Stephen Mayne running for Senate on anti-pokies and pro-immigration platform

August 18, 2010

Shareholder activist, local government councillor, Crikey founder and former Liberal staffer Stephen Mayne turned 41 today and announced he is running as an independent candidate for the Senate in Victoria on a Nick Xenophon-style anti-pokies platform after the Rudd-Gillard government failed to act on sweeping Productivity Commission recommendations.

Mayne says Australians are the world's biggest gamblers on a per capita basis and Victoria's biggest pokies venue, the Woolworths-run Werribee Plaza Tavern, is located in Julia Gillard's seat of Lalor. He also says the family of the third Liberal-National Senate candidate in Victoria, Julian McGauran, owns a pokies venue, the Millers Inn, in Julia Gillard's home suburb of Altona where gamblers lost a staggering $13.2 million in 2008-09.

"Pokies are arguably the greatest social scourge in Julia Gillard's working class seat of Lalor, but she doesn't seem to care. At least Kevin Rudd declared he 'hates' the pokies before failing to do anything meaningful," Mayne said.

Lalor takes in the local council areas of Wyndham and Melton where working class people, many of them vulnerable females, lost $79 million and $42 million respectively on the pokies in 2008-09.

Mayne is calling for the Labor Party to sell the four pokies venues it owns and runs in Canberra and he'll be directing preferences to which ever party declares the toughest action against pokies in this campaign with the Productivity Commission recommendations being the benchmark which needs to be followed.

"If the Productivity Commission recommends a $1 maximum bet and the Tasmanian Liberals took that policy to the recent state election, then there is no reason why the two major Federal parties can't do likewise," Mayne said.

"Victorians concerned about the pokies have the lamentable choice to make in the Senate between the only major political party in the world which operates gambling dens for political fundraising and a Liberal ticket which includes a pokies venue owner."

Mayne has been an elected councillor at the City of Manningham in Melbourne's eastern suburbs since November 2008. Manningham councillors will debate the approval of a much tougher draft gambling policy at next Tuesday's council meeting which countenances the possibility of levying special taxes on the industry.

Victoria has the most lethal pokies in Australia and Manningham has two of the 10 biggest pokies venues in Victoria, namely the Doncaster Inn and the Shoppingtown Hotel, both of which are run by Woolworths and pokies billionaire Bruce Mathieson.

* Here is a package of Stephen's past pokies commentary and campaigning, including this video package featuring a question to Kevin Rudd at the Melbourne Press Club and criticisms of the Woolworths board at the 2009 AGM.

A lone voice supporting strong immigration

Mayne, a keen supporter of business and cultural diversity, also announced today that the other key element of his platform will be support for Australia's much-needed strong migration program.

"Last night's Lateline debate between Tony Burke and Scott Morrison was just beyond the pale. There is now clearly bipartisan support for a substantial 100,000-plus cut in the annual migration in-take when Australia has the lowest population as a percentage of arable land of any country in the world," Mayne said.

"Australia's economic growth and prosperity depends on strong migration, yet for the first time in 60 years we've got an incumbent Prime Minister recklessly campaigning against strong migration. This will cause division and angst for years into the future, whilst also damaging Australia's international reputation."

After experience as a local government councillor and a press secretary in Victoria's Kennett Government, Mayne said he believes population pressures in Sydney and Melbourne are primarily the result of poor planning and a lack of infrastructure investment by state governments, which weren't adequately funded by successive Federal governments.

"It is amazing to think that in 2010 the City of Manningham still has 4600 septic tanks courtesy of the state government's failure to do something as basic as connect the sewer. Manningham is also the only council in the whole of Victoria without a rail or tram service, which explains why it has 2.4 cars per household - the highest of any council in Australia," Mayne said.

"Julia Gillard and her old boss John Brumby should be fixing the sewer and extending the tram and train service rather than beating up on future migrants who could comfortably be accommodated with some sensible planning."

Background on Stephen Mayne

Full biography.

Results when received 2% of the vote in Peter Costello's seat of Higgins at the 2007 election, finishing fourth out of eight candidates and beating the Democrats and Family First.

Results in the state 1999 by-election for Burwood when Jeff Kennett vacated and finished third out of five candidates with 6.63%, just ahead of the Greens candidate.

Results from 38 public company board contests as part of shareholder activism.

Full list of all contested political and corporate elections.

How to vote card

Email Paula if you'd like to volunteer and hand out some of these cards on Saturday.

Media coverage of Senate tilt

There's been a few media encounters since the tilt was announced as follows:

John Durie on pokies and population tilt
The Australian, John Durie, July 23, 2010

Mayne to stand as no-pokies candidate
SMH, AAP, July 23, 2010

774 ABC Melbourne - interview with Jon Faine at 8.55am, July 23. Read transcript.

ABC News Radio - interview with Steve Chase at 5.50pm, July 23.

Stephen Mayne to run in federal election
Manningham Leader, Danielle Crowe, July 23, 2010.

Mayne sets up a pokies policy preference auction

Crikey, July 23, 2010

PM's electorate has top pokies loss
The Age, July 24

ABC News, Wed Jul 28, 2010

5 August 2010 - contributed to story on Fran Kelly's Radio National breakfast program about the pokies.

August 8, 2010 - 10 minute national chat about media bias in the election on ABC local radio

August 8, 2010 - Brief interview discussing up coming election on RRR The Party Show

For further information: