Legislative Council: Tuesday, July 05, 2022


Address in Reply

Address in Reply

Adjourned debate on motion for adoption.

(Continued from 16 June 2022.)

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (21:57): I had sought leave to conclude my remarks, and I had very few remarks left to go when we finished last time. In conclusion, I would like to congratulate the Governor on her speech and note the significant contribution to the debate made by so many other members in the Address in Reply.

There have been some very interesting contributions made by quite a number of members, both about members of the former government and the things that occurred under them that they were proud of and also about the commitments made by the current government, some which were outlined in the speech from the Governor.

With those comments, I conclude my remarks and look forward to delivering the Address in Reply to Her Excellency.

The Hon. C. BONAROS (21:58): I rise briefly to speak in reply to the address of Her Excellency the Hon. Frances Adamson AC to the opening session of the Fifty-Fifth Parliament and thank her for the opening and for her service. We welcome the 14 new members of parliament who were elected by the people of South Australia on 19 March 2022. We offer our warmest wishes and welcome to this place the Hon. Reggie Martin, the Hon. Laura Curran and the Hon. Sarah Game.

It feels as though you have been here forever now. It is an honour and a privilege to share this chamber with all of you, and we look forward to working alongside you. It is encouraging to see gender balance has been achieved for the first time in the Legislative Council—very encouraging indeed. We are finally leading by example in this place.

To the outgoing members: Rob Lucas, John Darley, John Dawkins, Russell Wortley—no, not Russell Wortley; he's here, the Hon. Russell Wortley—we say thank you for many years of service to South Australia. I am confident that all of you, except for the Hon. Russell Wortley, are enjoying a healthy retirement by now. All I can say about the Hon. Russell Wortley is give us all something of what you have because you seem to have this Teflon effect that keeps you coming back to this place for more.

To our SA-Best candidates who put themselves up for election—Ian Markos, Dr Keyvan Abak and Tom Antonio—we extend our deepest appreciation for all your hard work during the campaign. I know this was an extraordinarily difficult campaign, and you have all made significant contributions to the South Australian community, and we wish you well as you continue to do so.

There is absolutely no question that our three candidates at this election, despite not being successful in their election, worked tirelessly throughout the campaign period, as did all people who put themselves up for election at this election and every other election. When you come from the crossbench and minor parties, I can tell you that it is a thousand times more challenging than having a big party machine behind you to help you through that very complicated process, but we are extraordinarily proud of the way that you handled the election campaign, your dedication, all your unwavering support and all your hard work.

And of course to our loyal and dedicated volunteers, all of us in this place rely absolutely on the tireless efforts of volunteers. When it comes to election campaigns in particular, we call on these people every four or eight years to help us through what is a ridiculously busy, excruciating, stressful, and busy campaign period, so from the bottom of our hearts I thank you all again for your tireless support.

We are a very small party and we could not do what we do or achieve what we achieve without the loyalty of our hardworking supporters and volunteers. Of course, to our staff who are asked to go above and beyond after hours, when they are not getting paid, and work for free to help with the campaign, we are extremely thankful. I am extremely grateful and thankful also to my colleague the Hon. Frank Pangallo. It is hard being a crossbench party; it is hard being a small party. There is a lot of work, it is intense, and somehow we still manage to get to the finish line every time. We are not always successful—we were not successful this time—but I think what that shows us is nothing but the fact that we have to work harder and we have to work smarter.

To the South Australian Electoral Commission, we thank you for all your hard work, both publicly and behind the scenes, to ensure every South Australian was able to exercise their democratic right to vote after two years of the pandemic. This year, I suppose, there has been an extra layer of complexity for ECSA because they have had a by-election very shortly after the election, and in between a state election and a federal election. We understand that this has been an extraordinarily busy period for them, and we are thankful for not only their support but their efforts to make that one-on-one contact with party members like me who when I have a question I pick up the phone and ring them, and they answer and they provide those responses.

This was an unprecedented election for many reasons. We did see a one-term government—and I am sorry to say this to the opposition—fall to its knees while another party in this place ran a very disciplined, focused and strategic campaign led by the now Premier. It was on full display for all to see.

I said sometime out from the election that there was absolutely no question that this would be an election based largely on a health crisis in this jurisdiction. I maintain that position, and I think absolutely it had a huge impact on the ultimate results of the election we saw, but there are a number of things that I do not think any of us did foresee at this election.

When I say that we need to work harder and smarter, it is because this election was unprecedented in many ways. I think that people who do not ordinarily engage with politics as much as some of us probably voted with their feet in terms of a conscience vote or a protest vote for the first time in a long time, and that was on full display for all of us to see. We effectively saw the now opposition being sidelined as part of that process.

I will say this for the record: at the time that we came back to this parliament we saw what—respectfully to you, Mr President—I described as an extraordinary coup of the election of a member of the Liberal Party as President of the Legislative Council. I nominated a parade of Labor members, with the expectation that none of them were going to accept that nomination because, as I said at the time, despite it being convention that Labor would take the seat of the presidency, I think the huge difference between the two major parties that was on display was the absolute discipline and military focus of the Labor Party throughout the campaign and subsequent to that campaign.

They are a party whose members are all well aware that by one of them accepting the nomination of President its position on the floor of this chamber would have been weakened. That is not a criticism of you, Mr President. I am just stating the obvious facts. That is what happened when we came back to this place, but it is a reflection of the way the Labor Party has conducted itself.

The flip side to that is also the Labor Party's extraordinary attitude since they have taken government in thinking that this house will wave through anything that it deems to be their policies. That is simply not the way the house of review, the house of transparency, works in this jurisdiction. The numbers are such in this place that the crossbench will always play an absolutely critical and vital role in holding the government to account. I think we have just seen a display of that to an extent in terms of reforms that this government would have liked to see rammed through this place in record time without any consultation or scrutiny whatsoever.

I guess the one message I have for the government of the day is that I hope that is not a sign of things to come over the next four years in this place, because we on the crossbench certainly take our role in this place very seriously and we expect that this chamber takes its role very seriously. We will do absolutely everything to hold whoever it is that is in government, whether it is Labor or Liberal, to account and to ensure that the decisions that are passed ultimately by this place are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and pass the pub test when it comes to the public.

If there is one thing I can say about the way I approach my politics in this place—and I am not sure how others do it, but there is one thing you cannot do to anyone who is on the crossbench and that is take away our voice in parliament. You cannot shut us up. We all have an equal right to speak in this place. We all have an equal right to make our views known and we all have an equal right to ensure that the public of South Australia knows what decisions are being made, because they impact them directly.

For the remainder of time that I serve in this place, whether it is four, 12, or 36 years—God knows, I do not intend to be here for 36 years—I see my job as one to hold whoever is in government to account for their decision-making. For SA-Best as a political party, the election result was somewhat surprising and it showed us that, as I said before, we do need to work even harder and smarter than we have in the past.

There is absolutely no place for complacency, but there is absolutely, I think, a place for the centre of politics in this state and while the pendulum may have swung, I think there will come a time where it swings again. There is always, in my view, a place in the centre, as my mentor taught me. It is not always about the left or right of politics, it is about what is right and what is wrong. That is certainly the approach that I take when I sit in this role.

I would also say, and I make this comment because a lot of voters said to us, 'Some of these results are unbelievable in terms of how many seats one party got', who got a seat and the rest of it. I do not accept that. I actually think that people vote with their feet. It is a democratic election and they vote based on what they see. So, if anything, it should teach all of us that regardless of who and what party you are elected to in this place, there is always time for self-reflection about how you in your party go about making sure that voters are engaged with you and not turning away from where you stand in politics.

In our case, it is the centre of politics in favour of other political persuasions and that is certainly where I would like to remain. Our aim is to ensure that we present to the people of South Australia as a trustworthy, hardworking, strong and reliable political centrist party well into the lead-up to the 2026 election.

To the outgoing Liberal Party, can I say that, for the record, I think there were a number of things you did while you were in government that we supported wholeheartedly and you did very well and we maintain our support for those achievements. It is absolutely critical to also note that you did so in the most challenging of circumstances with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts that had on our community broadly. That is not an easy feat for anyone who is in government and trying to lead a state. So I think that, regardless of whether we were in a state of emergency, credit ought to be paid to those who led us through that and that was the Liberal government at the time.

South Australia will be recorded as one of the safest places in the world to live during COVID-19 and that is not through any lack of hard work on the part of the former government, on the part of the members of this place who supported some very drastic changes to our laws to ensure that the public was kept safe, on the part of our Chief Public Health Officer and her team and on the part of the police commissioner, who was the State Coordinator, and everyone else who was involved.

Of course, none of us could overemphasise enough the role that our health profession as an entirety has played in that. I think we all owe them a debt of gratitude for keeping us safe throughout that COVID-19 pandemic. We are still in the COVID-19 era and those doctors and nurses, medicos and ambos, frontline staff and administrative staff who work in our health sector continue—even under this government, despite the health crisis election that was—to bear the brunt of that pandemic on a daily basis, and we are by no stretch of the imagination out of the woods when it comes to the health crisis that this state has faced now for years.

Also, to the Labor government, well done and congratulations. As I said, what we were faced with was the full display of the Labor Party in full swing. Obviously, nothing was going to stand in their way of success at this election. We will continue to do what we do best in the Fifty-Fifth Parliament and hold the government of the day, now the Labor government, to account, highlighting their failures and successes and, where and when needed, collaborating with them on issues that warrant support.

Also, importantly, we will work with the rest of our crossbench colleagues—with the Hon. Tammy Franks, the Hon. Robert Simms and the Hon. Sarah Game—and of course the opposition until we strike the correct balance in the things that we do in this chamber week in and week out. With those words, I thank Her Excellency the Governor for opening this parliament. Here is to the next 3½ years.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (22:16): I rise to speak in reply to the opening speech of Her Excellency the Governor, the Hon. Frances Adamson, for the Fifty-Fifth Parliament. I would like to acknowledge the words of my colleague the Hon. Connie Bonaros and all the others in this chamber who have spoken to the Address in Reply. Firstly, congratulations to the Labor Party on their decisive win at the March poll, and also welcome to the new members in this chamber and in the House of Assembly.

We also recognise all those candidates who threw their hat in the ring and took part in a show of democracy in this state. As my colleague has pointed out, it is extremely difficult for a small party, even individuals, to win a seat in parliament. It is an honour to win a seat. Speaking on my behalf, I still feel quite privileged to be fortunate enough to be in here. Of course, we now have some new members. It is gratifying to see so many female members, mostly on the Labor side, who have been elected. I note that many of them are already making excellent contributions.

The Hon. S.G. Wade: What about this place?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Well, I haven't finished my speech, Mr President.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Interjections are out of order.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: I do make acknowledgements later on, but you cannot avoid the fact that there are not too many females in the House of Assembly on the Liberal side. Again, I am not going to be critical of that. That is the way the penny rolled and it is how democracy works in this state. In this place, I would like to welcome the Hon. Laura Curran, the Hon. Reggie Martin and the Hon. Sarah Game. I note the unexpected return of the Hon. Russell Wortley—reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated—and you, sir, as you return as President of the upper house.

To the Liberals, they do deserve recognition. They had to govern in, I would say, the most challenging time in the state's history. I would like to acknowledge the strong work that was done not only by the Premier and his ministers but also, in this place, by the ministers we had in the Legislative Council, including the Hon. Stephen Wade.

I was saying at the 2018 election and when the Liberals were elected to government that perhaps the hardest job in the cabinet would have been health minister. I would like to acknowledge that the Hon. Stephen Wade worked exceptionally hard in his position as health minister in the most trying of circumstances. He came in at a time when our health system was in utter chaos and in need of quick repair. I could not imagine the pressure he would have been under. I would also like to acknowledge his assistance when we needed to advocate for constituents. His door or his phone was always ready on that occasion. So thank you again to the Hon. Stephen Wade and the Hon. Michelle Lensink as well, when she was Minister for Human Services.

I will acknowledge that there was a strong endorsement of Labor and the Premier, the Hon. Peter Malinauskas, that they received at the election. Then we had to follow it up with a federal election and then we had a by-election. I must say that by the time all that ended I somehow had to question myself why I agreed to vote for the corflutes on our streets. In the end, we all thought perhaps we needed to have another think about it because it is such an exhausting job, as many would know, having to erect them across the state.

In relation to finding volunteers, I must say that on this occasion it was very difficult for the smaller parties to find volunteers, but I thank all the volunteers who worked not only for us, SA-Best, but for all the political parties. Having those workers is vital, particularly during an election campaign, and their assistance is certainly appreciated right up until polling day and then afterwards, having to take down those darn corflutes. It was good to see that most of them came down in the appropriate time.

I thank the Hon. Russell Wortley, who called me at one time and said, 'I have just noticed some of your corflutes are still up in a section of Adelaide.' He kindly offered to pull some of them down, and I must say I have also pulled some down, legally, of other parties when I noticed that they were not going to be coming down and they ran the risk of getting a fine. But, generally, I think everyone conducted themselves well with those corflutes.

I want to mention the number of commitments and promises the Labor Party made during the campaign, and they were significant—more than $3 billion worth of promises. I acknowledge that they have wasted little time in working to implement them, particularly the important ones in health and education. It was good to see that those two areas were getting priority, as they deserved.

While I welcome the huge spend allocated to health, it is apparent that Labor still has to put a dent into its main promise about the reduction in ramping. Our hospitals are still bursting at the seams. We need lots of doctors, nurses and paramedics. I note that other states are also clamouring for the same professionals, so I am wondering whether, in a short period of time, we could ever fulfil those jobs that are going to be on offer.

I also welcome the money to be spent jointly by the state and the federal governments on expanding the Flinders Medical Centre. I hope the government looks at finding an additional allocation of beds in the state. Quite clearly, the reason that we are having ramping should be quite evident: we do not have enough hospital beds in the system to cope.

We have a new hospital that does not have the same number of beds as the previous hospital. We have had the issue of COVID and other related illnesses, we have an ageing population and we have problems in our aged-care sector with lack of staff being able to cope with the pressures of looking after our aged. Many of them are also finding their way into the hospital system, which again causes issues. I still believe that South Australia may well be still one hospital short of what it needs.

While talking about hospitals, I note that the government intends introducing a bill later this week to make parking free at the Tea Tree Plaza shopping centre. I was quite concerned when it was announced they would be removing the free parking that was afforded to our frontline workers in our hospitals particularly. I think that is a really cruel blow at such a critical time. We are still not out of the COVID pandemic.

We are now approaching a difficult time with cost-of-living pressures that are making life difficult for many families, many professionals and many of those workers. I would have thought that the government would have taken that into consideration and extended that. I would also like to see some kind of a reward being given to all those frontline workers, recognising the efforts that they put in over the two or so years that we had to endure that pandemic.

I am a little confused also about the fate of the north-south corridor, with forecasts that the costs could blow out to perhaps as much as $14 billion. Again, I am wondering how we are going to be able to afford this as the dark economic clouds are starting to gather above us. I would hope that the minister, the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis, does give some serious consideration to a proposal that I think I have already floated in this place from former Department of Transport executive and well-respected engineer Mr Luigi Rossi, who has drawn up plans that would take at least a billion dollars off the cost of the north-south corridor and the section between Anzac Highway and Daws Road at Edwardstown.

It would involve removing those sections of tunnel and replacing them with an overhead roadway, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that predominantly it goes through industrial areas and it could save the government a lot of money and headaches in not only acquiring the property of the residents in those areas but also having to find or relocate the many businesses that will have to move should that project proceed with those tunnels.

Another perplexing thing about those tunnels was pointed out to me by Mr Rossi. While it connects close to that vital corridor that comes from the South Eastern Freeway and down Cross Road and South Road and onwards, I was quite perplexed to learn that those tunnels, by the laws that exist in this country, would not allow hazchem vehicles to use them. You have almost five or six kilometres that cannot be used by hazchem vehicles, and that includes fire appliances that would not be able to use them. You also could not have heavy vehicles that want to take that route coming from interstate or down the South Eastern Freeway. It is mind-boggling that that has been overlooked, and I hope there is a review of that to at least enable the freer flow of heavy vehicle traffic.

I note that the Premier was interviewed on Leon Byner's program on FIVEaa last week about various matters, including the contentious land tax reforms which, in opposition Labor, like us, strongly opposed. The vote on that bill was only lost by one vote in this chamber. The Premier has steered clear of perhaps making a commitment about land tax—and that happened three years ago—yet Labor and the now Treasurer, Stephen Mullighan, mounted a number of forums throughout various electorates in and around Adelaide, hearing from those who would be affected and having them think that they were going to get a sympathetic ear if Labor won office.

There was no such thing, unfortunately, because the Premier says he will not be touching taxes. That might be a good thing but there are some taxes that probably need to be reviewed—that is one of them, and stamp duty is another. I note that the New South Wales government is also looking at eliminating stamp duty and replacing it, but as far as land tax, the Premier told listeners on FIVEaa that he cannot, to use his own words, 'unscramble the egg'. Unscrambling the eggs does not seem to have been a problem for the new government when it comes to ripping up a signed contract with Keolis Downer over the running of our trains and trams.

Unscrambling the egg was easy by reversing the previous government's foolish decision to axe the Adelaide 500 motor race, or repealing the electric vehicle tax. I believe we are about to see legislation in regard to that, but it really is out of kilter already because other states in the east have already moved to incorporate this tax as a means of raising revenue for roadworks once there are sufficient numbers of electric vehicles on the road. Yet, here in this state, we have gone totally against the grain and decided that, no, we are not going to impose that tax, when it was due to come into effect in 2027. That is not going to happen according to the Treasurer.

Goodness knows where the money is going to come from for road maintenance and building of roads. Here we are with up to $14 billion we might have to spend on the north-south corridor, yet an initiative that has been adopted not just in the Eastern States—and I think Tasmania is also looking at bringing it in—but also now in other countries in Europe where they have realised that when there are more electric cars on the road and fewer gas guzzlers, fuel excise taxes are going to diminish so they need to find alternative options, and of course you could do that with EVs. But here the government has decided that they can unscramble the egg and they intend to repeal that legislation.

I also note that there have been no incentives for the speedy uptake of electric vehicles, certainly not in the recent budget. In the legislation that was passed last year there was a provision which we helped to negotiate, that registration would be waived and also that there would be cash incentives, at least in regard to the first 7,000 electric vehicles that were sold. I will add, though, that SA-Best does support the return into government hands of our rail and trams, and we hope it is extended to buses as well.

We are also looking forward to the return of the Adelaide 500 to the streets of Adelaide at the best time of the year. I commend the Premier for his advocacy on that. I will say that we, as SA-Best, joined the Premier on a couple of those protests early on and I acknowledge the efforts by many car clubs in Adelaide and other individuals who expressed their desire to see that motor race return.

I note that the Premier also had the cheek to inquire about stealing the Formula One Grand Prix back from Melbourne. I am just wondering whether he did that or somebody did it with tongue in cheek, because one would have had to ask: if you have the Adelaide 500, where is the money going to come from to satisfy the needs of Formula One? Although I am quite confident that if Adelaide one day does snare the race back we could certainly put on a fine show, as we did between 1985 and 1995.

The cost of living is now going to be the biggest challenge faced by South Australians and also the new government, particularly after today's announcement by the Reserve Bank which hiked up the cash rate by a huge 50 basis points. That is quite a significant amount. There is going to be more pain, we are told, coming down the track before Christmas. This is now going to put enormous pressure on everything from groceries through to fuel—once the fuel excise comes off—and other costs such as power bills and other costs associated with increases in the cost of living. The pressures are going to be enormous for South Australians, and it is going to be a challenge for this government to be able to meet those needs that are going to be out there.

I think another big challenge for not only the federal government but also this state government is the chronic problem of housing affordability. We have seen figures recently that show just how many people are unable to either find a home or find a rental. There is also a problem with having adequate social welfare housing for low income families. Again, you have to blame successive governments for this, going back probably to the 1970s and 1980s when they started to slowly sell off Housing Trust properties. Rather than replenishing and adding to those numbers, we have seen fewer available and it has come to the point where there is now a bottleneck. There are just not enough properties for the demand that is out there.

I think it is disappointing—shocking, actually—to hear stories of people out there, even professional people, who cannot find appropriate accommodation and also seeing that people are forced to live in caravan parks, in tents that they have to erect, or even sleep in the back of their cars. Another big issue that still needs to be addressed is the increase in homelessness and people sleeping rough in the City of Adelaide. That also needs to be addressed, although I do note that in the budget there was an allocation of funds for welfare bodies to try to assist in that.

Mr President, one of the other big-ticket promises of the Malinauskas government is the hydrogen power station to be built in your neck of the woods in Whyalla. Hopefully, it will not disrupt the cuttlefish up there at Port Bonython. But again, it is a huge spend. It is a risk because there are not similar plants like this anywhere else in the world, but you have to give it to Labor and the Premier for their audacity and perhaps their lateral thinking in looking at providing additional supply of power to the state and also to a grid that is in need of instant repair. It is a grid that is lurching under the weight of demand, not just in this state but also elsewhere around the country.

With it, we are starting to find that power bills are going through the roof and hopefully we can see them come down, because before the Liberals won the last election, also Labor, they promised to bring down power bills, and that has not happened. We still have in South Australia the highest power bills of anywhere in the world, so those promises have not been kept. I acknowledge the work of previous Labor Premier Jay Weatherill and the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis in their push for renewables in this state where we now see the state as one of the leaders in the world for producing renewable energy with massive wind farms and solar farms.

I am also detecting that those providers, the owners of those facilities, are starting to game the system. Only last week, I received a video from a constituent living at the base of the Flinders Ranges. He called me and said, 'I have just gone past the wind farm near Port Augusta. It was an ideal day to produce electricity.' I think he said it was around 21 knots, a perfect day for those wind turbines to be moving. There were 46 of them, yet not one of them was moving. They were all shut down.

I wonder what the reason for that was last week. I am hoping that it was not an attempt to try to manipulate the wholesale price of electricity because, if it was, I think there needs to be an investigation, and I hope that the ACCC does start to investigate the manipulation of power prices in this country by some of the power providers.

Another thing I would welcome from the Malinauskas government is the placing of specialist teachers in our schools to work with students with autism or those with neurodiverse issues. This is a much-needed measure. I commend the Premier for recognising this need in our community. I do not think people are really aware of just how serious a problem it can be for many families that need to adjust their lives and also be able to work with kids who have these disorders.

It is a real challenge for them and it is also a real challenge for teachers in our schools to be able to recognise these problems. It was only a few years ago that these kids were not really well catered for in our public school system. Many of them fell through the cracks because the specialist teachers, specialist learning and specialist programs were just not there for these kids to be able to benefit from an education.

As we have seen, more kids are now being diagnosed with these neurodivergent disorders. They are in need of assistance and they are in need of help at school. It is a great initiative by Labor to ensure that there are specialist teachers in place in these schools to look after these kids to ensure that they do not miss out and they can make a valuable contribution to the community once they finish school rather than be forgotten or ignored. Again, commendations to Labor for that initiative.

I also note that there will be an additional five TAFE colleges built. They will be important in boosting much-needed skills in this state. We know that industry, particularly the construction industry, is suffering from the lack of skilled workers. There are not enough apprentices coming through the system. The demand that is going to be there for these skills, particularly in our defence industry, is something that requires a lot of work and dedication from governments to address this problem.

I am also pleased to see that there is additional funding going to the Australian Space Discovery Centre at Lot Fourteen. I actually made my first visit to that centre; it was the first time I was able to walk into Lot Fourteen. Previously, we had to get consent from a minister for a politician to be able to go in there. I was able to visit last Sunday with a group of people from the South Australian Italian Association, and we were hosted by Adjunct Professor Nicola Sasanelli. It was a tremendous experience to see what is going on in there.

Again, I have to commend the previous Liberal government for allocating funding for that—and the Labor government, I must say, as well played a part in that previously—ensuring that South Australia was now the focal point of a burgeoning space industry centred in South Australia, but certainly one in Australia. What is actually happening there, the extent of this industry and how much is involved is an eye-opener. I do not think many people out there realise what the demand will be of the space industry from a commercial aspect.

We know that already Australia is involved in space projects in collaboration with other countries like the United States, and also in an exploratory sense, but this is in a commercial sense. It is a multibillion dollar industry and it is one that is growing all the time. It was great to see that at Lot Fourteen there is active research work going on in the production of small, what they call, cube satellites and other microsatellites that are put into orbit from launch pads. In South Australia, we are going to have one certainly on the West Coast—there was a successful launch the other day from Arnhem—and also one in Central Australia. There will be launch pads in Queensland, and that is an indication of the demands that are going to be there for a commercial space industry.

These satellites are vitally important for various sectors of the community in industry and agriculture. They have been of great assistance in emergencies, such as bushfires. I would imagine that, with the crisis in the floods that have occurred on the east coast, space does actually play a vital role in the observation of many industries and also in our communications.

Let's not forget that is also an important role of this type of technology, the communications they provide, and not just through watching our streaming services on television, for instance, but for emergency services and others who rely on virtually instantaneous communications from satellites. We now take it for granted with GPS services in our vehicles and our phones, but that is only made possible by the satellites orbiting the Earth.

Something else you can see at Lot Fourteen in the space centre—again, this was quite an eye-opener for me—is the number of satellites that are in orbit around the Earth. Something like 27,000 pieces of metal are circling the Earth, and there are a great number that are either no longer in use or are discarded space junk. What has to happen in that regard is that they need to be able to monitor the movement of all those small satellites orbiting the Earth to avoid a potential collision. That is quite a job, when you see an image with all the satellites that are there.

The technology is here in Adelaide, as well as in other parts of the country, where they can manoeuvre satellites out of the way to prevent a collision of those objects. It was pointed out to us that you can come perilously close to closing down communications around the world if there are simultaneous collisions of satellites in orbit, that is how critical it is. It is ingenious how they can slightly change the direction of a small satellite to ensure there is no prospect of a collision happening. Again, this is all happening at Lot Fourteen, and you can go and see it. I am told that something like 600 visitors a week go there and are amazed at the work going on.

There is also incredible research going on there in conjunction with the space centre. One mentioned to me was about how we get rid of the space junk floating around the Earth. There is some research going on where they hope to scoop that junk and then use it for thrusting, as energy or power for spaceships. There is amazing work going on.

There is also work going on in regard to research for the manned Mars mission. Who knows when that will happen. I do not think it will happen in my lifetime, because if you look at the risks that are currently involved it could well be a suicide mission. However, there is active research going on at Lot Fourteen into the physicality of what would be involved for astronauts.

It was pointed out that an astronaut who spends 400 days on the International Space Station loses something like 10 years' worth of bone density and muscle in that time—10 years in 400 days—and it will take two years just to get to Mars. You can imagine the enormous strain that will put on a human body. So there is active research going on here.

I am sorry I have digressed, but I found it really interesting the other day to see what was going on there, because many people go past that place every day not thinking about what actually goes on behind those walls. It is not all about space exploration, putting a man on the Moon or Mars; it is also about the commercial realities of space and some new areas that are opening up, including space law.

We are also informed that there are only six treaties that actually cover space. That also needs to be addressed as well, along with things like who is in control of satellites and all that sort of stuff, important work that is going on there. Again, congratulations to both Labor and the Liberals for pouring money into that and giving us a centre that we should all be proud of. I am sure that one day it will put us right back into the race, as we were back in the 1960s when we had rockets taking off at Woomera. I would also thank Nicola and congratulate him on the work he has done. He informed me on the weekend that he is going to retire shortly, but he has done a fantastic job at Lot Fourteen.

Finally, I want again to acknowledge the service to the people of South Australia by all those members from this who either retired or were not re-elected in March: the Hon. Rob Lucas for his enormous contributions for over 40 years in this place, both in opposition and as a minister and Treasurer. I know that both my colleague Connie Bonaros and I valued his input, guidance and, I must say, his wit as well.

I acknowledge the Hon. John Dawkins, the previous President of the Legislative Council, and the Hon. John Darley. In the other place, I acknowledge the Hon. Dan van Holst Pellekaan, the Hon. Vickie Chapman, Mrs Carolyn Power, Mr Steve Murray, the Hon. Rachel Sanderson, Jon Gee, Peter Treloar, Corey Wingard and, of course, Frances Bedford and Richard Harvey, who are no longer in the House of Assembly—again, our thanks for their years of service to the people of South Australia. With that, I will end my filibustering and thank you.

Motion carried.

The PRESIDENT: I advise honourable members that Her Excellency the Governor will receive the President and members of the council at 3.30pm tomorrow for the presentation of the Address in Reply.