Home > Australian politics > Clubs Australia claims another victim

Clubs Australia claims another victim

…this time it’s Father Chris Reilly’s credibility.

I happened to catch an interview this morning on Sunrise where Father Chris Reilly got stuck into Nick Xenophon, Tim Costello, Andrew Wilkie and the Government for pursuing the pokie pre-commitment strategy, claiming instead that child abuse was a far bigger problem.

Now I have no beef with saying that child abuse is a serious issue, but to categorically state that trying to help problem gamblers was a waste of resources just beggars the imagination.

Surely Reilly can see that the knock effects of pokie addiction impact on more that just the addict…some studies state a figure of 7 other people affected by each problem gambler.  Knowing the impact it does have on families I can fully understand this.

It certainly doesn’t explain why Reilly went off on his rant, covering the gamut of talking point like individual politicians holding the Government to ransom, minority government not working, he doesn’t understand minority government etc.

It did come out that Clubs Australia donated $100K to his cause, which isn’t a bad thing but certainly makes him look like he’s supporting their point of view.

It’s just sad that Chris Reilly jumping in to something it doesn’t look like he really understands fully (and this became apparent the longer the interview went on) has ended up tarnishing his reputation.  Hopefully it won’t end up affecting all of the good works he does for Australia’s youth.

  1. December 8, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    So far Clubs Australia haven’t been able to get anyone with any actual knowledge about poker machine addiction to support their stance. What is it with people in this country dismissing evidence and research (Productivity Commission) and going with their “vibe” instead? So many people think that pokie players will just go and engage in other forms of gambling, which completely misses the point that their addiction is to pokies and not necessarily gambling per se, though the two are related.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Reilly a favourite of the Sydney shock jocks? Not surprising then that he would come out in opposition to the government.

    • December 9, 2011 at 8:48 AM

      I’m not a Sydney-ite so I don’t know if he’s a Jones favourite, but the furphy about switching to other forms of gambling gets me every time.
      It’s not that hard to see that pokies are the highest turnover and least contemplative form of gambling…and they are designed that way specifically.
      No pokie addict is going to substitute the instant rush of pissing away $100 in 20 minutes for a flutter on the ponies that requires them to pick a horse, pick a type of bet, then wait 5-10 minutes for a result.

      • Min
        December 9, 2011 at 1:40 PM

        MS, you are spot on. It’s the adrenaline rush which provides the ‘high’ which only the poker machines provide. And poker machines are designed for exactly this sort of simulation, the music, the bright flashy lights. There was one a while back where they had designed machines with head phones so that players could block the world out entirely. Scary stuff!

  2. Catching up
    December 8, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    I have nothing but the utmost respect for Father Reilly. I

    I owe him for my son’s ability to get to adulthood a decent man.

    I admire the work he does and the fact that he takes on what all others have given up on.

    I love his can do attitude.

    Father, when it comes to the poker industry, you are wrong.

    I can understand that you have no love for Labor. That is understandable when one looks at the way they have treated you over the last couple of decades, but I thought you would be above revenge.

    Father please rethink the position you have taken.

    Yes, gambling in general needs to be addressed, but it is poker machines that cause the most damage.

    No one in the community is proposing that they be got rid of. They are only suggesting they be pulled back a little.

    There have been years of programmes and schemes to get help to the addicts. It has had little effect when it comes to the poker machine.

    I assume those schemes will continue.

  3. jane
    December 8, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    MS, I couldn’t understand why Fr Reilly would be criticising the government’s proposed pokie legislation until your penultimate paragraph. Looks like a bribe has been offered and accepted by the good Fr Reilly-he gets $100K if he badmouths any attempt to put the brakes on pokie addicts.

    He has to know that the consequences of pokie addiction can be tantamount to child abuse. When the addict loses everything and his/her children are on the street, homeless and in penury, doesn’t that count as child abuse?

    He must have seen instances of the end result of a pokie addiction in his work and it’s sad to think that he can be so easily bought.

    If he’s joining Clubs Australia to score points against the government, he’s chosen a very poor way to do so and it points more to his desire for revenge than fighting for the welfare of children.

    It makes a mockery of the clubs all crying poormouth, though. They can obviously afford the big bucks for bribes to community leaders.

    Also, as Chris pointed out above, the addiction is to the pokies, not to gambling, so the idea that these addicts will just take up another form of gambling is nonsense.

  4. Min
    December 9, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    i was very pleased to see the ever-logical Tim Costello come out and stating as per Catching up, whilst having the utmost respect for Father Reilly that in this case he is wrong.

    Father Reilly’s opinion is that more money should be put into counselling services. A problem is that many people with a gambling addiction will not admit to the fact that they have ‘a problem’, the problem is the machine’s, the problem is their partner’s, the problem is everyone’s except their own. In this way a gambling addiction is exactly the same as any other addiction.

    Counselling has been available for years such as the Gambling Hotline, it’s success in stopping gambling addiction has been minimal because they are treating the addiction only when it becomes a serious problem. Surely the strategy should be to help stop the addiction from occuring in the first place.

    As Andrew Wilkie stated (paraphrased) that having counselling as the only strategy is akin to having ambulances at the bottom of a cliff instead of erecting a fence at the top.

  5. jane
    December 9, 2011 at 12:04 PM

    Min, Andre2 Wilkie has nailed it, but is unfortunately being demonised by the likes of Clubs Australia and the opportunistic and morally bankrupt Liealot.

    His obsession with espousing and adopting the negative and opposite attitude to any government policy initiatives is not only stupid but confirms that he really doesn’t care about good policy or bipartisanship on social issues.

  6. Pip
    December 9, 2011 at 4:29 PM


    “Mummy, can’t Daddy buy you a poker machine?”
    Jenny Macklin

    Friday 9 December 2011

    Gabriela Byrne is a community worker, a wife and a mother to two wonderful children.

    I met Gabriela yesterday, when she spoke at a community forum about what she used to be – a woman addicted to gambling on poker machines.

    Gabriela went from being a successful professional, loving mother and devoted friend to a shadow of herself – someone whose young daughter caught her stealing money out of her piggy bank.

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