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10 October 2011

Pokie reform may 'kill' Gillard - Abbott - 10th October 2011

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The proposed poker machine reforms could be the issue that kills Prime Minister Julia Gillard's leadership, says Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

The Labor caucus is not behind the reforms that will force gamblers to pre-set the amount of money they're prepared to lose on the pokies, Mr Abbott told Triple M radio on Monday.

"There's only one person in a position of influence who really wants it and that's Julia Gillard because she needs it to stay in government," he said.

"But I don't think the Labor caucus like it. I think if she tries to ram it through, if she's still the prime minister, this could be (the issue) which kills her."

Labor plans to adopt mandatory pre-commitment systems for high-intensity poker machines by 2014 as part of an agreement with Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie.

Mr Abbott says the shadow cabinet will meet in the coming days and announce a formal position on poker machine reforms "shortly".

"But I don't like it, it's not Liberal party policy," he said.

"This is taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, it will be very, very expensive, hundreds of millions of dollars at least to introduce and it's not going to work.

"If you're a problem gambler, you can set your pre-commitment at such a level but you can still gamble enormously.

"And if there aren't pokies, there's the internet."

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