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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 4456

Senator FARRELL (7:20 PM) —I want to talk briefly this evening about the historic events of this morning and the election of a new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. There are many well-known things about the new Prime Minister, but one of the important things about her election is her connection with the great state of South Australia. Prime Minister Gillard is not the first Prime Minister with a South Australian connection. I am sure that you know this, Mr President, but Bob Hawke was born in Bordertown—although he spent much of his early life, as a result of his father’s religious orders, in Western Australia and then moved to Victoria. Similarly, our new Prime Minister has a very strong connection with South Australia. She went to Unley High School, a very famous and well-regarded public school in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.

Senator Parry interjecting—

Senator FARRELL —Alfred James Funerals, yes. I know them. They are on Unley Road. The reason I know they are on Unley Road is because I used them when my father passed away. I thought they gave very good service. I know you have some connections with the funeral industry there. I do not know if you have kept—

Senator Parry —Check Hansard.

Senator FARRELL —I will check Hansard now that you have invited me to do that. If you still have any connections there with them in particular, I would be very happy if you passed on my thoughts, because they were very thoughtful and considerate in what are very difficult circumstances for any family.

But as I said, our new Prime Minister went to Unley High School. She was a very good student there and graduated with flying colours, just as she has done for the rest of her career. It is interesting to note—Mr President, I think you will be interested in this—that she is not the only member of the lower house who went to Unley High. Amanda Rishworth, the member for Kingston and a very good member in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, also went to Unley High. So I think we are very privileged in this parliament to be able to say we have two South Australians in the lower house who went to Unley High.

Of course, like so many successful high school students, our new Prime Minister went on to study at Adelaide University, that great institution. There she studied law. If you look around all of the universities around Australia and around the world, one of the great universities, particularly in the study of law, is Adelaide University. I have had some personal experience there and found it to be a great institution. I think a lot of the characteristics and qualities that we now see in our new Prime Minister she built up and achieved first because of her studies at Unley high, that great public school, and then when she went on to study law at Adelaide University. It is a matter of great pride to all of the South Australian members of parliament—the senators as well as the members of the lower house—that we have this very strong connection with the new Prime Minister. One of the very good things that comes out of that connection is that, because she studied in Adelaide, she grew up in Adelaide and she went to university there, she has a greater empathy for the issues and the problems of the people in—if you want to look at it in electoral terms—seats like Boothby, Kingston, Hindmarsh and Adelaide. All of these seats are in the general vicinity of where she lived, worked and studied.

Of course, one of the things we know about the new Prime Minister is that she has a very close relationship with her parents. Both her mum and dad are still alive; she is very fortunate to have that situation. She goes to Adelaide, and I am sure she catches up with them whenever she goes there. As a little aside that you might be interested in, Mr President, at the 2007 federal election, where Labor won and won three marginal seats in South Australia—Kingston, Wakefield and Makin—my second daughter, Theresa, had the very great honour and privilege of taking the new Prime Minister’s father to the polling booth. He wanted to go down and vote for our candidate in that seat, Nicole Cornes, so my daughter volunteered to pick him up from his home in the southern suburbs—I think it is Westbourne Park. She took him down to the polling booth. He could not do anything but talk about his daughter. She was not the Deputy Prime Minister, but of course that is what she became in that election.

From the point of view of all South Australians, we feel very proud that we now have a Prime Minister with such a close connection with our state. I think the benefit for the people of South Australia is that, because she has such empathy for South Australia—because she has such knowledge of the problems and issues in South Australia—it will augur very well for the state as we lead into the election and as we go beyond that, when she gets an endorsement of her own, which I am sure you are very confident about, Mr President. I am sure you believe that that is going to occur in the relatively near future.

I think that all South Australians would want to congratulate our new Prime Minister on this occasion. We look forward to seeing that continuing relationship between her and the state of South Australia. I think it is going to be one of those relationships which will be good from her point of her view, because she has the perspective of living in Victoria but having that connection with South Australia. As she goes around the country and, more particularly, comes to South Australia, as I am sure she will continue to do, that is going to be very good for our state. I am sure she will in her new government reflect on the things that she has learnt in South Australia and on some of the problems that we have in our state, particularly water. Water is a very great issue in South Australia, of course, and I am sure that is going to be one of her great priorities in her new role as Prime Minister.