ONE of Sydney's Catholic Clubs is seeking to change its constitution to aid its fight against the federal government's proposed poker machine reforms.
Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club will ask members to remove a constitutional ban on the club taking part in political activities so it can campaign against planned betting limits on poker machines.
The move was revealed as the Australian Communications and Media Authority confirmed it would investigate whether criticism of the reforms by commentators Ray Warren and Phil Gould (a columnist for the Herald and Sun-Herald) during a Channel Nine league broadcast breached rules on political advertising.
Yesterday Clubs Australia and the National Rugby League denied knowing that the statements would be put to air, after Warren said the statements were directed from ''up top'' and he guessed they were paid for and came from the NRL.
A spokesman for Channel Nine said the station was confident it had not breached the TV code. However the foundation of the authority's inquiry is not the TV code but Nine's broadcasting licences, which prohibit airing ''political matter'' at someone else's request without disclosing who requested it, regardless of whether the statements are paid.
Whether Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club can join the high profile criticism of the poker machine changes will be decided by a special resolution at its annual general meeting on October 28.
The current board unanimously recommends the proposed resolution to members, but ''does not envisage that the club would ever be overtly party political''.
In the club's latest newsletter its chief executive, David Mantle, warns members that ''mandatory pre-commitment is a real threat to the future success of Dooleys''.
According to Dooley's 2009-10 annual report, $35,928,215 of its total revenue of $45,072,654 in 2010 came from gaming machines.
Neither Mr Mantle nor the club president, John Munce, were available for comment.
But in his latest newsletter address to members, Mr Munce writes the issue was raised with members and that presidents of the four large Catholic clubs met the Sydney Archbishop, Cardinal George Pell, to discuss problem gambling - particularly within Catholic clubs.
''We assured the Cardinal that problem gambling is present but is not a major issue in our Catholic Clubs,'' Mr Munce wrote.
A spokeswoman for Cardinal Pell said the contents and outcome of the meeting were private. But the senior clergyman said he was ''sympathetic'' to the reforms.