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GetUp claims Nine is refusing to play its ad attacking Woolworths over pokie machines

Campaign group GetUp has accused the Nine Network of putting “profits over the health and safety of Australian families” after refusing to air its latest ad targeting supermarket giant Woolworths’ pokie machine ownership.

The group has been crowd-funding to get the ad, which pastiches Woolies Christmas campaign using families to show the impact poker machine addiction can have on people, shown on TV.

However the group is claiming Nine is refusing to play the ad and has cited its commercial relationship with Woolies, which is one of the country’s largest advertisers, as the reason.

Natalie O’Brien, a senior campaigner at GetUp, accused Nine and Woolworths of “banding together” in a statement.

She added:“We made an ad to highlight the damage being wreaked by Woolworths-owned poker machines, because most people simply don’t realise that Woolies is Australia’s largest owner of poker machines. Now, thanks to Channel Nine, Australians might never know the truth.

“Once again Woolworths uses their market power to the detriment of Australians, but this time they’re using it to shut down the truth.

“Channel Nine won’t run the ad because they want Woolworths’ money from adverts – they actually told us as much. Channel Nine, like Woolworths, are putting profits over the health and safety of Australian families.”

The ad is part of GetUp’s ongoing campaign to get more controls on poker machines to stop people becoming addicted to them, including a petition signed by 51,000 people.

In 2012 the group had another ad on the same topic banned by all the TV networks.

“We don’t have the kind of big money that paralyses TV networks, but we do have people power,” added O’Brien. “We’re working right now to lock in ad spots on other networks and in local cinemas.”

Peter Wiltshire chief revenue officer of Nine said in a statement: “Woolworths are a key business partner of ours and we don’t treat our partners with contempt by playing such material. This does not mean we are pro poker machines.”

Woolworths has been approached for comment.

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