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The Australian Points Out Gambling Opponents Failures

Xenophon and Lack of Gambling Reforms

Number of pokies continue to grow in Australia.

Despite Australians' love for their pokies, one man has made it his mission in life to put spokes in the wheels of gambling progress in the country. Nick Xenophon was elected to South Australia's parliament in 1997 on one single message - to rid hotels of gambling machines.

However, as The Australian points out this week, Xenophon hasn't managed to do what he vowed to do. In fact, pokie numbers rose by more than 2600 on the politician's watch and he is now under fire for not only sticking to his promises, but turning his back on the issue altogether.

"Critics accuse him of latching on to populist issues to grab headlines, before moving on with little accountability or achievement," reads the article entitled 'Federal Election 2016: Pokies Grew During Xenophon's Term'.

Growth in Pokie Numbers

When Xenophon was elected to South Australia's upper house as an independent MP in 1997 on his No Pokies platform, there were 10,597 machines in operation.

Eight years later, numbers reached their peak to 15,086 and although they have since dipped to 13,258, overall they have grown - despite Xenophon's promise.

The Australian  quotes Family First MP, Robert Brokenshire as saying: "There hasn't been a reduction in poker machines and, if anything, gambling is a bigger problem than it was when he came in."

Lack of Transparency

The article also showed other examples of what they perceive as Xenophon's downfalls.

It is shown that Xenophon campaigned for greater transparency on MPs' personal interests. However, he himself failed to declare his directorship of a company which was run by his father and that was unable to repay tax debts and creditors.

Xenophon expressed his embarrassment this week about the issue and said, "unambiguously, I stuffed up."

As one talkbacker put it: "Hopeless - he has a marketing team but forgot the implementation team."