Legislative Council: Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Matters of Interest

Election Campaign

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:22): If you have ever followed a team or, for that matter, anyone else in sport, or even just worked in a team environment at the office or on a job site, you would know there are certain superstars who hold up the sky. Any good team needs its captains, but a champion team is always more than that. Ask anyone who watches a one-point win by their footy team or has to stay back on a Friday to get the job done and they will tell you that it is the folks who play with heart, it is the ones who carry the team that we really like. Today, I want to celebrate them. I want to celebrate what they achieved at the last election.

Now the election is done, I often have people ask me, 'Did you win your seat?' and my answer to them is, 'We did.' As those here would no doubt be aware, I was not running. As an upper house member, I am up for election next time around. So how can I possibly win then? This election, literally thousands of people voted Labor, many of them literally for the very first time. In suburbs and towns and hamlets right across South Australia, people voted for candidates like Rowan Voogt, Ryan Harrison and Matthew Marozzi. They voted for Paul Alexandrides, Connor Watson, Trent Ames and Rick Sarre. They voted for Cressida O'Hanlon, Amy Hueppauff, Cameron Hurst, Belinda Owens and Alex Dighton.

These people will not appear on the members list in the assembly, but every single one of them put in untold hours on campaigns that changed the votes of more than one in 20 people in their electorates. For those at home, one in 20 is 5 per cent, and the fact is that for many of these people it was more like 9 per cent or close to one in 10. One in 10 people you walk past on the street, one in 10 people who catch your train, one in 10 people you work with changed their vote. This is hard stuff.

There is no doubt in my mind that many people voted for Labor policies—they voted in health, in education and the environment—but they did not do that by accident, they did it because of those who put in the one percenters, the hard gets, the unpaid overtime, the sacrifice of their own time or time with their families or just away from work, and they did it in service for the team.

But even our candidates, those who were unsuccessful on election night, did not do it on their own. They had their own heroes, their own unknown warriors, who played with heart, the ones they really like. I do not have time to mention them all, unfortunately, but I will selfishly name just a few who I worked with: Bianca Merenda, Simion Bugingo, Ryan Schumacher, Tony Pham, Peter Field, Sandra Harrison, Toby and Lachlan Priest, Peter Lamps and (yes, selfishly) Hollis Hanson and so many more.

The qualities of these people are as varied as they are vital to any team. It is not about phones called or doors knocked or really even street corners made: it is about the feeling you get when you ask someone to do the hard tasks, like asking someone to help put up corflutes in pouring rain or driving wind or drive hundreds of kilometres from their home at some sort of ungodly hour and then later, after election night, when they did not win, ringing them and asking them to take the corflutes down.

These are volunteers who helped form the Labor government. Suffice to say these are some of the best people you will ever meet, let alone campaign with. I thank them all sincerely today. Their efforts put Labor back into government after just four years. They put an extra legislative councillor in here and, frankly, made the world a nicer place to be in.

What does all this mean? Simply put, members in previously so-called safe seats, like Morialta, Heysen and Unley, even Black, will have to recommit to their electorates and deliver. If they do not—well, then the community may choose someone who will, who carries the team, who plays with heart. The really good message is this: these volunteers will be helping out federally, too, testing those in Boothby, Sturt, Grey and Mayo. The question comes down to this: did I win? No, but the team did, and now I know that South Australia is going to win, too.