The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (21:13):I am very pleased to be able to speak in reply to His Excellency's outstanding speech. I commend the Governor for his speech and his delivery and for his service to South Australia in so many ways. Other members have reflected on that outstanding contribution, and I echo their words without repeating them. Mr Deputy Speaker, I congratulate you on your service in this role, as I congratulate the Speaker, as others have done. I know that this chamber will benefit from yours and the Speaker's fine wisdom, gravitas and deliberations. The dignity that we hope this parliament will maintain is in good hands under you and the Speaker.
The Hon. J.A.W. GARDNER (Morialta—Minister for Education) (15:19):I think the house has just seen another example in the first grieve, another example in question time today, as we have seen over the last week, of how this Australian Labor Party has failed to learn a single lesson from 17 March and the result. They have failed to pick up a single issue that is of day-to-day relevance to the people of South Australia and run with it in this parliament. All we get from them is abuse and minutiae, majoring in the minors and not even doing a very good job of that.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (20:01): I am also not the lead speaker. I rise to speak on the Constitution (One Vote One Value) Amendment Bill. The Leader of Government Business sends a note to the opposition of all the bills the government wishes to debate, and this bill did not appear in any form in any of the notes that his office sent the opposition over the past week. That is fine; the government can ignore that. It is possible the leader of the house himself was not kept in the loop.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:22): I want to take this opportunity, as I have on many occasions over the last eight years, to pay tribute, just before Christmas, to the cherry growers in Morialta, in particular, and other primary producers. I will start by touching on the apple and pear industry, which is very important to Morialta, both in its current boundaries and particularly after the redistribution.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:13): This government over 15½ years has committed many atrocities upon the people of South Australia. They have put themselves before the people whom they claim to serve over and over, time and time again. In the last week, one of the most disgraceful examples of that has been put front and centre by the Minister for Education and by the Premier, who would take the extraordinary step of using children in South Australian schools as political pawns—as political hostages—in their game playing with the commonwealth.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (17:29):The opposition has considered a number of the matters put forward by the Standing Orders Committee. I believe that the committee gave relevant consideration to a number of issues that have been in the sessional orders for some time. It is apparent from the report, and as advised by the Speaker, that the committee took the view that it was appropriate to incorporate. This is problematic.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (11:09):This is an important bill brought to the house by the member for Bragg. It responds to what has been an atrocious abuse of public trust and public funds by this government over the last year, over the last three years, since the last election and over the last 15 years, frankly. This is a government that barely one in three South Australians voted for, yet they have managed to spend over $100 million since I have been in the parliament on advertising themselves—more than $30 million in the most recent year on telling the people of South Australia how good they are. It is a disgrace.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (17:43): I am interested in the Attorney-General's remarks. While I have undertaken to be brief, he has said some things that cannot go without response. The Attorney-General says that a bill went through the parliament some time ago—the original bill to which this amendment bill makes further changes. In fact, it was the original act, because this parliament passed that bill. The Attorney said it 'passed on the voices' and was not really addressed here. I had carriage of that bill, which was of course of interest to Mr Dawkins, as the Attorney said. That is because it was Mr Dawkins' bill, as is this.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (15:29): Today, I would like to talk about the importance of language education in our schools, and the government's announcement last week of their language strategy was welcome. It was playing catch-up, of course, given that in August the opposition announced a series of language policies which the government seems to have read in detail because a number of their announcements virtually copy things the Liberal Party had committed to in August, but we welcome them.
Mr GARDNER (Morialta) (11:29): This is a very important motion for the people of my electorate, particularly those living in Highbury (north of the river) and some of the Hills communities for which Modbury Hospital is often the first hospital of call. It is also important for residents of Rostrevor, Athelstone and all the other suburbs in Morialta because there are flow-on effects of the changes to Modbury, as there are across the whole of the north-eastern suburbs.