According to a Fairfax report, Stephen Conroy has brokered a deal with the free-to-air TV industry about sports betting promotion.
Making an absurd distinction, the deal will ban betting companies from spruiking odds during televised games but not at half and quarter time breaks, or before and after games.
This extends the government's shameful record on this issue. In the 2010 post-election negotiations it won the support of Andrew Wilkie on the promise of pokies reform – but then failed to deliver anything substantial, under pressure from the gaming industry.
The rise of the online sports gambling industry has occurred primarily on Labor's watch, since 2008 when legal action by James Packer's Betfair allowed companies to advertise on TV nationally while basing themselves in the ACT and Northern Territory for legal reasons. Labor state governments in Vic and NSW chose not to defend the ruling at the time, and the companies have run rampant ever since. It is only now, aware of how much revenue they're missing out on, that the states have raised any objections about gambling (but not pokies, of course, which are still filling their coffers).
Australians already lose more gambling per capita than any other country in the world. This year alone has seen a 20% increase in spending on gambling advertising. Governments around the country are addicted to gambling, but it's society as a whole that pays the price.
"Under the proposal, commentators would be prohibited from promoting odds but Mr Waterhouse and other gambling representatives would be free to spruik odds before games, during half and quarter time breaks and at the final whistle... The NSW and Victorian governments have derided the code as too weak and Mr Conroy now faces a backbench revolt on the issue."
Also: Too Late Now, the Horse Has Bolted - Colin Kruger (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A day after opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne declared Mr O'Farrell had been "conned" into signing up to a bad deal by Julia Gillard, the NSW Premier confirmed he was sticking with his support of the federal government's Gonski reforms and suggested Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne would need to review their position should the Coalition win the federal election in September."
"Wong has accused the ultra-conservative Australian Christian Lobby of 'pedalling prejudice' and of engaging in 'bigotry that has no place in a modern Australia'. The sharp rebuke of an organisation actively courted by Julia Gillard followed its claim that Kevin Rudd risked creating another stolen generation by changing his mind to back same-sex marriage."
"Labor could be better to ask whether Abbott is more timid than bold, more timorous than decisive, more the salesman than the administrator, the wingman rather than the chairman, more the destroyer than the steersman, more the polariser rather than the conciliator, compromiser, or person who can somehow muddle through."
"State Liberals have launched a push ahead of the election to sell the public broadcasters, arguing the funds raised should be used to pay off government debt... The motion says the original arguments for public ownership and operation of the ABC and SBS are 'no longer valid in 2013', arguing both broadcasters 'aggressively compete' with private media outlets."