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Thursday, 25 February 2010
Page: 1286

Senator FARRELL (5:20 PM) —I wish to raise an issue in relation to tourism that is important not only to me but also to the majority of South Australians. We all know that South Australia is renowned as the top wine producing state in Australia, and one of the top wine producers in the world. Major award winning international brands like Penfolds, Hardys, Yalumba, Jacobs Creek and many others are based in South Australia, in our famous wine regions: the Barossa, the Coonawarra, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale—the list goes on and on. Of course, we are very proud of that, and we like to show off our wines, not just by selling lots of it, and drinking lots of it, but also by winning all of the awards—

Senator Barnett —Not all of them!

Senator FARRELL —Yes, we win all the awards! We are so proud of our wine in South Australia that we think it should be framed and illustrated in the most illustrious and revered of fashions. We South Australians have always known the best way to take it to the other states. The best way, the only true way, to show up our rival wine-producing states—to show up your Margaret Rivers, your Yarras or your Hunter Valleys—is to announce our viticultural greatness on our numberplates. In fact, we do this with pretty much everything we produce: defence, electronics and even roses. ‘South Australia—The Wine State’ it says as we cruise around New South Wales on a driving holiday. As we pass by, we watch all those New South Welsh men and women drown in a dread of inferiority

I know Senator Forshaw, Senator Stephens and even Senator Cameron have felt this before—the dreams of the gloaters and the drivers alike, the passionate many who have invested in one of these iconic South Australian portable advertisements, were all crushed when the Australian Bureau of Statistics report announced that New South Wales had overtaken South Australia as the country’s largest wine-producing state. This was a title we had long taken pride in. Bottle shop owners and winemakers across the state were shocked. The media was in a frenzy. South Australians everywhere were storming into their sheds, heads in hand, searching for the nearest screwdriver to remove those seemingly obsolete numberplates.

But their shame was unnecessary. ‘DON’T throw your number plates away just yet’ the news site AdelaideNow proclaimed on 9 February. It seems that the claims were wrong. The ABS corrected the released figure, stating that South Australia ‘remained the largest wine producer, with 519 million litres compared to 437 million litres in New South Wales’. Of course, upon the announcement, South Australians everywhere poured into the streets. The people, previously afraid that they may have succumbed to drinking inferior New South Wales wine, cracked open bottles of Penfolds Grange and celebrated the return of our illustrious title. I will point out to the chamber the observation of a wise man I once met, who said: ‘77.8 per cent of statistics are made up’. The ABS is one of the most accurate and respected statistics bureaus in the world, so South Australians forgive them. Coal, I believe, is the biggest export of New South Wales, but I would not be putting that on my number plate.

Question agreed to.