11.7 C
Byron Shire
September 25, 2021

Kickin’ the Punt launch first major documentary

Latest News

Fundraising for koala signs for Bangalow

As the koala mating season has started, Bangalow Koalas has set up fundraising to create incorporate more koala road signs. Bangalow...

Other News

Woman charged over alleged Public Health Order Breaches – Tweed/Byron

A woman has been charged over multiple alleged breaches of the Public Health Orders in the Tweed and Byron shires.

Equitable allocation

In properly-scrutinised vaccination rollouts it is to be expected that vaccines are used as a device to protect the...

Bioenergy facility

Council continued to downplay the noise from trucks associated with the proposed bioenergy plant in last week’s Echo. This is...

New Nesbitt Park mountain bike skills course in Lismore

Though Lismore is currently in lockdown, the city has inaugurated a new sporting activity in Nesbitt Park that will make residents want to enjoy outdoors as soon as possible.

Getting annoyed with NSW Farmers naming ‘rights’

The Annoying Vegan has become more annoyed today with what they see as the NSW Farmers getting on their high horse about the use of the words ‘meat’ and ‘milk’.

Mechanism of so much destructive economic policy re ‘la covida’, IMF

The IMF (US controlled, unelected) offered governments $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights, to buffer losses caused by economic...

As part of Gambling Harm Awareness Week, Ballina-based gambling reform group Kickin’ The Punt has just released its first major film on YouTube (viewable in full at link above and here). Viewer discretion is advised. This film deals with suicide and mental trauma.

Funded by crowd support, and shot and edited by Alex Bowden, the one hour documentary tells the heartbreaking true story of Gary Van Duinen, whose life was destroyed by poker machines.

Kickin’ The Punt’s Ben Hamilton. Photo David Lowe.

Echonetdaily asked KTP co-founder Ben Hamilton about the genesis of Our Stories, Our Truth: the suicide of Gary Van Duinen, and what the organisation hoped to achieve with the film.

‘Gary Van Duinen’s suicide had a profound effect on myself in 2018,’ said Mr Hamilton.

‘I struggled with suicidal ideology in 2018 and I attempted to take my life that year as well.

‘The catalyst for Gary’s suicide was poker machines. He was addicted, and he couldn’t see any other way to escape his addiction.

‘We felt privileged to listen to some of Gary’s closest people,’ he said. ‘The experience was humbling and very emotional for myself. Gary’s suicide isn’t an anomaly. This happens every day in our country.’

Gary’s mother Joy Van Duinen in the new documentary. Photo supplied.

Mr Hamilton said, ‘This film shows what happens when you fall prey to gambling addiction.

‘It also shows how dirty and predatory the gambling industry is, particularly ClubsNSW.’

The new film features moving interviews with Gary ‘Gee’ Van Duinen’s close friends and family, as well as ClubsNSW whistleblower Troy Stolz.

The film also reveals the startlingly unethical behaviour of the club where Mr Van Duinen lost most of his money, treating him as a VIP to encourage further gambling as he slid on an accelerating ride into disaster.

Just the beginning

Since its origins earlier this year, Kickin’ the Punt is growing fast, particularly on Instagram, where it provides a safe place for people who are struggling with poker machine addiction to support one another, not just in the Northern Rivers but Australia-wide.

Ben, Jasmine and Auggie Hamilton. Photo supplied.

After years of stagnation, various pokie reforms are now on the table in NSW, due in part to the advocacy of Kickin’ The Punt and other NGOs.

Ben Hamilton, his partner Jasmine and the rest of the Kickin’ The Punt team have more hard-hitting pokie films in the pipeline.

‘This is the first of many films for KTP,’ said Mr Hamilton.

‘The tragic stories are endless, and they will continue to happen unless we change the way society views gambling.

‘We will keep fighting for Gee, and we will continue to have a honest conversation about gambling,’ he said.

If this story has brought up issues for you, please call Lifeline on 131114 or visit them on the net. The Northern Rivers Gambling Counselling Service is here.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Nuclear Submarines – just a foot in the door

In the next few months we will hear a lot about how superior nuclear-powered submarines are. Vice Admiral Mike Noonan is even claiming superior stealth characteristics – which is simply not true. Yes, they tend to be faster. This is great if you want to go thousands of kilometres in a matter of days. But they are also much more expensive.

Compost back on Lismore’s gardening menu

Lismore City Council says that their BIOCycle Compost is again on sale from the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre and Nimbin Transfer Station, after a two-year break.

Tony’s reflections as king of the Macadamia Castle

Looking back on 14 years at the Macadamia Castle, Tony Gilding says the important things to him were the conservation of the animals and the development of staff.

Getting annoyed with NSW Farmers naming ‘rights’

The Annoying Vegan has become more annoyed today with what they see as the NSW Farmers getting on their high horse about the use of the words ‘meat’ and ‘milk’.