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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, commented on media reports that Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland received almost $19,000 from Sportsbet before last year’s federal election. At the time Minister Rowland was the Labor spokesperson and is now the Minister with authority over online gambling.

“Michelle Rowland reportedly made shocking errors of judgement when she accepted a number of big donations from Sportsbet before the most recent federal election,” Mr Wilkie said. “At the time she was the Labor spokesperson for communications with the very real prospect of becoming Minister for Communications if the ALP was to win the election. This would give her responsibility for the Interactive Gambling Act and the Australian Communications and Media Authority,so how on earth she thought it was okay to accept donations from an online gambling company is unfathomable.”

“If the media reports are accurate, Minister Rowland is now deeply conflicted and it is patently untenable for her to remain in her position. The Prime Minister must sack her today if he is fair dinkum about restoring integrity in politics, and direct the ALP to immediately return the donation to Sportsbet.

“Moreover the Parliament needs to support my Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Cleaning up Political Donations) Bill which I’ll be tabling in the Parliament next Monday. The Bill requires real-time disclosure, lowers the donation threshold to $1,000 aggregated, implements caps on donations and electoral expenditure and expands the definition of gift. Most notably, it will also prohibit political donations from particular industries, including gambling companies, as well as fossil-fuel entities, liquor companies and the tobacco industry.”