The founder of Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art, David Walsh, donates AU$250000 to the anti-pokies drive. He did this in the effort to de-bias the state election campaign which is believed to be swamped with money from pro-pokies. The David Walsh donation revealing was a result of the Hodgman Liberal Government. The government was faced with calls to reveal how much it received in contributions from the hospitality industry, specifically the Federal Group. The Federal Group is a family-owned business with exclusive pokies machine licenses in the state.
Reasons for the David Walsh Donation
Analysts have revealed that the election seems to be the most expensive Tasmania has ever seen. Spending on behalf of the Liberals for advertisement dwarfing of Labor and Greens, who support the removal of poker machines from clubs and pubs.
David Walsh accused the pro-pokies lobby of “trying to bias the gambling population” by spending big amounts of money on the campaign. In a blog on the Mona website, he further wrote: “That’s why I’m involved. I can live with pokies, provided that they are what the people want, so I’m spending money (but much less money that the pro-pokies people) to attempt to de-bias the election.”
Walsh further explained that opinions in democracy, unlike betting markets, should be weighted evenly. He acknowledged that his wealth came from gambling, but stated that he was lucky. He said that pokies seemed to be the only type of gambling that was addictive by design.
David Walsh revealed his donation because the government continues to withhold how much it received from the hospitality industry. After asking repeatedly whether voters deserved to know who was bankrolling the Liberal campaign, the premier, Will Hodgman finally said: “Yeah, and they will and it will be in accordance with the rules by which we are all bound.”
Tasmania on the David Walsh Donation
The Tasmanian state does not have campaign finance disclosure laws. Therefore, it is subject to federal legislation which requires annual publications of the total donations of any amount greater than AU$13,500. However, donations made during the 2018 financial year, is not required to be disclosed to the public until 2019.
Labor claims that the government and the hospitality industry supporters would have spent about AU$5million on advertising. If elected, Rebecca White, the ALP leader, promised legislation requiring public reporting of all donations. If the donations are above a threshold less than AU$2,000 within 14 days of the money being received. However, Labor says it will not release more than the existing law requirements unless it changes.