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Monday, 9 November 2015
Page: 8055


Senator GALLACHER (South Australia) (21:50): I rise to make a contribution in this adjournment on some activities in the seat of Boothby. As senators may well be aware, the Hon. Dr Andrew Southcott has indicated he will not be contesting that seat, and so the field is open, so to speak. I would like to place on the public record that the Labor Party has a startlingly good candidate in Mr Mark Ward. Mark Ward has lived in Hawthorndene, a suburb in the electorate of Boothby, for 18 years. He and his family are involved, as normal, in all the sports and local clubs, and he has two daughters attending school in Boothby.

He works in Boothby as senior leader of mathematics and numeracy at Urrbrae Agricultural High School, and from 2004 to 2007 he was a project officer with the education department for the science and mathematics strategy, working with schools around the state from reception to year 12 on a variety of science and mathematics projects. From 2008 to 2011, he worked at the Flinders University at the Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century on strategic science and mathematics projects. Mark has also been very active in the community, serving as an elected member of the Mitcham council for over eight years, and he had a stint as deputy mayor.

The people of Boothby will get a choice. They will get a choice at the next election between a good, local, hardworking candidate and a Xenophon candidate, yet to be announced. We are looking forward to the Nick Xenophon Team announcing their candidate. They seem to have some idea that they are heavily credentialed to be successful.

I want to put on the public record that, with Dr Southcott not standing in this electorate—a seat which he has held successfully for many years and in which he has held off all challengers—the Liberal Party has now preselected a Ms Nicolle Flint. I do not know how much you, Acting Deputy President Williams, or any other senators would know about the seat of Boothby, but it is a seat where, from time to time, the Labor Party has been accused of standing trophy candidates, and not all of those candidates have been all that successful. I suppose that Ms Flint has had that baptism of fire which comes from going on FIVEaa and ABC 891.

It went a bit like this. When asked if she was a local, she gave the following response: 'Look, I'm going to make my home in Boothby. I will be living and enrolled here. The reason I've put myself up for Boothby is that Boothby has been really good to me.' She was asked, 'Well, how long have you lived in Boothby?' and she said: 'I'm going to make my home in Boothby. I will be living and enrolled here. As I said, Boothby has been very good to me.' She was asked, 'Have you ever lived in Boothby?' and she said, 'I haven't, but the preselectors of the Liberal Party in Boothby have selected me because they believe, with my work and study—' and the announcer interjected and said: 'Have you ever lived in Boothby? Where do you live?' She said: 'I'm currently staying in the city, so it's just on the edge of Boothby. I'm going to be making my home in Boothby.' The radio announcer said: 'Okay, so you're staying in the city. Where is your home?' She said: 'My home is going to be in Boothby and I'm currently looking.' The announcer said, 'It's not a trick question. Where is your home?' She said, 'My home is currently just in the city, just on the edge of Boothby. And, as I said, I'm going to be making my home in Boothby,' and the farce continued.

Matthew Abraham, a radio announcer on 891, asked: 'Michael Atkinson, the Labor Party Speaker, has said that you live near Cape Jaffa in the south-east, and I think your dad is or was the mayor down there. Is that where your home is?' She said: 'Look, my parents' farm is down there and my family has been farming down there for many, many years, so I have had the privilege of having quite flexible work and study arrangements, so I have divided my time between Adelaide and the south-east.' It goes on and on, but it just follows a continual theme. When you are asked a straight question, it is probably best to just give a straight answer. Unfortunately, there has been a history of this sort of stuff in this seat. But I can say this: our candidate lives, works and brings his family up in the seat. I do not know Ms Nicolle Flint. I have read a couple of her pieces in the media; she is an opinion piece contributor. I wish her well, as we always do at the start of any contest—both sides—ring the bell, and let us get on with the real campaign. But that was not an auspicious start.

Why do we really think that there is a contest in Boothby, a seat that the Liberal Party has held for quite a number of years? The reason we think that there is a contest in Boothby is because of the appalling damage that has been inflicted upon the South Australian economy. With the closure of Holden, we know from a quite well credentialed study of the University of Adelaide, Closing the Motor Vehicle Industry: The Impact on AustraliaApril 2014 that there will be 4,385 jobs lost in Playford. That is the main suburb around Elizabeth. We know that there will be 2,772 jobs lost in the Adelaide City council area. We know that there will be that there will be 2,447 jobs lost in the Salisbury council area, another key northern suburbs area. We find out that there will be 2,352 jobs lost in the Port Adelaide Enfield council area. The southern suburbs will be impacted with 2,042 jobs to be lost in the Onkaparinga council area and 1,449 to be lost in Marion. These are the numbers in the seats of Boothby, Kingston and Hindmarsh. Other areas will include Charles Sturt, 1,881; West Torrens, 1,554; Norwood Payneham St Peters, 629; Tea Tree Gully, 563.

So South Australians and Boothby electors are acutely aware that a couple of issues are impacting very, very severely on South Australia. The first issue is the imminent demise of manufacturing of motor cars in South Australia. That will be widespread across a number of electorates and it will impact in Boothby. We also know, through some campaigning work that my office has done in having quite a large number of phone calls and distributing quite a large number of DLs, that there is grave concern about the lack of a decision to build submarines in South Australia. I am going to put the coalition promises on the record again. The coalition committed to building 12 new submarines here in Adelaide:

We will get that task done, and it is a really important task, not just for the Navy but for the nation. And we are going to see the project through, and put it very close after force protection, as our number priority if we win the next federal election.

People understand and know that promise. We now know, as time has elapsed, that two prime ministers have been nimble enough to walk away from that promise, that three defence ministers have been agile enough to avoid committing to that promise and that not one of the 12 submarines has yet been committed to. Nearly a year ago, the minister was on the record saying, in answer to a question from me, that he would not trust the Australian Submarine Corporation to build a canoe.

This issue has resonated not only in Boothby but in the entire state, and we know this because of the activity of the Hon. Christopher Pyne, the activity of Senator Fawcett, the activity of Senator Rushton, the activity of Senator Edwards, the activity of the member for Hindmarsh, Matt Williams, and the activity of all of the other members of parliament in the South Australian contingent agitating very strongly for an improvement in the situation. They know as well as I know that you cannot move in South Australia without being asked about these types of issues. We know that the Xenophon team are going to campaign on this issue. They made it very clear and very public. I have also indicated that our candidate, Mr Mark Ward, is out there campaigning on these issues.

We also know that, when the preselected candidate for the Liberal Party was asked about her thoughts on a 15 per cent GST, her answer was, 'I'll leave that to the Treasurer, Scott Morrison.' Not an auspicious start for a candidate. As I said at the outset, I will wish her well in her candidacy and her campaign, but she should answer the questions truthfully and speak from the heart and she might do a little bit better. Our candidate will do that. Our candidate will articulate his case clearly and consistently and be on the front foot on all occasions.