- Victorian Reason Party MP Fiona Patten and Federal Tasmanian Independent MP Andrew Wilkie join forces to demand action on Crown Casino: 12pm, Monday 14 October, Senate Courtyard, Parliament House, Canberra.
- Ms Patten again calls on Victorian Premier Dan Andrews for Inquiry into Crown and casino regulator amid disturbing allegations.
Reason Party Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan Fiona Patten, is again calling on the Andrews Government to launch an inquiry into Crown Casino and the role of the casino regulator, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), following further allegations from former Crown employees about illegal activities.
In an unprecedented teaming of state and federal independents, Ms Patten and Tasmanian MP Andrew Wilkie, have today jointly released video testimony from a former driver for Crown Casino, telling his story of being forced to look the other way whilst illegal activities occurred on the job all around him.
The driver said he had witnessed abuse of women, been forced to ferry drugs around Melbourne in the boot of his car, picked up Chinese nationals from private Crown jets at Melbourne Airport without any customs checks and more. He claimed that Crown was a law unto itself and any reporting of incidents inside the Casino to Victoria Police was frowned upon.
Recently, Ms Patten had tried to force the Victorian Parliament to debate the issues surrounding Crown when they were first aired.
“The allegations made through the Fairfax-Nine investigation were bad enough and warranted a full, urgent investigation by Parliament,” Ms Patten said.
“But now with more disturbing allegations of illegal behaviour and some very serious questions raised about the competency of the regulator, the Andrews Labor Government has to act.
“At the time, Gaming Minister Marlene Kairouz said she had directed the regulator to launch an urgent investigation into the claims and report back to her “within a fortnight” – that was two months ago. Today, Ms Kairouz said that probe was ongoing and she was happy with the progress the VCGLR was making.
“The driver whose video testimony has been released today, is just the tip of the iceberg,” Ms Patten said.
“I think the Minister may feel differently later this week.
“Crown Casino is the biggest single site employer in Victoria, and plenty of Victorians and tourists alike enjoy the facilities that it offers. But the laws of the state of Victoria don’t stop at the doors of Crown Casino. They don’t just get to do whatever they want.
“The Parliament has given huge concessions to the operators of Crown through the Casino Control Act and in return we demand they play by the rules. It’s that simple.”
Ms Patten noted that every five years, the Victorian Parliament was required to review and in some cases, amend, the Casino Control Act 1991.
“The very first lines of the Casino Control Act made it crystal clear what its intention is,” she said.
‘To establish a system for the licensing, supervision and control of casinos with the aims of ensuring that the 1) the management and operation of casinos remains free from criminal influence or exploitation and 2) ensuring that gaming in casinos is conducted honestly’.
To ensure that Crown was adhering to the rules the VLGCR made a number of significant recommendations in 2013 and again in 2018 that it appears have still not been acted on or implemented by Crown.
“Can the Government really say that Crown is free from corruption?” Ms Patten said.
“We need a full inquiry into both the operations of Crown Casino and the regulator itself. I am hopeful that a Royal Commission can be established but if not, I will push the Victorian Government again in the Victorian Parliament to establish a Parliamentary or IBAC inquiry.
“In joining forces with Mr Wilke, the public can be sure that transparency will be the order of the day in any investigation that we promote. I believe that this may be the first time that federal and state politicians have worked together in this way. Independent MPs around Australia have a developing role in this space. It’s what the community expects, it’s why they vote for us.”
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To organise an interview with Fiona Patten, please phone Kaitlin Bartlett directly.
Media Contact: Kaitlin Bartlett
Phone: 0432 294 500