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Pages tagged "mark brown"
Tas pokie inquiry opens way to reform
· March 21, 2016 11:00 AM
17 March 2016
The Australian Christian Lobby welcomes the announcement today that a joint select parliamentary committee will be formed to consider the future of Tasmania’s gaming industry.
ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said he was pleased with Treasurer Peter Gutwein’s statement today that he wanted a transparent public consultation process, with a report to be ready by the end of the year.
The announcement follows a special screening of the documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation that was hosted Wednesday night by the ACL in the Tasmanian Parliament House.
“At the screening politicians were reminded again of the bad effects gambling has on our community, so it is good to see the Government respond today so positively,” Mr Brown said.
“The Australian Christian Lobby believes any review should consider ways to reduce the addictive nature of gaming machines as well as reduce the number of machines.
“Approximately 27,000 Tasmanians are directly or indirectly affected by pokie addiction, including an estimated 2,000 children.”
Mr Brown made the comments following last night’s special ACL screening of the documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation at Parliament House in Hobart, which was attended by a range of politicians.
“Deliberately inducing addictive behaviour with the aim of extracting large amounts of money from vulnerable people is morally abhorrent,” Mr Brown said.
“Every Tasmanian, and especially every politician needs to see this film’s powerful message.”
Leading gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone from Monash University, who appeared in the documentary and spoke at the screening, said pokies were highly addictive.
“Pokies are a dangerous and addictive product, and need to be regulated as such,” Dr Livingstone said.
“Tasmanians support major reform of pokie regulation and the Government needs to stand up to the pokie monopoly and listen to the community.
“Pokies are a box of tricks, intended to addict, and pokie profits are fuelled by addiction.
“it was great to see Tasmanian politicians engaged at the screening in discussion about pokie harm - now they need to act.”
View the Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation trailer
Tassie has rare chance to lead nation in busting pokies habit
· March 07, 2016 11:00 AM
DEAR Mr Gutwein [Tasmanian Treasurer],
I applaud your intention to have an “open and transparent” discussion about poker machine licencing in Tasmania. I was especially glad to see you have included the important topic of harm minimisation as a key focus.
I am buoyed because I believe you have an unprecedented opportunity to effect real lasting change in the lives of thousands of Tasmanians.
With a GST windfall meaning that state debt can be paid off earlier than previously anticipated, a low Australian dollar helping exporters and a more robust economy, the state is positioned to once and for all wean itself off pokie tax revenue.
With the Liberals likely to win another term in power you can, free from political cycle pressures, prepare for such a reform right up to the 2023 relicensing date. This could usher in a new era in government attitudes to gambling, where protection of vulnerable Tasmanians is put ahead of profits and the bottom line.
This opportunity may not come again. I encourage you to reflect on the many lives that could be impacted for good and to seize the day.
Pokies continue to wreak havoc in Tasmania’s neediest communities. I am sure you find it abhorrent as
I do that poker machines are deliberately concentrated in our poorest regions.
They suck up to $2 million a month from our most disadvantaged suburbs — money that should have been spent on clothing, groceries and birthday presents.
Pokies cause the highest losses of all forms of gambling and nearly half of their takings come from problem or moderate risk gamblers.
The machines are programmed to ensure that the gambler loses and to deliberately entice gamblers to continue playing.
Australian pokies are the most voracious in the world with respect to the rate at which they strip money from gamblers.
The recent ABC documentary Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation uncovered the methods pokie designers use. Alluring graphics, sounds, lights and music are engineered to exploit how the brain works by triggering chemicals (like dopamine) at similar levels to those exhibited in the brains of those with severe drug addiction.
No wonder they have been called the electronic morphine and crack cocaine of gambling.
You may be aware that gambling disorder is found alongside cocaine and heroin in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
In conjunction with the makers of the documentary, I am planning a special public screening of Ka-Ching! Pokie Nation in parliament this month. We will have an expert panel to answer questions afterwards. I hope you are able to be involved.
One only needs to look at the wreckage meted out to families of pokie addicts and the community-at-large to agree that the comparison with hard drugs is not far off the mark. These include broken families, deprived children and, in extreme cases, suicide. And the community (usually via the government) must pick up the costs of providing for the victims as well as costs due to lost productivity, bankruptcy, fraud and the prosecution and incarceration of offenders.
Studies show that for every person with a gambling problem, another five to 10 people are affected, meaning about 27,000 Tasmanians are bearing the brunt. This number includes an estimated 2000 children.
Something has to be done. I hope that you can rise to champion their cause.
Pokie harms could be significantly averted with a few simple policy changes.
People have been talking for years about mandatory $1 bet limits and the huge difference they would make for problem gamblers.
New community alliances, national and local, are pushing for these kinds of reforms. Why can’t Tassie lead the way? Of course, there will be the expected opposition, but surely we have a moral obligation to help the most vulnerable.
The experience from Victoria in 2008 can offer us hope. The Victorian government of the day dropped bet limits significantly in a very short period and with minimal contention.
Mr Gutwein, I pray that you will have the courage and wisdom necessary to see the opportunity before you.
I ask that you seize the day and ensure a brighter future for the many desperate Tasmanians affected by pokie addiction.
By ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown. Published in the Tasmanian Mercury 7 March 2016.
Over 500 turn out in support for marriage, Hobart
· August 11, 2015 10:00 AM
Thursday evening over 500 Christians gathered in Hobart to show their support for marriage. The event was organised by a group of local churches and Christian groups, including ACL.
Attendees were treated to some rousing worship and a smorgasbord of quality speakers – all of whom were chosen because of their valiant stand for marriage. The Archbishop of Hobart compered the evening shedding valuable insights on the unique importance of marriage to society “While we respect those who experience same-sex attraction and understand their desire for some form of human union, marriage by definition is between a man and a woman. This is how humanity has understood the nature of marriage for millennia.”
Senator Eric Abetz skillfully challenged the inevitability rhetoric of those who support same-sex marriage by pointing to, among other ‘givens’, including the apparent certainly surrounding the push for an Australian republic. Senator Abetz reminded the audience that redefining marriage will only be inevitable if we believe it to be and do nothing.
Newspaper columnist, blogger and author Mrs Claire van Ryn gave a very personal and honest message about how we should engage with the issue of same-sex marriage ‘to reflect Jesus by speaking our convictions in love’. Listeners were challenged that to not engage in the debate for marriage is to not love.
Queensland GP and President of the Australian Marriage Forum Dr David van Gend, gave a passionate speech and said all relationships matter, but not all relationships are marriage.“Only the primal bond of male and female is given by nature, honoured by culture and empowered to nurture new life. We must keep marriage between man and woman, so every child has their chance of a mum and dad. Same-sex couples are free to live as they choose, but they are not free to redefine marriage for all of us.”
A number of church leaders concluded the event with prayer for marriage and for our nation. As a result of the night the Church in Hobart (and beyond) was emboldened and unified in its resolve to stand firm for the timeless truth and vital importance of marriage for our society.
MR: Tasmanians reject Greens-Labor social agenda
· March 15, 2014 11:00 AM
For release: Saturday March 15, 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has congratulated the Liberal Party on its resounding win in the Tasmanian election and looks forward to working constructively with the new government.
ACL Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said the enormous amount of time the State Parliament spent debating contentious social issues such as same-sex marriage (twice), abortion and euthanasia had proven unattractive to mainstream voters.
Mr Brown said Christian voters had also been disappointed with the lack of engagement by Labor during the election campaign.
Premier-elect Will Hodgman and a large number of his candidates had participated in ACL election activities.
Mr Hodgman had participated in an election interview where he committed to amend anti-discrimination laws to provide a general exemption to Christian schools when it comes to enrolling students and hiring staff.
“This was a welcome announcement which means Christian schools will be able to enrol students and employ staff who share the ethos and values of the school without being in breach of anti-discrimination laws,” he said.
Mr Brown said the ALP’s lack of engagement with the Christian community may well have contributed to its election loss.
“Only one sitting Labor MP participated in the five Meet Your Candidate Forums conducted by the lobby throughout the state. This was in comparison with seven sitting Liberal MPs and three sitting Greens MPs who attended,” he said.
“The ALP’s poor result should make for some serious soul searching regarding the future direction of the party. Many Tasmanian Christian Labor voters were disappointed with the party’s lack of engagement with the constituency,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said it was time for Labor to move back to the political centre to ensure its appeal to mainstream Tasmanians.
The disproportionate amount of time spent working with the Greens on a radical social reform agenda at the expense of front and centre issues like jobs and the economy has contributed significantly to tonight’s result. This sentiment was confirmed by former ALP Premier Paul Lennon who on last night’s ABC 7.30 Report stated “it was the preoccupation with the social issues in Parliament rather than the basic issues of health and education and job development”.
Mr Brown said Labor had much to commend to Christian voters and he hoped it would not give up on this constituency as it sought to rebuild.
“Labor has proud historical roots in Christianity amongst Irish Catholic workers and Protestant Methodists who were at the forefront of the creation of the trade union movement. The ALP in its rebuilding process should not ignore these important foundations and ensure its appeal encompasses the large Tasmanian Christian constituency,” he said.
ACL Candidate Forums prove popular
· March 11, 2014 11:00 AM
Over the past two weeks ACL has run its trademark Meet Your Candidate Forums in each of the five Tasmanian electorates ahead of this Saturday’s state election.
There was a good turnout of both candidates and constituents averaging 10 candidates per forum and over 70 in the audience listening and asking questions of those seeking to be elected.
Sadly there was a noticeable absence of attendance from current sitting ALP members with only one Labor MP fronting the forums. In contrast both the Liberals and Greens had a strong showing at the events.
Questions put to the candidates were wide-ranging but generally reflected the general concerns in the community – the economy, jobs and education.
Out of all the major social issues that have characterised the last four years, abortion was the one that came up most often regarding recent changes to Tasmania’s abortion laws. Questions specifically targeted candidates’ views on doctors’ freedom of conscience and freedom of speech (right to protest near abortion clinics).
Feedback from both candidates and constituents was positive with all forums highlighting clear distinctions in the candidates but at the same time maintaining respect for the varying views from across the spectrum of those seeking people’s votes.
In the media - a wrap up of the last week's commentary
· March 06, 2014 11:00 AM
In the last week, the ACL has been quoted in the media on the upcoming Tasmanian state election and the Meet Your Candidate Forum in the electorate of Bass. See below for links to mentions in the media.
ACL's Tasmanian Director Mark Brown was interviewed by Neil Johnson from UCB News:
UCB News -
Tasmanian Election ACL preview, Mark Brown, 5 March 2014
On the Bass Meet Your Candidate Forum in Tasmania, please see below image of article in The Examiner:
ACL interviews Tas Liberal leader Will Hodgman
· February 25, 2014 11:00 AM
In this lead up to the Tasmanian election on the 15th of March, the ACL's Tasmanian Director Mark Brown interviewed Liberal Leader Will Hodgman on a range of issues. Mark Brown invited Labor Premier Lara Giddings to do an interview but declined. Her office has said she would provide a written response to the questions. This is a 10 minute excerpt of the interview Mr Brown did with Mr Hodgman. The full interview can be found on www.tasvotes.org.au
MR: ACL releases interview with Tas Liberal Leader Will Hodgman
· February 24, 2014 11:00 AM
Monday, 24th February 2014
ACL has released an exclusive video interview with Tasmanian Liberal Leader Will Hodgman about his position on issues of concern to Christians in the lead up to the state election.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown said Labor Premier Lara Giddings declined the opportunity to be interviewed but has said she would supply a written response to the questions.
Mr Brown said the 20 minute interview is available to watch on
“Mr Hodgman gives his position on a number of issues including unemployment, education, abortion, marriage, anti-discrimination, gambling, sexualisation of society and health,” he said.
If elected in March, Mr Hodgman gave an undertaking to amend anti-discrimination legislation to allow for a general exemption so faith-based schools would have the freedom to select staff and students who shared their ethos.
“On the issue of abortion, Mr Hodgman has indicated his concern at the legislation passed late last year which infringed on a doctor’s right to freedom of conscience,” Mr Brown said.
Mr Brown said ACL was providing opportunities for Christians to make an informed vote this election with its
Strong Economy, Strong Communities Breakfast
event tomorrow and
Meet Your Candidate Forums
being held around the state over the next two weeks.
“Tomorrow’s business breakfast will discuss the importance of a strong Tasmanian economy to strong Tasmanian families and communities with economist Professor Ian Harper, local innovator and business strategist Professor Jonathan West, and Mission Australia’s Noel Mundy,” he said.
“The five Meet Your Candidate Forums provide an opportunity for people to meet their local candidates and understand the values and ideas that they’ll bring to the job if elected,” he said.
The website also has a conscience vote history table of current sitting MPs showing how they voted on issues including surrogacy, marriage, adoption, abortion and euthanasia legislation in the past three years.
Mr Brown said the majority of Tasmanians identify themselves as being of the Christian faith.
“Elections are a good time for Christians to positively influence society through electing people of good character who share their desire to see a more moral, just and compassionate society,” he said.
Mr Hodgman’s interview and other election resources are available at
ACL's Tas Director talks about changes to abortion law on the Political Spot
· November 26, 2013 11:00 AM
Mark Brown is the Tasmanian Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. In this interview with the ACL's Katherine Spackman he talks about changes to abortion law that were passed last week in the upper house.
MR: Defeat of same-sex marriage motion in Tas signals time to move on
· October 29, 2013 11:00 AM
For release: Tuesday 29th October 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has welcomed the defeat of a same-sex marriage motion in the Tasmanian Upper House this evening.
ACL’s Tasmanian Director Mark Brown says today’s decision by Legislative Council Members (MLCs) not to reconsider proposed same-sex marriage laws should send a clear message that it’s time to move on from this tiresome debate.
“This legislation was defeated in the parliament only last year. This debate has become wearisome. It is a low order priority for the majority of Australians and it is time to move on. There is no discrimination in Tasmanian law against same-sex couples – there is no need to redefine marriage.
“In the past 12 months same-sex marriage bills have been defeated in the federal House of Representatives, the Senate, the Tasmanian Parliament, and the South Australian Parliament. This was just another attempt to pass legislation by fatigue.
“Australia should have one law for marriage and it should be determined by the Federal Parliament. We only need look at recent events in the ACT to know that Tasmanian same-sex legislation would likely be challenged in the High Court if it were passed.
“It is not in Australia’s best interests to have a hodgepodge of marriage laws,” he said.
Mr Brown also said the failure of today’s motion was a win for families and the rights of children.
“Marriage between a man and a woman provides a natural, timeless and sustainable foundation for our society. It serves as the best, most stable environment where society can nurture and protect its next generation.
“Every child owes their existence to a mum and a dad and same-sex marriage would deny children the right to know their biological heritage,” he said.
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