PM urged to honour late MP's work with gambling reform

By William Ton
Updated March 4 2024 - 3:40am, first published 3:32am
Late Labor MP Peta Murphy "wanted gambling reform to be a big part of her legacy", Tim Costello says (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)
Late Labor MP Peta Murphy "wanted gambling reform to be a big part of her legacy", Tim Costello says (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

The federal government must reform gambling to honour the work of the Dunkley electorate's popular late MP after Labor retained the seat in a closely fought by-election, advocates say.

Community leader Jodie Belyea held the Victorian seat for Labor in Saturday's by-election - triggered by the death of MP Peta Murphy in December - despite an almost four per cent swing away from the government.

Ms Murphy had championed gambling advertising reform - something her successor flagged following Saturday's win.

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief advocate Tim Costello urged the Albanese government to honour Ms Murphy's hard work and accept all of the recommendations of the online gambling inquiry,

Mr Costello said the government must act to implement the Murphy Inquiry recommendations it has had for eight months.

He said gambling harm was a massive public health issue, linked to poor physical and mental health, poverty and homelessness, criminal activity, family violence and suicide.

"Certainly, the cost of living was a critical issue in this by-election but so was the white-hot anger in the community about the unchecked power of the gambling industry and the damage it is causing families," he said.

Mr Costello, who lives in the Dunkley electorate, said the tide was turning within the community for gambling reform - especially in advertising.

"I was in contact with Peta in the last days of her battle with cancer and I know she wanted gambling reform to be a big part of her legacy," he said.

Asked when the government would ban gambling ads as he stood alongside Ms Belyea on Sunday, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said reforms would be rolled out in an orderly manner.

He pointed to measures already in place such as blocking credit cards from being used for gambling, a self-exclusion register and improved advertising codes.

Australians lose more than $25 billion each year to gambling - the highest per capita amount in the world.

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Australian Associated Press