By James Atkinson

The Australian Hotels Association NSW (AHA NSW) will do everything in its power to bring down the Gillard Government if its MPs continue to support mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines, warns president Scott Leach.

Leach this week intensified NSW pubs' campaign against the mandatory pre-commitment policy, telling politicians to "think carefully during the Christmas recess about their legislative agenda for next year".

"Let the word go forth that the AHA will pursue any or all politicians actively supporting [Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew] Wilkie until the next election," he said, in his speech at the association's annual awards dinner.

"We will do so with relish and vigour… exposing you as candidates that voted for your job at the expense of ours."

"We will prove in a massive community and media campaign that you abandoned your community out of self interest…and that you believe one Tasmanian has the right to destroy an industry…a man who received a mere 14,000 votes," Leach said.

He told the audience that included about 20 politicians from State and Federal parliaments that the pubs' campaign to date was just the "tip of the iceberg".

"And I can assure [you], if the Government chooses to sustain its current course….the AHA and clubs will be that iceberg and the government will be the titanic," he said.

"This is a time for the united industry to draw the line.

"Media, critics and bigots will attack our stand, suggest we are evil and do all they can to smear and misdirect public debate. We will not be moved."

Leach said there would be no compromise for the NSW Hotel industry on this issue, "only a choice for the federal members of the Labor Government".

"Cross the floor of Federal Parliament and vote your true Labor values not those imposed on you by a Green/Independent Coalition," he said.

"Or remove the issue from politics and abandon the untried and untested proposals for the balanced recommendations of the Productivity Commission."

The Shout Team

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

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  1. Well said Scott. About time someone got up and spoke candidly about this injustice to the hotel and club industry.

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