Will Peta’s Colleagues Take a Risk on Upholding Her Courageous Legacy?

A Tribute to Peta Murphy: A Voice for Change in the Gambling World

Politicians often seem to talk incessantly without truly listening, but there are rare individuals who use their platform to give others a voice. Peta Murphy, a respected member of parliament, was one such individual. Sadly, her career was cut short by a debilitating illness, but her impact on the fight against problem gambling will not be forgotten.

Murphy’s dedication to addressing the social damage caused by problem gambling was evident when she chaired a public inquiry on the subject. She became a passionate advocate for change, even attending parliament in her final stages of cancer. Her commitment to giving a voice to those affected by gambling addiction was truly inspiring.

Peta Murphy in February. Diagnosed with cancer at 37, she died on Monday, aged 50.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

During the inquiry, Murphy gave a platform to individuals like Anna Bardsley and Ken Wolfe, who shared their personal experiences with gambling addiction. Their stories highlighted the real-life impact of this issue and reinforced the need for change.

The Legacy and Challenge for Labor

On Wednesday, parliament paid tribute to Peta Murphy, celebrating her work as a barrister, political adviser, and advocate for the Australian Labor Party. While her impact extended beyond the fight against problem gambling, it is crucial for Labor to continue her legacy.

The success of Murphy’s inquiry now depends on whether Anthony Albanese and federal cabinet take action in the coming months. The recommendations made by the House of Representatives social policy committee must be implemented to address the social damage caused by gambling.

The Call for Change: A Ban on Gambling Advertising

One of the most significant recommendations from Murphy’s inquiry was a ban on gambling advertising. The committee proposed a four-stage ban over three years, targeting different mediums and timeframes. However, implementing such a ban faces opposition from sporting codes and media companies concerned about financial implications.

Despite the challenges, the need for change is evident. Australia’s gambling industry generates $25 billion annually, with online gambling alone growing from $5.6 billion in 2019 to $9.6 billion in 2022. The industry’s resistance to reform is concerning, with leaked information suggesting the government may not prioritize the advertising ban.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland has emphasized the need for harm minimization but has not explicitly supported the committee’s findings. The decision rests on whether the government will protect children and address the harm caused by gambling advertising.

Peta Murphy’s Message: A Total Ban on Gambling Advertising

In her final days, Murphy reiterated her belief in a total ban on gambling advertising. She understood that partial bans are insufficient and called for comprehensive action to protect families and address the harm caused by gambling. Her commitment to this cause was unwavering, and her legacy should serve as a reminder of the urgency for change.

The responsibility now falls on federal cabinet to listen to Murphy’s message and take decisive action. The fight against problem gambling requires bold steps, and a total ban on gambling advertising is a crucial part of that journey.

David Crowe is chief political correspondent.

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About the Author

David Crowe is the chief political correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. With extensive experience in political reporting, he provides insightful analysis on various issues. Connect with David via Twitter or email.


Peta Murphy’s untimely passing leaves a void in the fight against problem gambling, but her legacy lives on. Her dedication to giving a voice to those affected by gambling addiction and her call for a total ban on gambling advertising should not be forgotten. It is now up to federal cabinet to listen to her message and take decisive action to address the social damage caused by gambling.

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