Shadow Minister for Finance Rob Lucas today accused the Labor Government and the Lotteries Commission of using ‘strong arm tactics’ in trying to silence growing anger at the decision to privatise the Lotteries Commission.
“In recent weeks newsagents in both metropolitan and regional areas have been receiving telephone calls and letters threatening them with the potential loss of their agency agreement to sell lotto products,” Mr Lucas said.
“Even newsagents who have expressed the mildest criticism to the media about the decisions to privatise or to introduce online lotto are being ‘strong armed’ by the Lotteries Commission.
“After receiving telephone calls a number of newsagents have received official warning letters from the Lotteries Commission claiming media comment was in breach of SA Lotteries policy and of their agency agreement with the Lotteries Commission.”
The warning letters quote the Agent Procedure Manual:
“Agents are not authorised to comment to the media with respect to SA Lotteries or its products. Any media requests must be immediately referred to Public Relations.”
“Newsagents and other agencies earn about $29 million per year in commissions on lotteries products, so it is not surprising that these hundreds of small businesses are very angry about Mr Weatherill’s broken promise on privatisation,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is clear the privatisation decision and the future actions of a private sector operator will have a significant impact on the value of their businesses.
“The Liberal Party will now lodge FOI requests to try to establish how many agents have received warnings about speaking to the media.
“Sadly this sort of crackdown is typical of this arrogant Weatherill Government and it is time now for the Government to ‘call the dogs off.’”