Sunday, 26 April 2009

The Salvos, Gambling and Woolworths

The Salvation Army performs important work around Australia in treating problem gamblers. They publish an easy to read positional statement on gambling.
"Gambling is seeking gain at the expense of others, solely on the basis of chance. The Salvation Army is acutely aware of the suffering and deprivation experienced by many people as the result of this practice. Our social welfare experience, indicates that many of those who gamble tend to disregard their primary responsibilities, and not infrequently bring embarrassment and hurt to those dependent on them. The inherent evil in gambling tends to make the financial arrangements of a person or a community dependent on chance rather than upon a reward for labour.

Since gambling is motivated by selfishness, it runs counter to the Christian expression of love, respect and concern for others. Often it begins in an apparently harmless way, but its continued practice may lead to dependency that undermines the personality and character of the gambler.

Official sanction and public acceptance of this practice is, in the opinion of The Salvation Army, contrary to the Christian principles to which we subscribe.

The Salvation Army requires its soldiers to abstain from gambling. It follows therefore that The Salvation Army does not find it acceptable for a soldier to have a proprietary interest in the gambling industry. "
Click here to read all of their positional statements.

It is with great disappointment that I have been alerted to breachs of their own position statement about gambling.

The web site of the Governor General of Australia details the accomplishments of distinguished Australians who have been admitted as an Officer of the Order of Australia. Amongst those people are Roger Corbett. Click here to read that document and scroll down to page 13. On that page you will read that Mr Corbett was "Chief Executive Officer, Woolworths Ltd, 1999-2006; remains as a consultant to the Board." and "Chairman, Salvation Army Advisory Board, since 2007".

Mr Corbett was Woolworths' CEO when they entered the pokie business. According to the Just Food web site Mr Corbett will remain a consultant to the pokie giant until 2011. Does Mr Corbett's consultancy amount to a "proprietary interest".

I think so. The Salvos need him to resign.

But it gets worse. An anonymous post on PokieWatch.org drew attention to a Sydney based event called Carols in the Domain. This is a Woolworths event where $100,000 was donated to the Salvation Army's OASIS Youth Support Network. This web page discloses another Woolworths donation to the Salvos.

No question is being raised here about how the Salvos spend the money. The question is whether the Salvos should be taking money from the Pokies People - Woolworths.

The whole matter is brought into focus by considering the forthcoming Gambling Awareness Week. One of the key participants in this campaign is the Salvation Army. One of the slogans they endorse begins with the words "Gamble for the fun of it..."

Time for the Salvation Army to read their own positional statement again.

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