Legislative Council: Wednesday, February 07, 2024


Premier's Priorities

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:47): It has been some 70 days since we were last in this chamber for private members' business and a lot has happened over the last two months, but today I want to wrap up the year that was 2023.

At the end of December, Premier Peter Malinauskas delivered his own end-of-year wrap-up in an interview with Paul Starick at The Advertiser. Which important issues did the Premier choose to highlight? What occupied his thoughts in its complexity and magnitude such that only the Premier's energy and influence could effect change? Was it the challenges facing his core promise to fix ramping and that he is sorry ramping is now twice as bad as even the worst time under the previous government, which was at that time successfully navigating COVID? No, it was not.

Was it the devastating impact of the four South Australian women murdered in seven days, just weeks before the Premier's interview, the impact on their families, our community and the safety of all women, or the fact that in 2023 in Australia one woman every five days is killed by someone they know? No, it was not.

Was it the prevalent topic of discussion around kitchen tables across our state of cost of living, after 13 rate rises and families feeling the pinch, living week to week, pay cheque to pay cheque, or those families who live in long-term rentals now facing the prospect of being homeless or living in their car due to the government's tight grip on the purse strings when it comes to relief for those most in need? No, it was not.

So what did the Premier use his vast platform to speak about at the end of the year? Which issue did he rail against and commit that he would use the full force and power of his office to change in 2024? The cricket.

An honourable member: Typical, all about the sports, not about anything of significance.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: All about sport, specifically that all the way back in May 2023, some seven months earlier, it was announced that Adelaide would lose its traditional day/night test and host the West Indies for the second time in as many seasons. No longer can the Premier argue that he is not the minister for sport, and he cannot complain about how the media chooses to portray him as he is always at sporting events with friends, whether it is at the car race, the AFL, LIV Golf or, of course, the cricket.

Our great state has lost our mantle as the world's most livable city in two short years, due to the shortsightedness and arrogance of this government thinking that the only way is their way, and the proof is currently in the pudding. I have spoken several times about how this government has the wrong priorities, but what makes the end of year article particularly galling is that on the day the Premier sat down with the journalist in his office at the State Administration Centre, on 27 December 2023, a 54-year-old man, Eddie, waited 10 hours for an ambulance. When it eventually arrived, Eddie had tragically died.

This Premier went to an election saying he had a plan to fix ramping. Instead, he and his health minister have overseen the worst ramping figures we have ever seen in this state. Eddie is just one heartbreaking example of an ongoing tragedy. In an interview with the family of Eddie, who died in agony waiting for an ambulance, it was proven that all the Premier could offer were mere words. Eddie's family saw right through what the Premier was offering with his condolences. As quoted from The Advertiser, the family said, 'Mr Malinauskas' public condolences were "insensitive" and treated Eddie as "just another statistic"'. Eddie's Aunt Brenda said:

Mr Malinauskas, you promised South Australians you were going to fix ramping. You have failed…Someone needs to step up to the mark and take account for what you have done. We don't want another family to go through this.

We don't want any more deaths. Fix the ramping, fix the health system you promised to fix…You have been in power for two years…and people are dying on your watch.

This is just one example that proves that the Premier and his Labor government, including those sitting opposite, have no plan, have the wrong priorities and are letting down South Australians. South Australians deserve better.