Malinauskas, next Member for Croydon

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 15:32 ): I rise today to speak about the Hon. Mr Peter Malinauskas, who must wake up every day and count his lucky stars. This man has never had to work hard in life to get where he is. On 1 December 2015, the member was gifted a seat in this place by the faceless men who control the Labor Party. It must be nice to be spoonfed and not have to break into a sweat, to go from the cushy job of secretary to the SDA to be handed a seat in parliament on a silver platter. He said at one stage that a seat in parliament had never been further from his mind. 

Not only was he gifted a seat; he was also gifted a ministry. It does not stop there; the spoonfeeding continues. It now appears that he is going to be gifted the safest Labor seat in South Australia. The soon-to-be member for Croydon has already bought a house in that electorate. It is interesting that the successful people in politics, whether they are on the Liberal or Labor side or other sides—even the Greens' Hon. Mark Parnell—have a passion, have some heart and soul. They have actually made some sacrifices to get to where they have gone on their journey, people like Don Dunstan, Mike Rann, John Olsen, Tom Playford, Bob Hawke or John Howard. They have all made tremendous sacrifices to get to their leadership roles. I have not seen the member in this place, the Hon. Peter Malinauskas, make any such sacrifices. 

When you look at the sacrifices he has made, he has had to shift from his cushy eastern suburbs to move to the house he has bought in that electorate. He has had no previous connection there; he has never lived there before. The member has decided to pick up his life and move. Then again, who can blame him; after all, the faceless men who control the Labor Party are dangling the carrot that is the Premier's office in front of him. It is common knowledge that the member is touted as a future premier. 

It might happen sooner than we all think. Rumours are growing by the day in this place that there could even be a by-election. The rumours have started in the last couple of days that he may even step down from the ministry so that he can actually go doorknocking and campaigning, because we all know that it would be very inappropriate for a minister to use his ministerial benefits and chauffeured car to go doorknocking in an electorate. 

At a time when South Australia has the highest unemployment rate on the mainland, our economic growth is below the national average and the government cannot even keep the lights on, I would hope that the future member for Croydon would not force South Australians to foot the bill for this by-election, unless of course there is the possibility that he could be premier before 2018. Premier Jay Weatherill is under pressure and you could see it in the train wreck of a press conference he did the week after the weather event. It was a shambles as he tried to explain what caused the power outage and insulted the intelligence of South Australian people by posing the question: coal or renewables? 

On top of the 1.7 million people statewide blackout, the Premier has also developed, implemented and defended a failed child protection system which was unequivocally slammed by the royal commission. He is also responsible for the economic mess that South Australia is currently experiencing. We have the highest unemployment rate in the mainland, and only 11,140 of the 100,000 jobs promised in 2010 have been delivered. We have economic growth below the national average, we have record levels of debt, and an interest bill on this in excess of $700 million in the next financial period. Transforming Health is over its budget, late and opposed by a host of medical professionals. 

Out of all of this, the Hon. Peter Malinauskas must be licking his lips. Along with the faceless men of the Labor Party he has seen the writing on the wall. Just like he was gifted a seat in this place, he will be gifted the safest Labor seat in South Australia and he will soon be gifted the leadership of the South Australian Labor Party. But a word of caution for those faceless men: I would think twice before putting a junior L-plate minister into the leadership group. Under his watch as Minister for Police, we have seen the 313 police recruitment promise broken again, we have seen the closure and scaling back of police stations around Adelaide and our prisons are overflowing. 

Most worryingly, this junior minister has no plan to combat or fix any of these issues. In fact, the Police Association have come out and said they have no trust in the minister to deliver on the 313 recruitment policy. Minister Malinauskas has made such a meal of managing that recruitment policy that after he lost the trust of the Police Association the Premier himself had to step in and backflip on the minister's failed policy. That was understandably very embarrassing for the junior minister. It is clear the member is yet to take his training wheels off and is nowhere near ready to be our next Premier if that is the wish of Labor's faceless men. 

I wonder whether the member has looked himself in the mirror and generally asked himself is he ready? I guess ultimately that is not even his decision; the question would be better directed to the STA. While I am talking about by-elections and vacancies, the other rumour that abounds in this place is, of course, that the member for Enfield is likely to retire, which I did not put much credence in but you can contemplate the super Saturday concept of a by-election in the adjoining electorates of Croydon and Enfield. 

It has been speculated also that a family member of the current speaker, the member for Croydon, the Hon. Michael Atkinson, may well be the replacement for the Hon. John Rau in the seat of Enfield. And, of course, there is speculation that it may be a Malinauskas and member for Port Adelaide, Susan Close, team as we get to the next election. 

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