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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, says Labor’s decision to embrace the poker machine industry in Tasmania is a spineless betrayal of the community.

“Poker machines in the suburbs significantly increase the rate of gambling addiction, and it beggars belief that the ALP not only thinks that’s OK but that it’s also acceptable to work with the predatory poker machine industry as a partner,” Mr Wilkie said.

“It’s fortunate this extraordinary MoU with the hospitality lobby was not revealed today or it might have been mistaken for an April Fools’ Day joke. It’s laughable. No wonder many members of the community call them the LibLabs.

“How can Tasmanian voters possibly decide between either of the major parties when both appear to be in lockstep on a range of issues, from anti-protest laws through to poker machines?

“State Labor has clearly become so desperate to gain some traction it’s forgotten how hard the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and the Federal Group campaigned against the party in 2018.

“How can Labor stand up and say they are proud of an agreement that is so diametrically opposed to their previous push to ban poker machines? And, what’s more, they only released it when it was leaked by the media. Labor has even promised to appoint a Hospitality Minister to strike cosy deals in the event the party can get across the line on May 1.

“Unfortunately we have in this state – and we’ve had it for a long time – a conga line of politicians who are beholden to the poker machine industry. The major parties cannot be trusted to put the public interest before their own. Money talks.

“In my book this is legalised corruption, plain and simple. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (with taxpayers’ money, of course).”