Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


Shop Trading Hours

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector. That question is: will the minister update the council on the Malinauskas government's approach to shop trading hours reform?

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The minister hasn't even started yet. The Hon. Ms Bourke, the Hon. Ms Scriven!

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:03): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in hot chickens, which tend to be associated with this topic, and shop trading hours reform. As opposed to the completely out of order interjections that were being thrown this way by those opposite, we are doing exactly what we said we would do before the election.

We went with the policy and we are implementing the policy. I understand that this is a very foreign concept to the opposition, from their last time in government. They went to the election with GlobeLink. There was no GlobeLink when they were in government. Doing what you say you are going to do is a very strange thing and I think is a very unusual thing for the opposition, but we went to the election with a clear policy on reform for shop trading hours.

We went to the election with a policy that was supported by independent retailers, supported by the unions who represent people working in the retail industry, supported by Business SA and supported by the community, as evidenced by the election result. This government is committed to delivering results and that can be completely contrasted not just with GlobeLink and other things but with the ideological obsession of total deregulation from the former Liberal government.

The Liberal Party's failures in this area are only too well known and I will quote from the extremely comprehensive 41-page leaked report on the Liberal Party's election campaign that I am sure will be news to some of the members who aren't privy to this. I know that the Leader of the Opposition is probably aware of the 41-page report on the election campaign. It says on page 2, right up the top, that:

Some…policies for the 2018 and 2022 election were flawed, electorally unpopular and/or just politically unpalatable.

I will give you an example of one of those, since the honourable member asked me about it. Down the bottom of page 2 of the leaked 41-page report on the Liberal's election campaign, what we see is No. 4 of the policies: shop trading hours. I think it would be of great benefit to the council if I quote from what it said about shop trading hours in the leaked 41-page report on the Liberal's election campaign. What it said in relation to shop trading hours was:

This was a policy that the Marshall Government doggedly refused to walk away from despite being knocked back by Parliament, opposed by the trade unions and Business SA. It was opposed by a significant amount of small family businesses that would have been adversely affected. Unfortunately, the Marshall Government refused to yield, and the Minister would grant trading exemptions on public holidays resulting in continual bad publicity.

That is what the leaked 41-page report on the Liberal's election campaign said and it is a damning appraisal of the former government's performance delivered by some of the leading lights from within the Liberal Party, people who have had decades, close to a century, of membership with the Liberal Party—

The PRESIDENT: Order! I might have to pull you up on that.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: A former president of the Liberal Party, sir. It is a damning report. It was rejected, as it says, by unions, by Business SA. The Liberals were so focused on this ideological crusade that even sensible reform in this area was delayed by years. It is not a mistake that we will make. This government is focused on delivering real outcomes and delivering on what we said we were going to do.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: I would like to hear a question from the crossbench when everyone is silent. The Hon. Ms Bonaros.