Tuesday, 16 September 2008

All the old dudes & dudettes who carry the news

Once upon a time I thought that experts were meant to be professionals who provided pure evidence untainted by bias. Having listened to three of them today give evidence on behalf of the applicant for the pokie license in Romsey, I'm not so sure anymore. They all thought that 30 pokies in the Romsey Hotel was a grand idea... same as the guy paying their fees.

No doubt over the next few days, I'll listen to the experts from the Macedon Ranges who will likely find that 30 pokies in Romsey is a terrible idea. I'm also sure that the judicial process will benefit by the competing factual scenarios being presented. Then the nine lawyers sitting at the bar table will argue about the size of the holes each of them have blown in the other's 'facts' and the process will be assisted again.

But I'm not so sure about three of those lawyers; the three that represent the Gaming Commission. Remember that it is their decision that is being appealed against at this hearing.

While the question they asked about disadvantaged Romsey people was a great one, (it was answered by Hogan's expert by her attacking the Shire's expert) the public is not well served by how little stuff is presented by the Commission. Especially when you believe that they possess the info on how much is spent on pokies at each pub or club and could put together an index showing which communities are more likely to produce pokie addicts and which one's are not.

It's not such a crazy idea that they could do a PokieWatch themselves and post online what they see inside each venue.

Justice Bell is doing a PokieWatch tomorrow morning at Wallan (one of Hogan's other pokie pubs) and Romsey itself. It's great that he's going to have an official look. All the lawyers get to go too. Consistently, the Commission isn't going.

Click here to have a look what I saw when I went to Wallan. I wrote to Mr. Hogan just after I posted the web page of what I saw. I asked him to correct anything that he thought was inaccurate. This included some observations comparing what he promised the Gambling Commission he was gunna do and the news on what he actually did.

No surprise that this was an old dude that I did not hear from.

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