ClubsNSW CEO sacked after saying gaming reforms based on Dominic Perrottet’s ‘Catholic gut’

ClubsNSW CEO sacked after saying gaming reforms based on Dominic Perrottet’s ‘Catholic gut’

ClubsNSW boss Josh Landis has been sacked after he claimed NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet was basing the state’s gambling reform on his “conservative Catholic gut”.

Key points: ClubsNSW took action after meeting today to consider Josh Landis’ future. Mr. Landis told Nine newspapers that the prime minister was acting from his “conservative Catholic gut”. The Premier says the comments are “offensive to people of faith across NSW”

Mr Landis was quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald this morning as saying the Prime Minister’s position was causing “hyper-anxiety” in the gambling industry.

“I think it’s fair to say that the prime minister has very little understanding of this issue and has acted out of his conservative Catholic gut rather than evidence,” he said.

In a statement released this afternoon, ClubsNSW said the Board had terminated Mr Landis’ employment as CEO “with immediate effect”.

“The Board recognizes Josh Landis’ exemplary service to the industry over more than 15 years through very difficult times,” the statement said.

“We sincerely wish him all the best in his future endeavours.”

Mr Perrottet told Nine Radio this morning he was pushing for cashless playing card and poker machine reforms, putting him in conflict with the gambling body, “because it’s the right thing to do”.

Mr Perrottet said Mr Landis’ comment was “offensive”, and that people in prominent positions would be forced to resign if they talked about other religious groups like that.

“The decision I’ve made, and the views I have regarding games in New South Wales, is not informed by the fact that I’m Catholic. It’s because I believe it’s the right thing to do ” he said.

“Now I think it’s completely wrong for the CEO of Clubs New South Wales to say it’s … part of my Catholic faith.

‘And I would say it is offensive, not to me, but to people of faith across New South Wales.

“If you replaced the word ‘Catholic’ with ‘Islamic, Jewish or Hindu’, you would have resigned before you got to work this morning.

“It’s not about faith, and people shouldn’t attack people’s faith in relation to decision-making.”

Independent MP Alex Greenwich said he would never Mr. Not attacking Perrottet about his faith. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

Independent MP Alex Greenwich claims Mr Landis has turned ClubsNSW into an “NRA (National Rifle Association)-style political operation” and ignored the NSW Crime Commission’s damning report into poker machines.

“I have had my policy differences with the Prime Minister on social reforms, but I would never attack him on his faith. He takes a measured and evidence-based approach to reform and encourages robust debate,” the Sydney MP said.

Gambling reform has become a hot button ahead of the March election, with the government and opposition outlining competing policies.

Mr Landis issued a statement this afternoon to “apologise unreservedly” for the comments.

He said the comments were made in a phone call with a reporter who asked about why the prime minister was pushing for mandatory cashless gaming and other reforms.

“I want to make it clear that I misspoke in answering the question and should not have referred to the Prime Minister’s faith,” Mr Landis said.

“This was not a premeditated or a deliberate attack … rather a poor attempt to explain that there is a lack of evidence for the policy and the Prime Minister is a moral person who intrinsically wants to help those who harm themselves.”

Mr Perrottet this morning declined to comment on whether there had been “Catholic bashing” in recent days, but said Mr Landis “needs to think about his words”.

“I think it’s inappropriate in a modern Australia for people to attack people’s faith,” the prime minister said.

“I’m not offended by that, but when you’re in politics, you become completely desensitized to criticism.

“My position on gambling reform is because it is the right thing to do to stop money laundering in New South Wales and stop problem gambling.”

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