Sunday, 7 December 2008

Presents not Pokies

Tomorrow I will join World Vision CEO, Rev Tim Costello and Senator Nick Xenophon in the Bourke Street Mall to launch the Presents Not Pokies campaign.

Presents Not Pokies is intended to direct people away from spending on pokie gambling the family assistance payments and other windfalls due to the drop in interest rates and petrol prices. As a sponsor of Presents Not Pokies, I have some thoughts in mind and Reverend Tim put it well:
"Children learn what they live."
The presents I bought for us to give away are 100 money boxes. This might be considered a strange gift encouraging saving rather than spending. My son and his mate helped me Presents Not Pokies stickers on each of them. Here's what they look like, stacked up and ready to be given away:
In the last few weeks, I have tried, as best I can, to put the point to senior executives at Woolworths to Make Pokie Places Kid Free. There is, of course, another way for this goal to be achieved; parents make the choice not to take their children to a pokie pub to eat, play or watch a free movie.

Likewise what we do with the government's assistance payments is a matter of choice and what parents do with that money will teach a lesson to the children under our care. The point about the money boxes is to make people think about their choices. Nearly all the publicity I've read focuses on spending. It might be considered a 'downer' but what about saving?

The money boxes I bought also reminded me of tins some people use to beg for money and where these people end up spending thier money on. Shelter? Food? Drugs? Pokies?

Senator Xenophon put it well when he said:
"Christmas is the season of good will. It's not the season for turning up at Goodwill for a free lunch because you've lost your Christmas bonus on the poker machines."
Christmas is the season for goodwill and thinking about our families and freinds. What is better than a meal at lovely restaurant where all are gathered around the table? Even better, buy something really special to share at home. Something where everyone shares the experience. Those are positive choices. It is these experiences we have with others close to us that we end up valuing the most.

Not sitting in some dimly lit room, by yourself, at a pokie and pressing a button,

hoping to break even.

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