

  83. November 30th, 2011 at 02:42 | #83

    @Fran Barlow

    “intellectual disability”

    so you don’t know anything at all about Aspergers. I’d suggest not commenting then as you’ll just end up digging yourself into a very deep hole.


  84. Fran Barlow
    November 30th, 2011 at 06:55 | #84

    @The Peak Oil Poet

    My second son is within the autism spectrum and has PDD-Aspergers. I’ve been through the entire process since he was verbal. There’s no doubt IMO, that it’s an intellectual disability. It is an intellectual challenge for those marked by it

    As a teacher, I understand the sensitivity attaching to what is and is not called an intellectual disability as this is often mapped to human worth. I reject such mapping. I regard the nomenclature as cultural. Soe reject categorising it with autism, but it is clearly within the spectrum.

    Your tone is uncivil and your point ill-founded.

  85. Chris Warren
    November 30th, 2011 at 07:25 | #85

    @The Peak Oil Poet

    Your rude comment is not appreciated by anyone.

  86. November 30th, 2011 at 07:53 | #86

    @Fran Barlow

    :-) wanna fight?

    1. I’m on the spectrum and should that be surprising? Many a psychologist would pick it just by my quirky writing style.
    2. I’ve raised a very AD boy – Asperger’s might describe it or maybe just straight out ASD but he’s so far way way above average intelligence that to see his nature as a disorder is to see it out of balance with the whole. Sure he seems to lack “theory of mind” but what he lacks there he more than makes up in so many other directions.

    3. Being on the spectrum I’ve worked in the past as a teacher in special needs schools “teaching” math and related concepts to you guessed it – Aspergers.

    4. I’ve a black belt in karate, I’ve spent years teaching “special needs” kids – and some are quite Autistic and I’ve learned a thing or two about Autism and the family. It’s amazing just how different kids can be just based on the difference in parents – some parents refuse to see their child as handicapped in any way – they fight the system and they focus all their love on the kids and the kids, as weird as others might think them, are happy and have good lives. Other parents start and stay forever with the attitude their kids are disordered – they accept all the labeling and they use the system to get what they can to support their “sick” kid. My parents almost fell into that trap and took me to a shrink when i was a kid. Boy was that shrink dumb.

    5. as a computer scientist I can assure you that there are places where every person has Aspergers to some extent (I heard that MIT engineering had no non-Aspergers professors for some time)

    6. http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/autistic-brains-are-bigger/

    My tone is not unfounded – it comes from both being on the spectrum and having spent a lot of my life working with others on the spectrum and many years of study to try and understand myself (and why I was different).

    As for uncivil – take it or leave it – i do know that a lot of parents of ASD kids struggle with their own self-worth issues and construct elaborate defense mechanisms to deal with this. It’s very easy to prod negative reactions out of people in such cases.

    As a last I’ll tell you a little story.

    My cousin has a park named after him in Yass and so whenever I am passing through with time to spare I’ll stay the night at the caravan park there so i can go to the park and maybe some of his famous literary skills will rub off on me and make me a great poet (so far no luck).

    On a time i was making my dinner at the communal outdoor kitchen at the caravan park. I noticed this really strange young man (in his 20′s). I watched him for a while and realised he was like a super extreme version of me so i went and sat with him and we talked for a few hours about his hobby – traveling all over Australia collecting rocks. Bot did that kid know A LOT about rocks. He showed me what he had gathered on his current trip – boxes and boxes of rocks and he could tell me the whole history of every rock – from billions of years ago to the present. It was totally fascinating and I wanted to start collecting rocks again myself (i used to collect rocks when i was in my teens). Yeh he was really strange – to anyone who had no clue about his nature – but if you could get past that and get into him he was like awesome.

    The next morning I was back at the kitchen and there was a lady with her 5 year old child there. My Asperger’s friend turned up and watching her reaction was classic. She treated him like a snake or a funnel web. The look on her face was terrible – had i been the target of those looks and her behaviour and been “normal” I’m likely to have instantly become a “paranoid schizophrenic” (incidentally my brother was so diagnosed).

    I felt no animosity towards the woman. After all she was just being guided by her animal instincts and I’d seem the same reaction in countless mothers while raising the ASD boy mentioned above.

    It taught me a lesson though.

    The price we pay for having more IQ than you is terrible – we don’t have so much EQ – but I’m damned sure it is better to be oblivious to the nasty animal nature of people and not be able to “read their minds” than to have both high intelligence and high social awareness. Maybe that’s what makes schizophrenics eh?

    So yes i do take umbrage at you labeling me as having an intellectual disability.

    let’s see you worm your way out of that one teacher



  87. November 30th, 2011 at 07:57 | #87

    @Chris Warren



  88. KB Keynes
    November 30th, 2011 at 10:07 | #88

    My brother has it. My sister’s son has it.
    I know all about it.

    One aspect of Aspergers is that they keep on doing the same thing without ever changing.

    The comment is quite appropriate.

  89. November 30th, 2011 at 10:41 | #89

    @KB Keynes

    You know all about it?

    Yeh from the perspective of the poor person who has to put up with other people having it.

    That makes you an expert like living with an Astrophysicist makes you know all about dark matter theories.

    I sat next to a Nobel Prize winning scientist once on a 4 hour plane trip.

    I know all about particle physics now.

    And i was introduced to a Prime Minister once so i know all about how to run a country.

    I watched a doco about mountain climbing…

    I imagined what it might be like to be a brilliant poet….

    I had a thought once



  90. KB Keynes
    November 30th, 2011 at 10:58 | #90


    If you are livng with some-one for a while and you learn of their problem then usually you go to an expert and find out about the problem and how you can assist that person.

    One frequent complaint is thay they never want to learn. This comes from ‘normal ‘ people who often wonder why Aspies continue to behave as they do.

    You come to realise it is you that has to change not them.

    If you do not change then life almost becomes intolerable.

  91. November 30th, 2011 at 11:14 | #91

    @KB Keynes

    That’s Truth :-)

    For a laugh (kindof) consider what it must be like for an Asperger’s to be caring for a young Asperger’s who is further along the spectrum.

    If both want to do the same thing you have harmony (actually better than harmony).

    If not then the only solution is for the older less ASD to do what the younger ASD wants to do.

    That is an exercise in egolessness that takes more than skill – because you really have to want to give up self to other (else you find some way to fob off other on some institution of caregiver).

    If you experienced giving up self for long periods of happiness with your relatives then i do not need to commend you.

    You know yourself what you gained from it.

    Unfortunately very VERY many people with ASD children/siblings/husbands/etc never learn this and never experience that sudden bright light-going-off-in-the-head realisation that comes when you truly grok giving up self to the other.

    Of course there’s never going to be any other payback than this.



  92. may
    November 30th, 2011 at 12:28 | #92



    (i tried to remember how to spell the name,but it wasn’t worth the effort)

    and the salivating females?


  93. Australian Legend
    December 3rd, 2011 at 15:05 | #93

    Why are you anti gambling for ordinary people?
    Russell Ward made the point that it is linked for typical Australians to our egailtarianism, our independence, our hospitality, our hatred of officiousness and authority and of any appearance of affectation.

  94. John Quiggin
    December 4th, 2011 at 01:00 | #94

    @Australian Legend I’m not against gambling for ordinary people. But about half of all gambling expenditure comes from a small group of problem gamblers, who do immense damage to their lives and those around them. It is this group the legislation is trying to help. Of course, those who benefit from the money problem gamblers put through poker machines (or spend in casinos) don’t want the problem to be solved.

  95. Freelander
    December 4th, 2011 at 02:39 | #95

    A problem with poker machines (and this extends to the also carefully designed settings they are often found in) is that they have been designed to addict their users. Obviously not everyone succumbs to them but then the same is true of heroin, cocaine, nicotine or religion. For each of which some people manage to keep their use to recreational rather than habitual levels. And like those recreations, when for some other reason someone’s life is already bad, they are at their most vulnerable to succumbing.

  96. December 4th, 2011 at 04:04 | #96

    Freelander @ #45 said:

    A problem with poker machines (and this extends to the also carefully designed settings they are often found in) is that they have been designed to addict their users. Obviously not everyone succumbs to them but then the same is true of heroin, cocAaine, nicotine or religion.

    Not to mention other addictive substances, such as sugar and spice and all things nice. Its a wonder that little girls aren’t sticking up banks to feed their habit for these few of their favourite things.

    I am intrigued by Freelanders suggestion that Confucius, Jesus and Buddha should be put into the same boat as Colombian narco-traffickers. Obviously the fact that most religions preach against addictive substance abuse and for the virtues of free moral choice could not be admitted in evidence against his charge.

    Religion is not an addictive substance, or no more so than any club which encourages team work for the common good. Its an evolutionary adaptation which has usually enhanced the survival, sexual reproduction and social co-operation prospects of its adherents.

    Perhaps its days are numbered and liberal self-interest must now be relied on to get all good things done. (Not that narcissistic self-obsession could ever be addictive, of course.) I await with interest the outcome of this social experiment.

  97. Freelander
    December 4th, 2011 at 08:35 | #97

    But religion is dangerously addictive to susceptible weak minds. And what is worse, hardened addicts can turn more dangerous than anyone under the influence of any drug. Just look around you, read the newspapers, watch your TV, to see what a source of violence religion still is in the modern world. Confucius didn’t found or propound a religion. As for Buddha he did have a couple of meritorious ideas but his followers have plenty of propensity for religious instigated violence. As for the water walker if he ever existed was a pathetic mish mash of plagiarised mumbo jumbo. How many acts of genocide and other atrocities is he responsible for?

  98. Freelander
    December 4th, 2011 at 08:39 | #98

    The evolutionary success of religion derives from what they do to non-believers. They kill them.

  99. KB Keynes
    December 4th, 2011 at 11:20 | #99

    Problem gamblers are known to gamble with other people’s money as well

  100. December 4th, 2011 at 11:49 | #100

    @KB Keynes

    you’ve just described most of the human race

    or at least all of those with any access to other peoples’s money


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