Posted June 29, 2018 16:12:31 The Australian Government should be ashamed of failing in the wake of the Sydney siege to implement tougher restrictions on gambling, former Liberal leader Bob Carr said.
“The Government should not be saying, ‘Gosh, this is the way it is’,” Mr Carr said on the ABC’s Lateline program.
“It should be saying: ‘Gee, this isn’t good enough, and this is not how we want to be governed’.” Mr Carr, who lost his seat of Maribyrnong in the recent Federal Election, said the Government had been caught off guard by the siege and failed to implement its plan to reduce gun crime.
“I think the Government should’ve been in the position of saying: This is what we’re going to do, we’re not going to change it, and we’re really not going do it,” he said.
The Government was also criticised by the ABC for not acting sooner to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The ABC’s investigative reporter and political commentator Steve Dickson said the Coalition’s approach to the pandemics was “weak”.
“The Coalition has been slow to respond, and even less willing to say what the appropriate response is for the current situation,” he told Lateline.
“This is not the time for the Government to be embarrassed or to be held to account.”
Mr Carr rejected suggestions the Government was too slow to act on its plan.
“There’s no doubt that the Government did not act, and there’s no question that it did not take a proper approach,” he insisted.
“They’re still being told: ‘What the hell was that, it’s too late’.” The former Labor leader, who quit the Liberal Party to become an independent, said he was disappointed the Government could not take the heat for its response.
“But they should have been a bit more aggressive in taking responsibility for the way they handled the situation,” Mr Carr added.
“What was done was not right.”
The Government also received a number of scathing criticism for not taking more forceful action after the shootings, including for not intervening to stop people from travelling overseas to gamble.
Mr Carr also said the Federal Government’s failure to legislate for gambling in Western Australia was another example of “political correctness gone mad”.
The Federal Government has proposed a number different measures to tighten controls on gambling in WA and Victoria.
In its response to the siege, the Government said it was committed to making sure the State was safe, and that “all people in Western Australian communities can enjoy the freedoms they enjoy in the community”.
“The government has worked hard to strengthen our laws and provide more opportunities for people to gamble, but it’s time to go further and implement a broader set of laws to address the issues of gambling in our communities,” the Government wrote in a submission to the inquiry.
The inquiry’s chairman, Senator Michael Keenan, said while the Government’s response to Friday’s tragedy was “incredibly important”, the Government needed to do more.
“A lot of people will say to themselves, ‘I wish they had done more,'” Senator Keenan said.
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