Motion: State Budget 2017


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 15:02 ): This has been a deeply disappointing display by a dysfunctional Labor government that has long forgotten that they are here to represent the people of South Australia and do what is in their best interests, yet the people of South Australia cannot turn a corner these days without being mugged by this Labor government that does not care for their future, but only cares for their own political survival. 

We have had a lot of discussion in the last few days about conventions and the Treasurer today and the member for Waite have said that this convention, which has apparently stood since the 1850s, is being broken, but I would say that I would rather break a convention than break the state—break the state for the second time when we are talking about matters to do with the State Bank. 

This convention, which apparently the Treasurer says will rain fire and brimstone upon the people of South Australia and any future government, which the Minister for Health said would rain fire and brimstone on any future government when this opposition did the right thing by the people of South Australia in blocking the car park tax in 2014, is not worth anything if it damages the interests of the people of South Australia, because they are our first, second and third responsibilities as members of parliament. We swear an oath that we will support their interests and their needs. 

In fact, this government was not interested in supporting convention at the 2014 election when they said, 'Don't vote against the car park tax because there is a convention in place with the 2012 decision to remove the costs orders against police,' which was another example of a bad tax measure put into a budget, and in the best interests of the people of South Australia the opposition supported the opposition to it. 

And of course there is the biosecurity tax, which this government also tried to put into a budget and which the member for Waite supported the opposition on—the member for Waite supported the removal of it, as he did the cause for a reversal of onus. This is a government that does not have the interests of the people of South Australia in their heart, and they are using this convention as a fig leaf to cover their shame. The fact is that the opposition is acting to protect the interests of the people of South Australia, and that is what we are here to talk about today. 

The Premier started his speech by talking about leadership. Leadership—from this Premier. Let's have a talk about the Premier's examples of leadership. This is the sort of person who went to an election promising that he was the only person who would protect the people of South Australia from an increase in the GST and then went on national news to fight for an increase in the GST. This is the Premier who went to an election promising that he was the only person who would protect the people of South Australia from a nuclear industry starting in the state and then, as soon as the election was over, he went to the people of South Australia and said, 'We want to have the world's biggest nuclear dump here in South Australia.' 

This is the sort of person who would get elected to parliament and, three elections in a row, go forward on policies, such as no privatisation despite the privatisation of the forests and the MAC and the Lands Titles Office to come. This is the sort of person who would go to an election and win an election three times on a promise that no Labor government would ever, ever sell the Repat and then, once he is elected, would act against the interests of the people of South Australia to sell the Repat. 

This is the sort of person who would put $600,000 of taxpayers' money into a joint venture with the Adelaide city council and a private company to run a stall at a beer festival in China without doing any due diligence and then, when it goes bad, he will walk away and blame everyone else involved except for himself. Who would go into business with this guy? Who would invest in a state where this is the sort of person running the show? 

The Hon. A. Koutsantonis interjecting: 

Mr GARDNER: Who would possibly invest in this state under this Premier? 

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will not get any further warnings. 

Mr GARDNER: The Treasurer has been warned three times and he still does not get it. This is the Premier who promised a kinder, a gentler politics. This is the Premier who came to office promising a break with his predecessor who would have a debate-and-decide approach, not an announce-and-defend approach. The reality is that this Premier makes Mike Rann look like Mother Teresa by comparison. 

Here is his latest scam on the people of South Australia: pick a target in the banks which he assumes everyone will be happy to kick, surprise them with a raid to demonstrate his masculinity and to try to win some cheap populace points despite the disastrous consequences for the state that he pretends and purports to lead, despite the impact on confidence, despite the impact on jobs in South Australia, despite the impact on South Australia's reputation interstate and internationally and despite the potential impact on every mortgage holder, every business with a loan, every person who wants a job in this state, anyone who holds shares in superannuation. It will make the cost of doing business in South Australia more expensive, and it will make the cost of living in South Australia more expensive. 

The trick is that the people of South Australia, as the Leader of the Opposition correctly said, are smarter than this government. The people of South Australia, as the member for Schubert correctly said, know that this tax will impact on them and their cost of living. The Liberal Party is only interested in protecting the interests of the people of South Australia, and they will see that. We are prepared for this fight, and we will fight this tax through to the election. 

So much for the leadership of the Premier. What about the toadies who surround him—the South Australian Labor Party? Not content with having broken South Australia once with their State Bank disaster, they are now seeking to break South Australia again with their state bank tax disaster. This is a state that understands what that pain has meant when it has been inflicted before, and they will not stand for it again. The Liberal Party of South Australia will not stand for it again. We will block this tax, and this government must take this to an election—an election that I am confident they will lose because the South Australian people know that they deserve better.