An Upper House parliamentary inquiry into alledged corruption by the State Government and by consulting firm Hawker Britton has returned an open finding although it asserted that the refusal of former premier Bracks to give evidence hindered its investigation. Former Labor minister David White was offered a $350,000 success fee in acting for Tattersall’s and the firm of which he was director (yes, Hawker Britton*) received access to confidential information in relation to the lottery license tender process before its public release. Bracks denied ever speaking to Tattersals regarding licences though the committee of inquiry concluded he probably did. There are many unresolved issues – Bracks seemed to have a non-incidental role:
‘...the committee also heard from former Tattersall's trustee Peter Kerr, who said Mr White's subsequent report of the Lorne meeting with Mr Bracks was the 'blockbuster' development that led Tatts to float on the share market’
The Greek company Intralot has got that share of the lotteries market that Tattersals lost. Intralot spokesperson Tony Sheehan is a former Labor Treasurer in Victoria. Some wicked gossip has suggested Intralot does not always walk the straight and narrow.
As many have pointed out there are numerous Labor Party hacks and ex pollies involved in advising the $2.5 billion gambling industry in Victoria.
A week ago the current Labor Premier John Brumby announced that both Tabcorp and Tattersalls were no longer to be the duopolies controlling most of Victoria’s pokie industry. I praised the decision but my guess is that the background to this decision would make a great blog post.
I have respect for John Brumby's integrity. As a speculation – I have no firm evidence for it – I wonder whether the machinations in the gambling industry over recent weeks represent an attempt by Brumby to extricate the Labor Party from a scandalous history in relation to gambling in this state.
If readers had information I would be interested in hearing about it. Either through the comments thread or by email to me directly.
Of course these issues have been ignored by leftwing blogs. They are still preoccupied with the AWB 'scandal' and 'children overboard' incidents and, as any honourable lefty will tell you, allegations of corruption are only ever a problem when they occur on the conservative side of politics.
* White is still listed as a staff member. Its MD is a former Carr staffer.