By Clyde Mooney

Even as headlines around the country herald a cunning escape by the Gillard Government, Wilkie insists his floundering campaign is not ‘dead in the water’.

After closed door meetings this week with Prime Minister Julie Gillard, Independent senator Nick Xenophon, and West Australian National Tony Crook, the Independent MP from Tasmania haplessly announced his acceptance of a big shift of the goal posts.

Describing her talks with Mr Wilkie as “productive”, the PM appears to have quietly pointed out that she no longer needs his support.

The Gillard Government slipped into a majority position in November when Liberal MP Peter Slipper defected to become speaker.

The Australian yesterday broke the news that Federal cabinet is considering a trial of MPC in the ACT, which would effectively push any chance of a large-scale introduction until beyond the next election.

After meeting Wilkie yesterday, Crook said that he had not yet made up his mind, but would consider discussing in conjunction with the argument that poker machines are responsible for his state collecting a smaller piece of the national GST pie.

"Why is it okay to include mining royalties in the GST calculation, but not the gaming revenue? It's a clear anomaly," said Crook.

Wilkie announced to the press that although no deal was done, but he would be happy to help champion the WA National’s GST grievances.

Tasmanian Labour Premier, Bryan Green, accused the member for Denison of selling out by supporting Crook’s GST argument.

Speaking to TheShout, Crook echoed the sentiment of an increasing number of national politicians that are unconvinced of the efficacy of the proposed reforms.

"Problem gambling, particularly in relation to pokies, is having a devastating effect on individuals, families, society and our economy. Problem gambling has cost people their jobs, marriages, and in some extreme cases, their lives. I support moves to address problem gambling, and I agree that the gambling sector needs reform.

"That said, I have concerns around how this reform may have an impact on WA’s unique gambling environment."

The Shout Team

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

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