Prime Minister Anthony Albanese needs to sack Communications Minister Michelle Rowland for taking $19,000 from online betting company Sportsbet days before the 2022 May election when she was the shadow minister overseeing online betting.
Ms Rowland has also taken donations from gambling business Tabcorp since becoming the Minister overseeing online betting.
The reason Prime Minister Albanese has no choice but to sack Michelle Rowland is that she was asked a question in parliament about the conflict of interest, and she refused to answer the question. She ducked and weaved and that is not good enough.
Michelle Rowland received a $10,000 donation from Sportsbet and they also paid $8960 for a dinner to support Michelle Rowland’s election campaign.
The SMH broke the story on Thursday (9/2/23) and said:
The $10,000 donation was detailed by Sportsbet in its disclosure to the Australian Electoral Commission, but Labor’s NSW branch did not declare either payment because they were lower than the mandatory threshold for disclosure. (The threshold is $15,000)
Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, Greens Senate leader Larissa Waters and independents Zoe Daniel, Monique Ryan, Kate Chaney and Rebekha Sharkie all raised questions on Thursday about whether the payments created a conflict of interest.
Wilkie, who has spent much of his career lobbying against gambling firms, added that Rowland had accepted tickets from Tabcorp to the Melbourne Cup and a rugby match since becoming minister. “Until she explains herself, we cannot have confidence in her as minister. We can’t have her stay in her office a moment longer making decisions about … gambling companies as this cloud hangs over her,” Wilkie said in parliament.
Waters said in a statement it was untenable for Rowland to continue regulating some areas of gambling, which she does through her oversight of the Interactive Gambling Act and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Sportsbet and the online gambling peak body are lobbying Rowland on matters related to the act and the media authority. (Click here to read more)
The below video has federal Independent Zoe Daniel asking Michelle Rowland about the issue in parliament and Ms Rowland’s less-than-satisfactory response and other information.
As per the above video, there was a motion to force Communications Minister Michelle Rowland to answer the question about the conflict of interest which she avoided doing when originally asked by Zoe Daniel.
When the motion was voted on the coalition sided with the government to reject the motion and the question has to be asked, Why? The obvious answer is that the coalition, Liberal and National Parties, are on the hook of the gambling industry just as much as the Labor Party.
It’s worth remembering the article I published in December 2022 about Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Peter Dutton colluding to sucker punch the public on the National Anti-Corruption Commission which is a toothless tiger. (Click here to read the article) Now it’s obvious that Albanese and Dutton have also colluded to protect the gambling industry and/or protect dodgy donations to their political parties.
Communications Minister Michelle Rowland fails the stupidity test
Forget about the pub test, if Communications Minister Michelle Rowland is that stupid and that dumb that she didn’t realize there was a huge conflict of interest in taking donations from a company she would have responsibility for regulating then that alone says she is not fit to be a minister.
Federal West Australian independent Kate Chaney put out the below media statement which adds value to the discussion. I added the media statement because I wonder if the independents weren’t helping drive the issue how far it would get.
End of Kate Chaney’s media statement.
Will other media like News Corp and Seven West Media report the matter
I wonder how hard other media like News Corp and Seven West Media will drive this issue given they also rake in $millions every year from advertising by the gambling industry.
NSW gambling issue
Anyone following the NSW State election campaign which is on the 25th of March knows that Labor leader Chris Minns is in the pocket of the gambling industry.
Add Communications Minister Michelle Rowland to Chris Minns and there is a real perception that the gambling industry is well and truly entrenched in the Labor Party. Anthony Albanese’s continued support for Michelle Rowland only helps confirm that perception.
I think Michelle Rowland will resign as Communications Minister very soon because every day she is in the role the more damage it will do. Then again, maybe Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Labor will decide to use up a lot of political capital to defend Michelle Rowland which will ultimately be futile as you can’t defend the indefensible.
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Categories: Prime Minister Anthony Albanese