Wednesday, 23 September 2009


How hard is it to run a campaign to get 100 signatures? It's very hard.

While no stranger to rejection, no one wanted to take the money to run the same ad that had such a positive effect in Perth. Remember, the ad went through the Post Newspaper's legal advice and was modified.

For Sydney, I submitted it to two mobile billboard companies. One rejected it out of hand. The other took a few days. I even asked for them to tell me what words they would accept and we could work on the rest. Their response was that I needed to obtain Woolworths' approval for the ad before they would publish it. Hardly likely.

Even an old mate called me to tell me that I was not to use his firm's name in trying to establish my bona fides in running this campaign.

A Sydney based newspaper (Manly Daily) did agree to run a straightforward ad reproducing the 249P notice. They sought some modifications, all of which were acceptable.

Another thought I had was to hire a choir to sing the Whitlam's song Blow Up The Pokies at a prominent Woolworths related location. I called up 5 different potential sources of a choir.

The first suggested the Sydney Harmony. Seemed a good idea until I checked out their web site and found they were supported by North Sydney Leagues Club. Even though I could find no mention of the Sydney Harmony on the Norths' own web site, this was probably a lost cause.

Two other contacts simply failed to return calls or emails.

I approached the Sydney Welsh Men's Choir. Imagine the impact of those wonderful voices. Here's their response:
"Dear Paul,

The committee discussed your proposal at tonight's meeting. We are all impressed with the aims of your group, and with the Rev Tim Costello's words, but we have misgivings about the song. Our Music Director likes the song as sung by the Whitlams but does not think it would suit our choir, while the committee as a whole are worried about any song with such a title. As a result, we feel we cannot proceed with the recording.

I am sorry we could not be of greater assistance.

Kind regards,

Clive Woosnam"
I did point out to Clive that the Sydney Symphony Orchestra was backing the Whitlams at their concert at the Sydney Opera House. This had no effect.

A great choice would have been the Honeybees, a non-profit community choir that encourages a cappella singing. Their own web site promoted "We choose to perform - either paid or unpaid - at gigs which have meaning to us and which can signal support for an issue, a cause, or a service." Here's their response;
"Hi Paul

Unfortunately we will need to decline the proposed performance as the choir as a whole are unwilling to commit to it, despite most members supporting the anti-pokie message.

Thanks and best wishes with you endeavours


Honeybees Choir"
Pokie gambling is the cause of harm, in the words of the Productivity Commission, to "hundreds of thousands of Australians, with many more who are directly affected by their problems or are at risk". It is disappointing that so many people are unwilling to get involved in helping their fellow Australians.

If you are a Woolworths shareholder you can help just by signing and mailing a simple form. To do this, go to and follow the instructions. If you know anyone with Woolworths shares, please ask them to log on to

If you can help, this small action will have a huge effect in drawing the line on harm caused by pokie gambling. Even if you don't have Woolworths shares, it will help by just talking to friends about how pokie venues need to do much so much more to reduce the harm of pokie gambling.

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