By Andrew Starke

ClubsAustralia has denied it is conducting a smear campaign against Andrew Wilkie as the debate over the introduction of mandatory pre-commitment gaming technology today (April 13) grew increasingly heated.

The Independent Member for Denison said he refused to be intimidated by threats against his person or attempts to call his character into question.

“In the past two days, I’ve received a death threat, been threatened with the existence of compromising photos and am having my past as a Cadet at Duntroon nearly 30 years ago trawled over,” Wilkie said.

“Two days ago the pokies industry commenced its campaign against my reforms to reduce problem gambling, including a $20m public disinformation campaign.

“That some in the industry would stoop to a smear campaign against me is unsurprising.

“It says a lot more about the pokies industry than it does about Andrew Wilkie.”

However, a statement from ClubsAustralia said it was ‘shocked and offended by claims made by Andrew Wilkie of a supposed industry generated smear campaign involving his time as a cadet at Duntroon’.

“This allegation is absolutely without basis and should be immediately withdrawn or passed to police for further investigation,” it continued.

“ClubsAustralia believes it is disgraceful for Andrew Wilkie to make this claim and point the finger at clubs and the hotel industry on the basis that they are opposed to his proposed mandatory pre-commitment technology.”

Executive Director of ClubsAustralia, Anthony Ball, said suggestions of death threats and a smear campaign should be investigated by police.

“Andrew Wilkie needs to explain what evidence he has to base his allegations on. I would have thought such serious allegations would have been referred to the police, not communicated to the public by a bizarre media release,” he said.

“Clubs will not be distracted by this disgraceful claim. We have certainly been involved in a robust debate about his proposed poker machine reforms but that’s where it ends.

“Clubs have no interest in anything Mr Wilkie did during his military career. Our concern is solely with what he is attempting to do now to recreational gamblers and clubs and pubs.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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