Gambling reform would honour late MP's work: advocates

A superhero aunt, a fiercely loyal friend, a squash champion: late Labor MP Peta Murphy has been remembered in many ways but there is one aspect of her legacy the government cannot forget if it wants to honour her work.

Ms Murphy died in December aged 50 after a long battle with breast cancer, but remained a staunch anti-gambling pioneer to the end.

One of her last moves in parliament was to lead a parliamentary inquiry into online gambling harm which handed down 31 recommendations and called for a crackdown on an industry that was "manipulating an impressionable and vulnerable audience".

In an open letter sent to the prime minister on Wednesday and signed by the CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform Carol Bennett and its chief advocate Tim Costello, advocates asked Anthony Albanese to pay homage to Ms Murphy's legacy.

Order of service from the funeral for MP Peta Murphy
Advocates are urging the government to adopt the late Peta Murphy's plan to reduce gambling harm.

"Peta worked tirelessly - even in the last days of her life - to expose the harm experienced by the community from online gambling," the letter read. 

"This is an opportunity to honour the work of Peta, to create a legacy that not only acknowledges her hard work and dedication but also one that will greatly reduce gambling harm." 

Australians lose more than $25 billion a year to gambling, more losses per capita than any other country in the world, and is believed to be linked to as many as 25 per cent of deaths by suicide.

Online gambling in particular is growing across the nation, fuelled by a deluge of advertising that dominates the sporting and media landscapes.

A many as one million gambling ads ran on free-to-air television and on social media between May 2022 and June 2023.

Christmas can also trigger a spike in gambling, exacerbating the stressors and financial pressures the holiday period already brings.

"The evidence shows those gambling more at Christmas are typically those who are experiencing greatest financial hardship," Ms Bennett said.

"They are sold the hope they can solve all their problems with a win - it is a cruel lie that devastates too many lives.

"Enough is enough."

Chief among the inquiry's recommendations was a plan to phase in a ban on gambling advertising over three years.

Reviewing and implementing the proposals outlined in the inquiry chaired by Ms Murphy would not only address the financial, social and health consequences posed by gambling, but cement her legacy for years to come.

"It is now time to resist the pressure of big gambling and other vested interests and adopt the recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry," the letter read.

"We are deeply thankful for the amazing work and dedication of the Federal Labor MP for Dunkley, Peta Murphy."

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