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Thursday, 6 March 2014
Page: 1938


Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:35): I rise today to speak about something that is extremely important to me as a very proud South Australian, that is, the decision that will be made by the electors of my home state on 15 March. It is my melancholy duty to report to this place the very sad situation in South Australia after 12 years of Labor government. Of course for much of the period that Labor has been in power it has been wantonly aided by country Independents, who have purported to represent their generally conservative electorates but always go weak at the knees whenever Labor comes a-courting. That sounds frighteningly familiar to those of us here in the House of Representatives!

South Australia has the highest percentage of underemployment for workers on mainland Australia, according to ABS data released this week. In the year to September 2013, the number of underemployed workers increased by 11,200 in South Australia, an increase of close to 18 per cent. Of all employed persons in South Australia, nine per cent are now underemployed. This compares to a national percentage of underemployed workers of some 7.5 per cent. I think these statistics are bona fide proof that South Australian business confidence has been completely stifled by the Weatherill Labor government. No wonder many are saying that South Australia is in the midst of a jobs crisis—since the June 2013 budget 25,000 full-time jobs have been lost in South Australia. Labor has no plan to grow the South Australian economy and no plan to put our state back on track.

But there is hope. The state Liberals have a positive plan of action to put our state back on track. Only the SA Liberals can restore much needed confidence to the good people of South Australia by providing a state government that encourages their ingenuity and rewards their hard work. I am strongly encouraged by the strong team of Liberal candidates standing as part of Steven Marshall's team for the election on Saturday week, especially those who are standing for seats within Barker.

I wish incumbents Mitch Williams, Adrian Pederick and Tim Whetstone all the best for what will hopefully be their re-election on Saturday week. I also congratulate and encourage two new candidates: Troy Bell in my home town of Mount Gambier, and Stephan Knoll in Schubert. I have my fingers crossed that they are on the cusp of what will be long and successful parliamentary careers. As to Mr Bell, can I inform the House that he has made for an exceptional candidate and will make for an exceptional member if he is given the privilege. He is a leading educator who took the decision to resign his employment and focus full time on the campaign in the critical seat of Mt Gambier. He is a candidate that has achieved change through his candidature, something that is not always easy to achieve. I speak here of the Patient Assistance Transport Scheme, which will increase by $2.5 million, thanks to his advocacy; and the campaign he has launched to convince the federal government to establish an MRI licence for Mt Gambier.

Dare I neglect the Upper House. It is with a great sense of expectation that I will follow the fortunes of my good friend Ms Nicola Centofanti, a Barker local and proud Riverlander, in her quest to be elected to the South Australian Legislative Council. My state Liberal colleagues are committed to creating business conditions in South Australia that encourage our businesses to grow and prosper. I commend their commitments to cut payroll tax, introduce no new taxes and levies, and reduce business red tape—a familiar theme.

The Liberal Party wants to take Labor's handbrake off the South Australian economy and get our proud state moving again. South Australians deserve a government with better priorities to put our state back on track and, with any luck, they will elect a Steven Marshall-led Liberal government on 15 March to do just that.