Legislative Council: Thursday, February 08, 2024



Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill

Second Reading

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (11:02): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I am the lead speaker for the opposition and look forward to contributions from many of my colleagues. What a week of backflips. Mad March has come early. We find ourselves here again in a position today to confirm yet another backflip by the Labor Party—not one but three bills this week. As the opposition leading the legislative agenda in this state, we are very pleased that Labor is finally supporting this bill that came from the Leader of the Opposition near on two years ago.

David Speirs and myself are now moving this bill to ban corflutes on public infrastructure. By way of history, we can look at the title: The Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill 2023. Whilst 2023 ended almost 40 days ago, this legislation was not an end of year piece; it was introduced on 3 May in the other place, almost 280 days ago.

With control of the House of Assembly agenda, any time it was brought to a vote the Labor Party voted it down. Ten times the Labor Party did not care about the environmental impact these single-use plastics had. Ten times the Labor Party did not care about the visual pollution on our high streets and roads, plastered everywhere to make it known certainly that the election was happening. But yesterday, with great urgency, they finally relented, saw sense and backflipped again to the Leader of the Opposition's bill—

The Hon. R.A. Simms: Pressure from the Greens. It works.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: —from May 2023. With support from the Greens, thank you, Mr Simms. We wonder which of the rogue gallery corflutes the Labor Party was most afraid of at the upcoming Dunstan by-election. Was it the corflute that showed that Labor has delivered the 20 worst months of ramping in all of South Australian history? Was it the corflute showing the latest figures were the third worst ramping of all time? Was it that in almost two years since the now infamous promise to fix ramping, the Premier has failed and it only seems to get worse? Or, more simply, are they scared of a simple messaging corflute: 'Labor is failing on its core election commitment'?

Could they be scared of the corflute showing the energetic and professional woman running for the Liberal Party, Dr Anna Finizio? There would be a few corflutes required to talk about all her achievements. It does make you wonder: why the rush? What could possibly be going on? After voting 10 times against a bill that would protect the environment, it took a by-election in the leafy streets of Dunstan for the Labor Party to realise that they needed to brush up on their green credentials.

On this side we have a proud history of protecting the environment and opening it for greater, easier and free access, not locking it up like those opposite wanted. Under the leadership of Leader of the Opposition David Speirs we introduced the single-use plastics ban in September 2020. Initially, the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic straws and cutlery were banned, with an ambitious agenda to further ban single-use plastics going forward.

These bans were well supported in the community, as they join in an effort to reduce reliance on single-use plastic that mostly ends up in landfill. Consistent with that community support, South Australians have backed the movement to ban corflutes but, as we have seen this week with a series of backflips on issues they care about, Labor is very slow to the party. However, we gladly take their support on this and other issues too.

From a single-use perspective, corflutes have limited opportunity for recycling. It can be done but it is very complex and at this stage there are very few options. The environmental impact goes further than the corflutes do, as to attach to public infrastructure they use wire and cable ties and other single-use items. Visually the pollution is massive, contributing to diminished roadside safety, amenities and with other distractions we all could frankly do without. I am very proud to take carriage of this bill and I commend the bill to the chamber.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (11:07): I rise to speak in favour of the Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill 2023. The Greens have long advocated for a ban on corflutes on public spaces. We have done so for a range of reasons. We recognise, as the honourable member has identified, that corflutes are single-use plastics. Indeed, as my colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks remarked the other day, this parliament has banned the use of single-use plastics except, of course, when it features the images of politicians.

I think that is a point of rank hypocrisy that rankles members of the community as they go about their daily business and face the visual pollution that comes from these corflutes, as well as the impact that it has on the environment in terms of them ending up in landfill. That is not the case with a candidate like myself, who has run for office many times and dusts off corflutes over and over—I am all for recycling—but there are candidates who change their corflutes every time and that is not a good thing in terms of the environmental impact.

I think it is worth looking at the history of this reform. I think it is true to say that this parliament has dealt with this matter many times over many years, but we might finally be on the cusp of actually getting something through. The two major parties have often had different positions on this. Indeed, the Rann Labor government tried to ban corflutes under the leadership of the then Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, but that push tanked with opposition from the Liberal Party.

Then when the Liberals were in government, they tried to ban corflutes. That effort tanked with the opposition of the Labor Party and, I should point out, the Hon. John Darley, who originally I think at one point pointed out that he was in favour of banning corflutes and then performed a miraculous backflip and voted quite a different way for reasons that are still not clear to me or, potentially, the Hon. Mr Darley some could say.

I am pleased that we have finally reached a point where we are going to actually deal with this matter. I think what really has been the catalyst for this renewed push is a letter that I sent to the Premier on behalf of the Greens on Tuesday of this week, urging him to finally take action on this issue, recognising that we were heading into another by-election—yet another election—where the people of Dunstan were going to not only face another election in two years but were also going to face the spectre of more corflutes. I said, 'Look, we've got this by-election coming down the line. Let's finally deal with this. I recognise that the opposition has a bill. Why don't you dust it off and make it happen?'

Well, pressure works: pressure from the Greens works, and we welcome the fact that the government has taken this issue up and made it a priority. We made it very clear that we were happy to cooperate with the government to get this done and the Hon. Tammy Franks and I welcome the opportunity for this reform.

The features of the bill have been identified by the Hon. Heidi Girolamo, so I will not go through all of those, but I might just briefly speak to some of the amendments that the Greens will be moving to save time in the committee stage. Back when the Hon. Vickie Chapman, then Attorney-General, proposed this reform in the last parliament, I had negotiated a number of amendments with her that we saw as being quite important safeguards against unintended consequences.

Some of those amendments related to putting into the act the provisions of the Public Assemblies Act to make it clear that members of the community could still carry signage and posters at public rallies and events. For instance, despite the Labor Party's best efforts to prevent them, we do still have protests happen on the steps of our parliament and we wanted to make it clear that members of the community can still carry signs, so we are putting that into the bill.

We are also making it clear that candidates or indeed politicians can still have A-frames out in public space and that signage would be permitted. Our amendments would also allow for the practice of wobble boarding, which I see from social media some members of this chamber are very keen on, so I expect them to support these sensible amendments as I have seen on social media they have been very active out wobble boarding in recent days. I am sure they do not want to see that activity being prohibited.

The other elements of the Greens' amendments speak to what constitutes an advertising poster. Under the previous Vickie Chapman bill, which I think the Hon. David Speirs' bill has been modelled on, the legislation was to prohibit the corflute material, which is in effect single-use plastics, but I think it was always the intention of the minister—at least by my understanding, the intention of the minister at that time—to prohibit election posters being on public space. It was about the single-use plastics, but it was also about the poster material.

The way the legislation was written meant that people could circumvent that. These provisions were applied to the Local Government Act and so what we saw was some local government candidates using cardboard cutouts and cardboard posters to try to circumvent the rules. This amendment tidies that up, because whilst the Greens have a concern about the environmental impact of corflutes, our concern is also about the equity element and the arms race that this sets off.

If you are a small player and you are wanting to compete in an election, you could be having to spend a fortune on getting these posters designed and getting them up and about. They cost about $7 a pop, so we wanted to close that loophole as well, and stop what is, in effect, a pollution of our public space. We are also wanting to make it very clear that you cannot hold a street-corner meeting outside of a polling place on election day.

One of the other elements that we have sought to deal with is this issue that comes through in the act around posters or signs being placed on behalf of candidates. We could foresee a scenario where maybe an overzealous volunteer is putting up posters or a scenario perhaps where another party puts up posters that are masquerading as another political party's materials, and that could therefore take up the permissible number of posters for a party or candidate. We did not think that was fair, so our amendment is to make it clear that the consent of the candidate is required in relation to that.

We note that, where this occurs in relation to the Legislative Council candidates, the requirement of the lead candidate on the ticket, the candidate whose name appears at the top of the ballot paper, would be required. There are a number of amendments that flow through from that general principle which are consequential.

Another amendment we deal with is to increase the number of corflutes that a candidate can display on election day. The previous proposal from the Liberal Party was six. In the Greens we felt that was maybe a little bit too restrictive on election day. If you had a situation where you had lots of polling entrance points, we wanted to make sure people could still get their message out, so we propose to double it to twelve.

I have spoken a bit about the issue around consent. We also wanted to recognise this issue around authorisation of materials. The current rules provide that a candidate would only be liable for an offence of placing additional corflutes where they gave consent for this to occur. That is certainly what we are proposing through our amendment, but we did not want a situation where political parties could try to circumvent the offence provisions by maybe using a campaign manager or a surrogate to permit the placing of the corflutes. We have added in a new provision under amendment No. 15, and I will talk a little bit more about that when we get to it, but in effect it is also making it an offence for a party director or party manager to authorise those materials and have them displayed on their behalf.

To that point, the bill as it currently stands makes the candidate or the lead candidate, in the case of a Legislative Council group, responsible for all corflutes that are distributed in their seat. As I understand it, that is to ensure that there is someone who is ultimately responsible, and that individual volunteers are not being fined for following orders from campaign HQ. I get that, but I do not believe that when we know that a candidate has not consented to the distribution of materials on their behalf they would still be liable, and that is, I think, particularly true where another political party might be pulling out posters as some sort of tactic.

I cannot imagine why another political party would do such a thing, why it would masquerade as another political party, but sometimes these things happen, so it is an important loophole to close. In order to address that issue and ensure there is some accountability the amendment would create a new offence applicable to the person who authorised the material. In most cases that would be the registered officer of a political party, understanding for our party, the Greens, it is the state director. I think it is the same for the Liberal Party. I understand that would be the state secretary of the Labor Party. So that would ensure that there is somebody who is ultimately responsible for the materials that are being put out by the political party, and that occurs under the bill as it currently stands.

I note that there is a scenario that has not been addressed in the bill where unauthorised posters are being displayed, but we also recognise that that is already an offence under the Electoral Act. The bill also gives the power to the presiding officer at the polling place to remove those materials, and we think that is important, so that if someone is doing the wrong thing that material can be taken down.

I suspect that in practical terms, when you are looking the election day itself, the power to remove those materials would be very important. Nonetheless, I think the offence provisions included in the bill, which we are seeking to amend, are also really important in terms of trying to deter parties from intentionally breaking the rules and trying to gain political advantage, so we are trying to close that loophole.

To that end, one of the other issues we are proposing to include is giving the Electoral Commissioner the power to issue a formal written warning to a person who commits an offence under the bill relating to too many corflutes on election day. Again, what we did not want was a situation where you might have a really overzealous volunteer who turns up and puts too many posters in the wrong spot. It is a genuine mistake. Under the wording of the act as it currently stands, the lead candidate would face a significant fine, and it reads as if there is no opportunity to try to caution them and remedy the behaviour.

Under what we are proposing the commissioner would be given the power to give the candidate a caution and say, 'You need to take that down.' If they do not do so, they could issue the fine or they could go straight to a fine in the case of a serious breach, but it is giving a little more discretion to the commissioner so that we are not seeing people being pinged if there has been a genuine mistake or error.

That is a good summary of the amendments the Greens are seeking to advance. I will talk more about those at the committee stage, but that gives a good summary of the key general principles. It is fair to say that we have approached this in terms of wanting to make sure there are commonsense protections for all people who participate in our political process—candidates and members of the community more broadly. We are proposing some powers be given to the Attorney-General as well to make regulations as necessary. That is because there might be some particular exemptions required that we have not thought of.

A scenario mentioned to me is: if someone has a bumper sticker on the back of their car and has it parked on the side of the road, could they be captured under the provisions? It does not seem that they should be, but that is not really clear. We wanted to give the minister the power to make some regulations for those sorts of scenarios. It would be my hope that in crafting those regulations the minister would look at what works in other jurisdictions in terms of coming up with some of those carve-outs.

In crafting these amendments, I engaged with the current opposition, the Liberal Party, at the time under the leadership of then Minister Chapman, but we have also engaged with the Attorney-General's office in relation to some of the other elements as well. I want to apologise to members that the amendments were sent out very late last night. I am genuinely very sorry about that. I would like to have given people more time to consider them, but we were waiting for some of them to come back from the drafters. I did, however, contact the Hon. Heidi Girolamo to give her a general overview of some of the things we were seeking to address. I recognise that some of these will not be new to the Liberal Party, given that they were dealt with during the last period of parliament.

In closing, the Greens welcome this. We have been pushing this for a long time. The community will be breathing a sigh of relief if the parliament finally does away with corflutes. Our political parties' candidates should be judged on the merits of their policies and we should have a political system that puts the focus on that. I was on the FIVEaa Matthew Pantelis program the other day talking about this, and I said that politics is not a beauty pageant. He said, 'You've got that right.' I was not sure what he was meaning by that, but really we should be, I think, judged on our policies, not simple slogans and the like. This brings South Australia into line with other jurisdictions and is something that will be welcomed by most people in the community.

The Hon. S.L. GAME (11:24): I rise briefly to put on the record that I will be supporting the Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill. I think the public have made it clear that they do not like the influx of corflutes that we see around election time, and I agree with the sentiments that have already been made that, really, candidates should be elected on engagement and advocacy with the community. I want to acknowledge the Leader of the Opposition in the other place for his advocacy in this area and also the Hon. Robert Simms, although I have not been privy to any of the amendments; I do not believe they were emailed to me. Nevertheless, I support the Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill and look forward to its passage hopefully this morning.

The Hon. C. BONAROS (11:25): I rise also to speak on this bill. I am a little bit more cynical than my friend the Hon. Rob Simms, especially when it comes to the timing of this bill, I must say. I think the writing has been on the wall for some time that we were going to be having this corflutes debate, but there is nothing like a bit of prompting, to use the now Attorney's words from the previous debate that took place on this issue—I am sorry to do this to you, my friend—'at the eleventh hour, well into the final quarter, with the umpire deciding to change the rules to hurry things along'. They were the words of the government at the time. Here we are once again, only this time it is not the eleventh hour—

The Hon. K.J. Maher: Two years: not even half-time.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: They did. They had a very long time. I stood shoulder to shoulder with the opposition and was appalled by the former Attorney-General's actions at the time because there were a number of really significant amendments that were being made in that bill, including corflutes, which they had two years to make, and they decided at the eleventh hour to make some very significant changes to the way that elections play out in this state. Nobody was going to cop that, and I was pleased to stand next to my colleagues to oppose it and ensure that did not happen.

But here we are again, and this time it is not a statewide election but rather a by-election. I do have some amendments that we are still drafting. One has just been filed in fact, and I will speak to that in a moment. The first is aimed at the inequity for minor parties but more so for Independents as well. With respect to my colleague from the Greens, even under the amendments by the Greens, they are still disadvantaged if they do not stand candidates in both houses.

If you are an Independent candidate under either model, under all the models, and you are standing for election in one of the houses of parliament, then the reality is you are disadvantaged by this because there is nothing actually requiring the additional number of corflutes that we are seeking to have available on election day to promote even the lower house candidate if you are an upper house party. It simply promotes the party.

Even in the case of a minor party—us, the Greens, One Nation—if we are standing a candidate in a lower house seat, then at that booth we will be able to promote either that candidate or the party. An Independent who is running for a seat—and they may be running for a seat in this place—under both scenarios will only be able to use half the advertising material on election day.

I can clarify this when we get to the amendment, for the Leader of the Opposition, but if there is one thing that I do know after a very long time in this place it is that corflutes, love them or hate them—and we all hate them and hate having to find an army to put them up—have been really important tools for Independents and minor parties. Their importance is magnified on election day because there are two things that you are relying on on election day, and that is volunteers and people who are willing to stand there and promote the candidate who is running, and the easiest and most common way of doing that is by using a corflute.

If I am at one of those big booths that the Hon. Rob Simms has spoken of, and I am an Independent running for election, and I have a cap of six corflutes available to me but another minor party has 12 available to them because they are running candidates in both houses then I am already on the back foot. It is worth remembering that those additional six that that party has do not have to actually reflect the lower house candidate. They can simply reflect the party brand. So I guess if you want more posters, then you run more candidates, and that is a pretty terrible way of doing this, really.

My thinking on that front is given there are no rules around actually having to advertise the lower house candidate, then come up with one number and make it apply equally across the board to everybody. If you are going to have six, or if you are going to have 12, then let the parties decide what they are going to be featuring on those corflutes, within the rules. Let them decide whether it is going to be a corflute advertising the Labor Party or the Labor candidate, the Liberal Party or the Liberal candidate, the Greens party or the Greens candidate, the SA-Best party or the individual candidate, or whoever else it is—One Nation, whatever the case may be—but do not do more to disadvantage the Independents and minor parties who run for election. That is my main concern around those provisions.

As I said, the writing has been on the wall for some time around corflutes, but they are—and we have acknowledged that by virtue of the fact that we have put these exemptions in there for election day—a critical tool for minor parties and Independents, who simply do not have the resources of the major parties when it comes to advertising.

I think we are all looking at this knowing that this is going to be social media warfare in the lead-up to the next election. Everyone is using all the new and latest technology to reach their voter bases, and a lot of this will play out online. I do not think we ever could have anticipated—and I do not think that when we initially started with the concept of corflutes we ever anticipated—having, like we did at the last election, people holding spots on streets only for those corflutes to change as the election cycle continued and to have streets lined the way they have been.

I remember North Terrace and South Terrace as I drove into work one day just before the last election. Overnight all the volunteers had been out and busy replacing the nice smiling face of the now Premier with a very—I do not even know how to describe the posters that went up in terms of the advertising. It was around ramping, and I remember one with the member for Dunstan's face, the former Premier. We never anticipated that we were going to be bombarded with streets in Adelaide lined with this sort of political advertising. That was not really the intent of those corflutes, but that is what it became. They became a very important tool.

Certainly, it actually diminished our capacity to be able to use them as well, because it was, firstly, hard to find a piece of real estate to put up a corflute. It was virtually impossible, when you had an army out at midnight, ready to go across the state. They were not promoting a face; they were promoting a political campaign, whether it was ramping, whether it was the basketball stadium. We all remember them. Greenhill Road was awash with basketball stadium corflutes—every second post.

That also drowns out the Independents and minor parties, and I do not think that was ever the intention, because that is certainly not about promoting the advocacy of an individual person who is running for election. So there is that point. I note the Hon. Robert Simms had a very different view when he came into this place on the issue of corflutes. He had campaigned during local government for them to be banned and, indeed, they were banned in local government elections.

In the time that is available to us—and it is not very long by any stretch of the imagination because here we are trying to do this at the eleventh hour before a by-election—we have had to be very crafty in our office about our drafting, but I am sure that everyone in this place who has supported bans on single-use plastics will be pleased to know that if we are so vehemently opposed to single-use plastics, and so vehemently opposed to corflutes, then we ban them across the board, and that includes federal elections.

It is tricky trying to ban corflutes in federal elections right now because of the way that we are dealing with this debate but, fortunately for us in this place, who across the political divide—Labor, Liberal, Greens, me, SA-Best—we have all stood in this place and made very convincing arguments about the need to ban single-use plastics. The amendment that I have just filed, will actually be able to deal with the issue of federal elections to ensure that the ban applies across the board. I hope the government has consulted with its federal colleagues on this ban, via the single-use plastic bans that we have so happily supported and so vehemently supported in this place previously.

In short, if we are going to allow corflutes to be banned for local government, if we are going to allow them to be banned for state government, then it is only reasonable we do so for federal elections as well. We can do that by ensuring that, unless a poster is made from a biodegradable or compostable material approved by the Bioplastics Association or whichever other body is responsible under the Environment Protection Act, the same limitations will apply when it comes to corflutes.

That is a very sensible and reasonable measure to ensure that all elections are treated the same when it comes to corflutes, and it is entirely 100 per cent consistent with the views that have been expressed in this place, the environmental factors that have been raised both in the context of this debate but also in the debate surrounding single-use plastics.

I will speak to that amendment when we get to it further but I also indicate that, as we speak, we are still trying to work through another measure, and if I have to do that on the floor in this place then I will, to ensure that that inequity that I spoke of earlier, when it comes to Independents, is addressed. There is no reason why an Independent person running for election should be disadvantaged by comparison to either of the major parties or, indeed, any of the minor parties.

It is only fair that if we are going to allow corflutes—which I say, on election day, do play a critical role—it is only fair that we have a level playing field and that the rules are the same for everybody. Let your party decide what message and whose face is going to go on those posters but at least level the playing field because we know in this place, and particularly in South Australia, the importance—and in fact we have just seen it at the federal election as well—of having Independents and minor parties elected to our parliaments when it comes to scrutinising government legislation and conducting ourselves in this place.

With those words, I indicate for everybody's benefit that there is one amendment that has been filed and there is another on its way and, depending on the speed with which we move through this, if I have to seek to amend it on the floor then I will do that to ensure that level playing field.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (11:39): I rise to say that I will support this legislation. Even though previously I have supported the use of corflutes in past elections, it is quite clear that the public of South Australia do not like them and they see them as a visual blight. I was torn between that and also what others have spoken in here about in relation to the ability for smaller political parties and Independents to advertise themselves without bearing a great deal of cost.

At the last state election, I have to admit that I suffered from corflute fatigue after having to, firstly, put them up, and if I did not get up there in time, it was a bit of a disadvantage for somebody as challenged as I am with my height to try to get either above or get a ladder that was tall enough for me to place a corflute.

Then, of course, after the election, was the chore of having to go and pull them down and then remember where you put them, and then be reminded by a lot of angry callers on talkback radio saying, 'You forgot to do it there. I saw his face here. I saw that mug there. Somebody needs to go and pull them down.' Then, you were getting calls from local government that were threatening to impose penalties because they had not been pulled down in time. Also, as has been mentioned, unfortunately, there is the lack of volunteers that some candidates would have had to enable them to carry out this type of work.

In saying all that, I have to say that corflutes were a very effective form of political advertising. We saw that with what Labor did in the last election in relation to its ramping posters. We also saw that in the 2018 election. I clearly remember going down Port Road and seeing a forest of corflutes relating to education and other promises that they were making in relation to trying to be re-elected at that time. They were just everywhere.

Then, of course, there is the usual bunfight that occurs on polling day when you try to find a spot for your corflutes to get in before somebody else does. Occasionally, you even have corflute rage, where members from parties and others start bickering over positions of corflutes and whatever. Nonetheless, I think the public of South Australia have spoken often enough and loud enough to say that enough is enough, they are a visual blight when travelling, people do not like them and it is time they were done away with.

In relation to the manufacture of these products, of course, we do know that they are from plastic. It was interesting that, after the last election, we were able to find a person who was able to recycle corflutes. I remember pulling into his yard and seeing tens of thousands of corflutes from various candidates and political parties all stacked up outside there.

I remember, while I was pulling some corflutes down at Pooraka on Bridge Road, being pulled up by a painter who wanted the stack of corflutes I had. I said, 'What do you want those for?' and he said they are fantastic to not only kneel on when you are painting skirting boards, but they have a great edging for painting. He said, 'They are a fantastic addition to my tools,' so I said, gladly, 'Take them.' So off he went with about one hundred and something corflutes, which he was going to use for his business—but he will not be able to do that anymore.

The Hon. E.S. Bourke: Frank side up?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: You never do it with the printed side up, do you? You do it down. That is the best way to use a corflute. I note that when I visited Norway in 2019, just pre COVID, at the time of their local government elections, the Norwegians had a novel way of promoting their candidates. They still used corflutes but they were not displayed in public areas on telegraph posts and the like.

The Norwegians only allowed candidates to operate in specific areas in the city. There was an area, or parkland, reserved where they were able to set up their booths. It enabled them to set up electioneering slogans and corflutes, but there was certainly a control on the number of them. At the time I was impressed by the very clean way in which they were able to conduct their election campaigns using corflutes. But, again, the various jurisdictions are doing away with them because of the issue with the use of plastics.

In saying that, I will be sad to see them go in a way, glad in another. I wonder whether some of those corflutes from the last election and some of those coming up may one day, long after I am gone, become collectors items. Somebody may see some value in having those somewhere down the track in the future.

I will acknowledge a comment that the Hon. Robert Simms made about the display of corflutes on public roads. I guess it is something that needs to be canvassed as to where you can actually place them and whether they can be placed on private property. We saw that in the last election where corflutes were placed on private property. However, I know that there are certain councils that do not approve of having any form of advertising displayed on fencing or private property, so I will be interested to see what the Local Government Association and individual councils will have to say following the passage of this legislation. I guess there is nothing to stop parties or individuals parking a whole range of trucks on private land that are just totally loaded with electioneering slogans.

I will say that I will be supporting the amendments moved by the Hon. Robert Simms. I acknowledge the lateness of them, but I had a look at them this morning and I will concur with the intent of his amendments. I note that there are other late amendments coming in. We just have to see the cynicism here of this legislation coming before the House of Assembly yesterday and now being brought up to the Legislative Council on the eve of a by-election in the seat of Dunstan. Again, it is the Premier being Popular Pete, I guess, because talkback radio yesterday was in thunderous applause of the measure that is being taken. It is a populist move, nonetheless.

It is done, quite cynically, on the eve of the Dunstan by-election. If this legislation was not passed and we still were able to put up corflutes in that seat, you can imagine what the Liberals would have been putting up in relation to broken promises about ramping and the like. It would have been rather embarrassing, I would say, for the current government to have to confront all these images of a promise that they have failed to keep so far, in a seat that really is hanging by a thread with barely a majority of 250. It is interesting and, as I have said, I am quite cynical that this would suddenly pop up now rather than further down the track.

A point was made about federal elections. We obviously want to see that if states follow it should naturally follow for federal elections. Some comment was made about beauty pageants. I have to say, the beauty pageants for state elections are much cleaner than they are for our federal colleagues, and certainly the creativity in state corflutes has been actually quite good. In saying that, I will be supporting the amendments by the Hon. Robert Simms. I look forward to a speedy passage of this bill and farewelling those corflutes that we have now and sending them to the tip.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (11:49): I rise today in full support of the Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill 2023. This is a straightforward bill, which seeks to make amendments to the Electoral Act 1985 and the Local Government Act 1999. It will effect a ban on the widespread use of election corflutes on public roads and related areas such as bridge structures, Stobie poles, trees and road barrier fencing, as the few obvious examples.

I would like to take this opportunity to point out, as other honourable members have done so already, that it has been a really interesting backflip that the government has done in supporting this bill over the last 24 to 48 hours. Such is the backflip that one has to question the motives of such a sudden change of heart.

One could think, as others have alluded to, that there might be a by-election coming up where the Premier and the government might be somewhat tentative around the possibility of the opposition putting up corflutes signalling what a terrible job the Premier and his government are doing when it comes to ramping, or perhaps the Malinauskas government has simply realised that it may not be such a good plan to produce hundreds of corflutes—thousands, in fact—with election promises and their faces stamped all over them if they are going to fail abysmally at keeping those promises.

We all remember the thousands upon thousands of posters that the government, then opposition, put up before the 2022 state election, promising that they were going to fix ramping. That was their core election promise, which was plastered all over the Stobie poles and the likes, not to mention the absolutely disgraceful corflutes put up by the unions which depicted the then Premier, Steven Marshall, as a rat. These are the lengths those opposite will stoop to to get their hands on the government coffers. I would just like to remind the chamber about that.

I am extremely proud that this Liberal Party initiative has the full momentum it deserves. Ten times the iteration of this bill has been dismissed by Labor in the other place—10 times. Whilst one popular radio presenter was adamant Tuesday morning that used election corflutes make fantastic art canvases for primary school students, they are designed by intention as a single-use corrugated polypropylene: a plastic with limited opportunities for recycling. The practical use of corflutes in most circumstances will utilise single-use plastic cable ties.

All in all, they are a physical pollution. They are a visual pollution. They can distract drivers and for a government that keeps banging on about renewables and climate impact, the Labor government have been extremely slow to this plastic free party. The Liberal Party are gifting this low hanging fruit to the Minister for Climate, Environment and Water. This bill is simple, it is practical and it is popular.

South Australia is one of the last remaining jurisdictions to not be corflute free on public roadside infrastructure during elections and the South Australian community overwhelmingly support a ban on streetside corflutes. Our own small community consultation of 500 residents indicated that 93 per cent of residents view a ban on corflutes along major roads as a sensible and practical environmental initiative, and 95 per cent of respondents said that they were not at all influenced by the use of corflutes in an election.

What will be interesting to see is if the government actually do enact this legislation in time for it to be of effect in the upcoming Dunstan by-election, or will they, like in so many other instances, be all smoke and mirrors—all media release and no actual movement?

I note the amendments put forward by the honourable member, Mr Simms, and I appreciate what the honourable member is trying to achieve with wobbleboards and the like, but it is the opposition's opinion that these are already captured in the current bill. I want to point out that we do have some concerns about a number of the other amendments, and one in particular, which is the honourable member's amendment No. 1, in regard to electoral advertising posters that are not attached to buildings, hoardings or other structures, and the length of time that they must be placed in public view.

The Hon Heidi Girolamo will no doubt ask some questions about this in the committee stage, but many of our country members use their A-frames at country shows, and it is my understanding that under this amendment those country members would not be able to put up their corflutes for any longer than six hours at a time. Of course, we know that country shows can go on for hours and hours, and we love a good country show—

The Hon. K.J. Maher: If that's the case you couldn't put them up for a single minute under your bill, but I will get to that in the committee stage.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: The Leader of the Government is interjecting me, but we can have these debates, and I appreciate his comments. We can have these debates and ask these questions around the committee stage. I guess I, as Leader of the Opposition, am just flagging that we do have some concerns, and we will no doubt ask questions during that committee stage. I am pleased to see this bill introduced. I am optimistic that all sides will support this practical and sensible approach, even if it has taken those opposite on the government benches a bit of time to come to the party. With that, I commend this bill to the chamber.

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (11:56): I rise to join my colleagues, particularly my Liberal colleagues in both houses, to wholeheartedly support the Electoral (Control of Corflutes) Amendment Bill 2023. I commend the Hon. David Speirs, the Leader of the Opposition and the former Minister for Environment, for his strong and persistent advocacy to ban corflutes. The member for Black, the Hon. David Speirs, tried to ban corflutes in 2021, but it was blocked in the upper house.

The member for Black has shown great leadership in this matter by not putting up his own corflutes when campaigning at the 2022 state election. The Hon. David Speirs persisted in this important reform, and pushed the Malinauskas Labor government to backflip on their decision. Finally, after Labor had voted it down 10 times, they have suddenly changed their mind. We welcome their decision, even though one suspects that it has to do with the Dunstan by-election that is coming up.

Remember those misleading corflutes stating time and time again during the 2022 election that Labor will fix ramping? Well, they have not fixed ramping. Instead, less than two years after Peter Malinauskas promised to fix ramping, his Labor government has delivered more ramping hours in under two years than the former Liberal government did during its entire four-year term, even during the pandemic.

Peter Malinauskas's number one commitment to the people of South Australia was to fix ramping. We do not recall any fine print in Labor's plan to fix ramping stating that it would get so much worse. At the election, Labor claimed ramping was at crisis levels and urged people to vote for them like their life depends on it. South Australians need to question why, why now, Labor is supporting a corflute ban. South Australians need to question whether the Labor Party is scared that the people of Dunstan will be given a visual reminder of Labor's failure to fix ramping at the upcoming Dunstan by-election.

Many of the multicultural communities actually do not understand what the corflutes stand for, so I want to take the opportunity to explain it a little bit for them and for the benefit of the community. Corflutes are corrugated polypropylene fluid plastic posters, which are weatherproof but flexible and lightweight enough to put up easily on Stobie poles or other areas. But, they are a single-use plastic and they are not environmentally friendly because they generate tonnes and tonnes of single-use plastic pollution every election cycle.

In addition to corflutes there are still the other plastic materials that some honourable members have already mentioned, such as cable ties used to attach corflutes to public infrastructure. Other hazards caused by corflutes are visual pollution, as many honourable speakers alluded to. Pole after pole—in so many consultations done by the Liberal Party and the Liberal leader, South Australians absolutely hate corflutes (the posters).

Our community is concerned about road safety, driver distractions and the preservation of public roadside amenity and buildings, so finally it is great to see that the ban of corflutes will become a reality to reflect the views of the South Australian community. I am proud that this Liberal initiative is a welcome reform for South Australia. As we bid farewell to corflutes, I want to express my sincere gratitude to all my family, friends and supporters, who worked tirelessly to put up hundreds of my corflutes in the 2018 election.

I recall seeing an article in the ABC News with the title, 'SA election: Liberal MP Jing Lee pushing for upper house success with poster blitz'. I would like to quote a few statements from the news article, on reflection:

She's not running in Adelaide, Croydon, Torrens or Dunstan, but if you're in the city you've probably seen Jing Lee's posters adorning stobie poles all over the place.

The Liberal MLC is seeking another eight years in South Australia's Legislative Council and from fourth spot on the ticket—in the face of a Nick Xenophon surge—her re-election is far from guaranteed.

As part of the ABC's Curious Campaign, an anonymous reader asked: I'm seeing an awful lot of posters for Jing Lee. Why is there a focus on her?

Others on social media are asking the same question and it may just be the most prominent upper house campaign in recent memory.

Reflecting on that, once again I cannot thank enough my volunteers, friends, family and supporters, for working tirelessly putting up my posters.

Another really funny story that some of you may or may not remember is that an artwork of a pyramid appeared during the 2018 election around, I think, Hindmarsh Square. Christopher Pyne was called to take down the corflutes in public places because a number of my posters, along with Therese Kenny (the candidate for Torrens) and Rachel Sanderson, were arranged in an artwork form. It was quite funny and it made national news.

In this particular second reading speech I wanted to reflect on the funny moments regarding corflutes. We have seen graffiti on various candidates' faces, but it is time for them to go. With those remarks, I commend the bill to the chamber.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (12:04): I rise to support this bill brought to this place through the auspices of it being on the Notice Paper for quite a period of time. I have forgotten the number of days that was quoted—eight hundred and something, I think—that it was in the lower house through the Leader of the Opposition, working in conjunction with the Malinauskas government. As a Greens member of parliament, it should come as no surprise that I look forward to the banning of the single-use corflute plastic that is allowed to go up with a politician's face on a Stobie pole come election time.

I think that it was quite hypocritical that this parliament took action on single-use plastics but did not ban corflutes, and I have been consistent in that. I refer members to my previous speeches in this place where I have consistently supported the banning of these corflutes from our streets. I think it is not only visual pollution but not really democracy if you can flood the streets, if you are cashed up and you can have the army of volunteers needed to put those posters up and, as we know, tear others down.

It is everyone who suffers when it gets into an arms race of plastic posters on poles being apparently the epitome of our democracy. The South Australian people, and us as political people as well, deserve better than that. We deserve a better democracy than that. The last time I spoke to this—I have refreshed my memory—I mentioned my Myspace account from 2009, which I think still exists, although I do not use it anymore. At that point, I said:

I do not think that putting corflutes up on Stobie poles across the state enhances our democracy. What I do think enhances democracy is having the ability to ensure that we are on a level playing field, that those who have more money at their disposal are not advantaged, that those who can win the arms race of putting up corflutes and stealing other corflutes from other parties or Independents are not advantaged.

I then went on to share the story of the first time my now adult son voted in the Ramsay by-election, when the previous, previous, previous Premier stepped down and caused a by-election. The face of my longtime friend and now the member for Ramsay—and ongoing minister, in fact—Zoe Bettison was on all the corflutes on our streets.

My son, who was new to voting and had not had to vote at the general election, said to me, 'What do I do?' 'What do you think?' He said to me, 'Well, she has the most corflutes.' I despair at our democracy if that is what we are relying on for people to make their decisions. I did point out that she had known him since he was a toddler, and then he said, 'Well, she has the most corflutes and she knew me when I was young. That's good enough for me.' This is the son, by the way, who is not terribly political.

I also have an adult daughter who is very political, who actually enrolled to vote when she was 17 so she was on the roll should an election be called at any time, as opposed to the football-playing son who, for almost every election in his 20s—he is now in his 30s—would ring me up and go, 'What do I do?' I would always have to say, 'Look for the place that has busyness, people going in and out. Go in there, give them your name and address and, when I'm running, vote for me.' He has, as far as I know, always voted for me regardless of my poster being on a Stobie pole.

I am really pleased that we are passing this legislation through this parliament in time for the Dunstan by-election. It will allow an opportunity to see how the system works. Many other jurisdictions around Australia have banned this visual street pollution. It does not add to a democratic debate. It does not put policies front and centre. It allows for awful posters, such as the previous Premier with the body of a rat, for example. We can all think of the attack corflutes that we have seen as well that offer nothing to our democracy other than to denigrate it.

I also welcome and note that The Advertiser opinion piece today of Kathryn Bermingham talked about getting rid of how-to-vote cards. I am up for that as well and always have been. I note that in Tasmania, when they have an election, not only are they not handing out how-to-vote cards at polling booths that day but they all take a rest. The voter simply goes in to vote and has all of the information there in the polling booth so that they can assess for themselves without people and the arms race and the masses of volunteers thrusting what can often be misleading information at the last minute in their faces. I am pleased, also, that we do have truth in political advertising rules in this state.

These are all improvements to our democracy, and I do look forward to this being yet another improvement. I think it is unfortunate that we are having a by-election, and that has been caused by the resignation of the previous Premier, but this is an opportunity to do things differently—to work together—and I hope that is what we get done today.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (12:09): I, too, welcome the progress of this piece of legislation, albeit that it has come under curious circumstances for the government. Previous speakers have noted the number of times the Labor Party has chosen to reject this piece of legislation, but on the eve of the Dunstan by-election it is suddenly being rushed through the parliament.

It is still welcome, nevertheless, and has long been advocated by the Liberal Party leader, the Hon. David Speirs, the great environmentalist and proponent of banning of single-use plastics in South Australia. The corflutes, or election posters, will now be consigned forever to history, so that is clearly welcome. We do live in an age of electronic communication, so a lot of people do receive information via other means. The corflute is an anachronism in our political system.

Just following on from the comments of the Hon. Tammy Franks about these posters, I can recall pre-polls and on polling day the forest of corflutes and A-frames that people have to make their way past and the virtual harassment. I think Australians as a nation—and South Australians are no different—like to kind of be left alone to make up their own minds and not feel that level of coercion that at times comes with these sorts of campaigns.

We do know this is something that South Australian people have been in favour of for a long time. The member for Black, David Speirs, is to be commended not only for bringing this legislation to the parliament again but also in his last campaign for making that decision—some people might have said it was a 'brave' decision—to deliberately choose not to use corflutes in that particular campaign of his, but he did so out of principle because banning and not using single-use plastics is something that he is very committed to.

It has been mentioned by previous speakers but it is worth reiterating that the level of corflutes we saw in the last campaign I think was quite unprecedented. It was not just the standard pictures of candidates with their leader. As has been said, those posters with the then Leader of the Opposition, now Premier, Peter Malinauskas, where he was going to fix ramping, were everywhere along with lots of very specific localised corflutes about how, if Labor got elected, they were going to bribe communities in key seats by throwing millions of dollars at particular sporting clubs, money that we in government knew was a scarce resource. But it was used effectively to buy people off in those key seats.

As has also been referred to those nasty, nasty posters we saw on all of the entrance routes, particularly into the city, depicting the previous Premier, Steven Marshall, as a rat were just—

The Hon. D.G.E. Hood: 'Can you trust Habib?'

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: My honourable colleague reminds me of the 'Can you trust Habib?' posters. This was extremely offensive and should not be part of the visual display during an election campaign, which I think contributes to the general cynicism that a lot of people in our community have about the way election campaigns are run. We know that Labor play dirty. They play dirtier than any other political party. They have been rewarded with government. So this is one less mechanism they will have to lie to people and try to harass people into voting for their particular candidates in those particular seats.

I have mentioned it already, but I think it is curious that on the eve of the Dunstan by-election Labor has had this road to Damascus conversion, although I believe the Attorney-General said on radio that it was the persuasive powers of the Hon. Robert Simms—

The Hon. R.A. Simms: Green pressure works.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I am very fond of the Hon. Mr Robert Simms, but I am not convinced that that was the reason. There were so many opportunities that Labor had, but there was one letter from the Hon. Robert Simms.

The Hon. R.A. Simms: I am going to write them more often.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: The Hon. Robert Simms must write letters to the Premier more often. If that is the impact that he can have on parliamentary processes, he is a very special man indeed. We are very fond of him, it is just that some of his policies are very misguided—but not this one.

I talked a little bit about my own experience with posters. I have put many, many posters up all over the state over the years. They are all very fresh the day the writs are issued but by the time the election day is held, they are hanging off the side of Stobie poles, they are crushed, they are bent, they are sitting on the side of roads and they might blow across roads in a storm—all sorts of things, no matter how much wire was used.

I was always very fond of using five-millimetre wire but other people preferred cable ties—cable ties are great but they are a single-use device—trying to make sure that the darned things stayed in place properly because wind, rain and time would mean that they would buckle and all sorts of things. Particularly those dirty, grotty ones were not much use for anything at the end of the process and really just contributed to landfill.

There used to be a company in Adelaide that would take corflutes and recycle them—crush them up—called Plastics Granulating Services. After one campaign I, with delight, was able to take all of the ones where I knew the candidate was not going to be running again in that seat. That is another point worth making: they get re-used if the person gets elected or they run again. If the person does not run again that is that, you have to start a whole new batch. The candidate might run somewhere else and then they have to get a whole new batch done. They certainly are physically very wasteful.

Plastics Granulating Services was located at Kilburn. You can Google them and the address will pop up but unfortunately it says that it has permanently closed because the factory burnt down. As someone who hates waste, that is all the more reason to ensure that we should be banning these things that effectively end up in landfill.

They can be sort of useful if you have a couple of them at home. My husband has cut them up and used them to move things around the house without bumping things on floors that might get scratched. He has used them as part of some of his home workout equipment routine, I think doing renegade rows or something like that.

Most recently, during last year's Feast Festival, we were able to use them at our Liberal Party stand at Feast in the Park, on the suggestion of Alan Howard-Jones, who was our candidate in Makin at the last election. I probably would not be telling tales out of school, but I do not think it is his intention to run there again so he has no use for his corflutes. He and I were able to use them as a competition for people who came past to dress us in drag and decorate our posters. People did love that but it certainly is not reason enough for us to continue to produce single-use posters that end up in landfill.

With those words, I support this piece of legislation. It is long overdue—long overdue—and, interestingly, just in time for the Dunstan by-election. For people reading, do not believe the spin of the government in relation to the timing of this. There is no doubt that this is not a coincidence but, nevertheless, we welcome that this environmental pest will be banished to history.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON (12:19): I rise today to support the bill. I will keep my contribution brief, as my honourable colleagues have very well put why the Liberal Party has decided to put forward this legislation. It is an outcome that I am sure will be very welcome out in the community, that every time there is an election they do not have to see their politicians every time they go and get a loaf of bread or a carton of milk. It will be much welcomed by the volunteers of all political parties, I am sure, that no longer will they have to get up and down a ladder at a Stobie pole to hang these corflutes.

This bill was introduced in the House of Assembly around May of last year. It has sat on their Notice Paper for quite some time, yet we have seen yesterday and today that there is a sudden enthusiasm from this government to pass this legislation, giving government business time today for a Liberal bill. The timing of this newly found enthusiasm from the government is quite interesting. If only we saw such enthusiasm from the government on all Liberal initiatives, but instead we see this government has an agenda that is so light on—so light on—that they can afford to give government business time for a Liberal bill.

The notion of banning, limiting or regulating the use of corflutes in election campaigns is not new to the parliament; in fact, Labor members in this chamber have voted against the notion in the past. The Hon. Justin Hanson voted against it on 12 October 2021, the Hon. Tung Ngo voted against it on 12 October 2021, the Hon. Clare Scriven voted against it on 12 October 2021, the Hon. Emily Bourke voted against it on 12 October 2021, the Hon. Ian Hunter voted against it on 12 October 2021, the Hon. Russell Wortley voted against it on 12 October 2021, and the honourable leader of this place voted against it on 12 October 2021.

I think you get my point: we know Labor's voting track record on this issue, yet curiously today we see the government have itchy feet to rush it through. Curiously, the government is supporting this initiative now. So what has changed? We all remember Labor's corflutes from the 2022 election, after they did not support the former attempt to change this legislation. We all remember Labor's corflutes lining the streets far and wide with a promise to fix the ramping crisis.

This government was happy to line the streets with corflutes then for an election commitment that I think, arguably, you could say, in its current status, is a broken commitment. Ramping is exponentially worse under this government. When South Australians listened to Labor when they said, 'Vote Labor like your life depends on it, because it just might,' I do not think that this is what they were expecting. So what has changed? Why have Labor changed their tune?

To quote my colleague in the lower house, one can only join the dots. With a by-election in Dunstan around the corner, one has to wonder: why now? With a by-election around the corner, with ramping worse than before, one has to wonder: why now? Why does the Labor government not want to hang corflutes on Stobie polls yet again to promise that they will fix the ramping crisis—a ramping crisis that they have already committed to fix but has gotten worse and worse under their watch?

It is interesting that this government was happy to put up those corflutes for that promise in 2022, yet they have conveniently changed their position now. Whilst I have no doubt that this will be a very welcome change in the community—thanks to this Liberal initiative—I think the timing around Labor's flip to support this bill is quite curious.

The Hon. B.R. HOOD (12:24): I rise to support this bill and welcome the government's belated and reluctant agreement to finally allow us to debate in this place the banning of corflutes. I know that many in this chamber yesterday posted pictures of their corflutes from over the years, celebrating the fact that we are banning corflutes.

I just want to reflect little bit on the fantastic artwork that has appeared on my corflutes throughout South Australia, in Mount Gambier and surrounds. I have been Harry Potter, I have been Groucho Marx, I have had some dental work, I have had moustaches—some more controversial than others. I have also been labelled 'Marshall's muppet'. I love Jim Henson's Muppets, so I thought that was actually a compliment. But no, I think a certain union down in my hometown of Mount Gambier managed to run around to nearly every single corflute that was up and post that over my name. Funnily enough, too, every other corflute was then painted in red paint. That was an interesting choice of colour, considering where the person who did that may have come from or their political leanings.

I do just want to say that I am supportive of this bill in banning corflutes, for a selfish reason: as a long-time volunteer for the Liberal Party and someone who has run in local government for Deputy Mayor of Mount Gambier, having to tear up and down ladders at midnight to get the best spots is not exactly fun so I am certainly happy that we will not be having to do that again.

There is also the fact that there is an environmental aspect to this. As the Hon. Frank Pangallo pointed out, these corflutes do have a use past coming down off Stobie poles, but ultimately they are going to find their way into landfill and we certainly do not want that. Of course, there is the visual pollution that we get from these corflutes as well. As the Hon. Laura Henderson said, no-one wants to be looking at politicians as they are driving down the street to get their loaf of bread.

It is very interesting, though, as to why this government has now, at the eleventh hour, decided that this is something that we have to do for our state. Many on the government benches here have voted against this very bill. But as we lead into a by-election in Dunstan, I would assume that the government does not want the public to be reminded of one particular corflute, and that was a corflute that was all over this state only a few years ago. That corflute said, 'Labor will fix ramping'. They have not. They do not want the people of Dunstan to be reminded of that, but we will be reminding the people of Dunstan about that and we will ensure that Labor does not forget it.

I am glad we are not going to see corflutes anymore, but I am disappointed that it has taken this political move from this government to enact this bill. With that, I commend the bill to the chamber.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (12:28): I will start my contribution today, which will be relatively brief, in a way I do not think I ever have been before. I will not quote, but I will paraphrase the Hon. Mr Simms, who unfortunately has just left the chamber for a moment. I thought he might enjoy that. Very early in his contribution he said that he made a phone call and he said that there was a Liberal bill in place, let's just dust it off and go with that. That is exactly what we are doing. We are using a Liberal bill that has been in place for some time now. I think it was May last year when it was presented to the other place by our leader, the member for Black, David Speirs.

I think one needs to acknowledge that our leader has had a particular commitment to this policy position on environmental grounds—not a political reason for doing it but on environmental grounds. In fact, so strong has his personal commitment been to this that, at the last state election, potentially to his own disadvantage, he actually did not put up any corflutes in his own electorate. This was apparently very well received by his constituents. I think that shows the genuineness of his commitment to this particular policy as we see presented in this bill as an environmental position. I think he deserves credit for that.

That said, the Liberal Party has been consistent on this position, but I should acknowledge that the Greens have also been consistent on this position for some time. In fact, the Liberal Party and the Greens are the only two parties in this place that have been consistent on this issue. It is something that, through bills, we have tried to—for want of a better word—ban corflutes in the electorate for some time now. We have not had any success because of course we have been opposed by Labor and some of the crossbench which, to my delight, appear to have changed their minds, on the crossbench especially.

It seems like finally this will get done and it is well and truly time, but it is I think something that the Liberal Party can be proud of because not only have we moved this consistently for some time now but we were responsible back in September 2020 when we were in government for banning the sale, supply and distribution of single-use plastic straws, cutlery and drinking implements. So this is a trend, this is something that our party has been committed to for some time.

Single-use plastics are a blight on our society. They are an unnecessary environmental hazard and something which just by literally passing this bill we can have a very substantial and positive impact upon. I think so committed have we been to these policies—in fact, as I said, we enacted the single-use plastics withdrawal of straws and the like when we were in government and we have been consistent on this corflute issue—that I expect the Greens will be lining up for preferences at the next election. I have no doubt about that. We will probably just cement that in right now, which would be interesting and worthy of discussion, let's say.

I think the other aspect of this that needs to be emphasised, as my colleagues have and indeed most people across the chamber have, is that this is going to be a very popular move in the electorate. I think the general populace, the constituency of South Australia, is fed up with corflutes. There was strong support for Liberal moves to ban them a number of years ago but, as I said, we were not able to be successful because of the then opposition, the Labor Party, opposing of our bill, which I think was a mistake.

Finally, I think they have seen the error of their ways. Why they have seen the error of their ways is a whole other discussion and I think my colleagues have highlighted there might be a certain seat called Dunstan in play in the very near future. I am sure that is the genuine motivation for their change of position, but regardless in the end it is the right decision and it is one that I strongly support.

In fact, not only is it supported broadly in the community but when the Liberal Party did community consultation on this matter late last year we had some 93 per cent of respondents, out of 474 responses, that supported a ban on corflutes—93 per cent. That is a very substantial number and this will be overwhelmingly popular in the electorate. They are a single-use plastic and it really is visual pollution. They can be misused as well. We have mentioned the 'Can you trust Habib' corflutes, which I think were the low point of politics in our state. It really was a disgraceful act and I think this banning of corflutes will go some way at least to preventing that sort of thing from happening again.

It is important to point out, and I think the Hon. Ms Franks might have pointed this out, that other jurisdictions across the nation—not all of them, but most of them—have now banned corflutes as well. They are not used in the way that we have been using them in South Australia for a very long time, so we are late to this party, if you like. We have been trying to get there, the Liberal Party has been trying to get there for some time, and I think finally we are going to get there, which is welcome news.

The other thing that is important is that we have seen such a change in position from the Labor Party. The then opposition, the Labor Party, was so strong to the Liberal Party trying to ban corflutes that it is actually worth quoting some of the comments made by members at that time. I think it is important that that is put on the record for readers of Hansard to understand exactly the strength of the opposition by the then opposition to our government banning corflutes.

I quote from Chris Picton in the other place, the member for Kaurna, the current health minister, who said:

This is being done for one reason only: because the Liberal Party believes that it will help the Liberal Party's chances of retaining government at the next election.

Well, no, because we are still moving it in opposition. We are still moving that same thing in opposition, so I think that is quite unlikely to be the case. He also said:

It is very clear that the government believe that if they stop the display of these corflutes, then it will reduce the chances of their MPs being defeated at the next election. This is the reason why they have introduced this.

Well, no, we are doing it from opposition. He also went on to say:

I have never had anybody complaining to me about posters outside polling booths.

Or corflutes. I have had plenty of people complain to me. I find that interesting, to say the least. He said:

This will be very clearly a disaster for minor parties and for Independents who are seeking to get elected to this parliament.

When I was a member of Family First, I moved a bill in this place to ban corflutes. We were a minor party. We had two people at that time. It is a position I have held for a very long time. I think it is unnecessary. If somebody votes for somebody because they have a face on their corflute, a particular poster on a pole, then that is not a good reason to vote for somebody. I do not think they win you any votes at all. They may create awareness that there is an election on, but really that is the Electoral Commission's job, not a political party's job to inform people there is an election on.

I think it would be remiss if I did not quote some from our fearless leader on the government benches at the moment, the Attorney-General, who said, and I think he will enjoy this:

It is clear that the Attorney—

and he is referring, of course, to the previous Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman—

thinks there is some sort of political advantage, perhaps it will be to the detriment of minor or smaller parties who often use corflutes as a cheap and effective way to get their message and their branding out. Maybe the Attorney thinks she can wipe out minor and small parties with this. Well, we are not going to be a party to these anti-democratic measures.

With great respect to the Attorney, he has obviously had a complete change of heart, one which we all welcome, but I do look forward to him explaining to the chamber exactly why he has changed his position. The change of position is welcome. If it was the Hon. Mr Simms' letter, congratulations. It is a Liberal bill. We are very glad that it is about to pass this chamber, and I think we have all had a bit of fun with this but the sooner it passes the better.

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (12:36): I want to get up and have a good conversation. I have two minutes granted by my leader. Thank you very much, leader. That is very gracious of you. I think this bill is well named: control of corflutes. Vale corflutes? Well, without another letter from Mr Simms, who knows? They might yet still pop up around the place from time to time on various things, and they might still be useful at the odd fundraiser where people do tend to love having a signed corflute, and they do work quite well.

Perhaps, in feeling like I do about this, there is a bit of sadness. It is the end of an era. It is the end of corflutes. Politics generally involves getting your face up on a pole, and it seems like that will end. Maybe now it will just be bus stops, shop windows and other things. I am sure they will not use plastic for any of those, but in any event I do not think it will be end of politicians' faces, so maybe there is still a chance for B-grade Hollywood to have its day. In saying that, it is disappointing to me. I have never really had my chance to have my face on a pole. I think I might have 12 corflutes lying around somewhere, but really that is about it.

The reason why I wanted to get up and actually have my say is to say thanks, and I know the Hon. Ms Lee did this as well. Anyone who has ever dealt with corflutes knows they do not go up easily. They do sometimes go up overnight, and that means that there are so many volunteers who assist in doing that. I have done that for many candidates across the years, and I have never done it alone. People do a great job—volunteers to our party—in getting them up, and then the unenviable task, the harder task, of getting people to volunteer to take them down.

I just want to say in this end of an era—very shortly and very quickly—to all those volunteers of all the parties, we will still need you for other things I am sure but no longer for corflutes on public roads and poles, and I want to extend on Hansard forevermore our thanks, certainly from the Labor Party and I am sure from every party in this place. To all our volunteers across the years, thanks very much.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (12:38): I will speak very briefly in support of the legislation that is currently before us. I think, as many contributions have pointed out, the views of parties and legislators have changed over time in relation to corflutes. There is no doubt about that.

Back a decade ago—I think it was 2014—a predecessor of mine, former Attorney-General the Hon. Mick Atkinson, had a bill before parliament that was opposed by the former Liberal Party. I am not sure whether there are any Liberal members still here and we could use the time of this chamber reading out quotes from people in Hansard or how they voted at the time, but the then Liberal Party voted against that bill.

In 2020, another one of my predecessors, the Hon. Vickie Chapman as Attorney-General, had a bill before parliament that included many things, including a ban on corflutes. Other things were included as well, like optional preferential voting in both houses of parliament, which I think was a characteristic overreach of the former Liberal government in terms of what they were trying to achieve with many, many things in one piece of legislation. Such is the divergence we have seen, even in this chamber on this issue, that in recent history we have had a party of two members who had different views on the banning of corflutes.

But a bill is currently before parliament, and more than any other individual I want to single out the Hon. Robert Simms for his fierce and staunch advocacy on this issue and the very persuasive way he has put forward his views to the Premier. I have also had the benefit of discussions with the Hon. Robert Simms over recent days, and I thank him for his persuasiveness and his ability to change minds. We will be supporting the bill as presented.

I also note that we will be supporting the amendments put forward by the Hon. Robert Simms. Amendments have also been filed by the Hon. Connie Bonaros. We understand the intent behind those amendments. We will not support them, but I will undertake to look at them, and we will have before us in this term of parliament other bills in relation to electoral reform.

There is a commitment to ban electoral donations, which will amend the Electoral Act. There will be, as there always is after an election and after the handing down of the Electoral Commission's report and recommendations, other electoral reforms, so we will have further opportunities to consider those. I look forward to the committee stage shortly.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (12:41): I thank everyone for their contributions. It is great that the Labor Party has finally seen the light and view this as a good thing for democracy, and good for many people in South Australia who detest corflutes on Stobie poles and on everything in between. Our leader the Hon. David Speirs has been a fierce advocate for this for a very long time and, as many have mentioned, took a risk in the last election by not having corflutes, but I do think that this is a good day for all of us. Thank you to the Greens in particular who supported this in the last parliament and for their advocacy in this space. It is good to see everyone in agreeance.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage

In committee.

Clause 1 passed.

Clause 2.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Simms–1]—

Page 2, after line 12 [clause 2(1), after inserted subsection (2a)]—Insert:

(2b) Subsection (2a) does not apply to the exhibition of—

(a) an electoral advertising poster by a person holding the electoral advertising poster (either directly in their hands or by holding an implement or device to which the poster is attached); or

(b) an electoral advertising poster that—

(i) is not attached to a building, hoarding or other structure or fixture on a public road or road related area; and

(ii) is exhibited at, or in the vicinity of, a place at which a designated event or activity is being held; and

(iii) is exhibited immediately before, during or immediately after the designated event or activity, provided that the electoral advertising poster is not exhibited at, or in the vicinity of, the place for more than 6 hours; or

(c) an electoral advertising poster—

(i) of a kind prescribed by regulation; or

(ii) in circumstances prescribed by regulation.

I spoke about this in my second reading remarks, so I do not intend to go into much detail around the purpose of this amendment other than to remind members that one of the concerns that we have with the original bill—the Hon. Vickie Chapman's bill, which then has been the Hon. David Speirs' bill—is that it is a feature of both of the bills that there could be some unintended consequences in terms of preventing candidates, politicians, from having A-frames at public events.

We were concerned about potentially prohibiting things like wobble boarding, those sorts of practices, which I know is something the opposition is very interested in—these things that are not fixed. We did not want to curtail those kinds of activities. There is the country show example and those sorts of events. That is why we have suggested that some of those things be carved out.

We have also added in an additional provision to give the minister the power to prescribe certain events or activities through regulation. That is because it is difficult to come up with a full range of scenarios where you might need to see exemptions. I mentioned some of the examples before that have been put to me. We thought it was important to see some level of flexibility. With a by-election coming up, were this bill to be put in place before that, that is a bit of a test case, too. It might be an opportunity to see how some of these things operate in practice.

The Greens have indicated to the government, and I am sure other parties in this place would agree, that if we see there are significant issues that come out of this bill that have not been anticipated, we would certainly be keen to revisit them in the parliament to make sure that we can tidy up any things that might have been overlooked.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: In regard to these amendments, we did have questions around the use of the six-hour mark. Our concerns are with the specific nature of the amendments, not necessarily not supporting them, because we do not want to see what you have just indicated occur or there being any challenges in that space. From an administrative point of view, how do you feel that this would be able to be monitored?

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: When I developed this particular suite of amendments, at least amendments Nos 1 and 2, they were done in consultation with the then Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman. I cannot remember, to be honest, how we arrived at the six-hour time frame. I think the intention was that we did not want to see the potential for, say, an A-frame to be left up overnight or something like that. The six-hour time frame is meant to capture a public event or a doorstop meeting, that sort of thing.

In terms of how this would be administered, I guess it is the same as every other element of the act. If someone sees a corflute or a sign that is there for a long period of time or positioned in a place that it should not be, it will rely on members of the public to make a report. That does tend to happen with corflutes at the moment, actually, if they are positioned in the wrong spot. I know I have been called up by members of the community saying my face is in a spot it should not be on a Stobie pole somewhere or whatever. I think the same principle would probably apply.

The Hon. K.J. Maher: There's heaps of snitching in this area.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I did not hear that; I will have to follow that up later. I think the same kind of principle would apply. It would depend on members of the community making a report and raising the issue. The alternative, as the bill currently stands, is that those activities would be prohibited. That was our concern, so we wanted to carve that out.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: I rise to make a contribution with respect to that question in particular. Obviously, there are a number of events that occur particularly in country areas. I am thinking field days and country shows, where signs often need to be put up for longer than six hours. I note that the Hon. Robert Simms also has an amendment that provides for regulation. I would like to place on the record that certainly the opposition would be keen for the government to consider some of these events to be able to be exempt via subordinate legislation or regulation.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I was not going to but I might just contribute very quickly. That is something the government, absolutely, is keen to have a look at, in two ways. Firstly, as the Hon. Robert Simms pointed out, if this gets passed in time it may apply to a by-election coming up, but certainly, as my previous contribution noted, there will be opportunities to revisit the Electoral Act again before the 2026 state election where anything we have missed or unintended consequences we can revisit.

That is also why I think it is particularly important that amendment No. 1 [Simms-1] provides for a regulation-making power. I think the 'road-related area' that is introduced in the Speirs bill but that was not in the Chapman bill under the Road Traffic Act enlarges the places this might apply to. It applies to public places. It is not my bill or my amendment, but my reading of it could mean something like a showground where you could drive a car. Whether it is lawful or not to do so, it is still captured by that.

It may have been under the Speirs bill that it might have been illegal to have an A-frame up at a field day or a country show for any time whatsoever, but I think that is why it is important to have the regulation-making power, and certainly we will be happy to work with members of parliament on what sort of things—bumper stickers, if there is an argument, could be included—we regularly do to inform the public of what we are doing and where we are that ought to be excluded by regulation.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: Just to seek some further clarity from the Attorney when he says he is undertaking to have those considerations, I raise two issues. One is the inequities when it comes to minor parties and Independents in particular, and there is also the issue of corflutes for federal elections being dealt with by way of single-use plastics bans. I am assuming from the Attorney's comments that he is very open to addressing any inequities that may exist when it comes to Independents and minor parties—and I hope favourably—but does that also extend to the single-use plastics bans and federal elections?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I do not think I mentioned it, but I know I have had a discussion with the honourable member and, as we have seen even earlier in this week, we have had good outcomes for the state of South Australia when we have worked with the crossbench to examine issues, and we are more than willing and happy to do that again.

We may traverse it when we get there, but in relation to the federal ban, absolutely we are happy to consider it. I think the way the amendment may be drafted—and I have only had a brief look at it—might still allow things like cardboard or tin or canvas to be used for federal elections but not state elections, so there would be that disparity, but we are happy to have a look at that.

There is also how it might apply to local government elections and certainly the concerns the honourable member has raised in terms of the number, depending on whether you have a lower house or an upper house candidate or just one of those, we are more than happy to have a look at.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move:

Amendment No 2 [Simms–1]—

Page 2, after line 16 [clause 2(3), inserted subsection (4), before the definition of electoral advertising poster]—Insert:

designated event or activity means—

(a) an assembly within the meaning of the Public Assemblies Act 1972; or

(b) an organised gathering, meeting, function or event relating to an election; or

(c) a person canvassing for votes relating to an election; or

(d) any other gathering, meeting, function or event, or class of gathering, meeting, function or event, prescribed by the regulations;

This amendment deals with the issue I flagged previously, which is around designated events, things like protests, gatherings and the like. One of the things we in the Greens were concerned about in relation to the previous Vickie Chapman bill—but it is also a feature of the David Speirs bill—was the potential for the bill to prevent people from standing on North Terrace with a placard or holding placards at protests and the like. We wanted to ensure that those things were protected, so that is what this amendment does.

Amendment carried.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: I move:

Amendment No 3 [Simms–1]—

Page 2, lines 17 to 22 [clause 2(3), inserted subsection (4), definition of electoral advertising poster]—Delete the definition of electoral advertising poster and substitute:

electoral advertising poster means a poster, notice or sign displaying an electoral advertisement;

This broadens the definition of what is an electoral poster so that it is not contingent just on the material that is used. This is the issue that I flagged earlier in my second reading remarks where when these changes were brought into place for the local government elections you then had some local government candidates trying to circumvent the new rules by having cardboard signage put up or signage made from other materials. I think that was not what the parliament was intending, so this just broadens the definition. It will ensure that cardboard, metal, fabric and other materials are not being used to defeat the intention of the bill.

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed.

New clause 2A.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Bonaros–1]—

Page 3, after line 2—Insert:

2A—Insertion of section 115AA

After section 115A insert:

115AA—Regulation of electoral advertising posters for Commonwealth elections

(1) A person must not, during the relevant period for a Commonwealth election, exhibit a designated electoral advertising poster on a public road or road-related area (including any structure, fixture or vegetation on a public road or road-related area), unless the poster is made from a biodegradable or compostable material approved by the Australian Bioplastics Association (or a successor body recognised by the Minister responsible for the administration of the Environment Protection Act 1993).

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the exhibition of—

(a) a designated electoral advertising poster by a person holding the poster (either directly in their hands or by holding an implement or device to which the poster is attached); or

(b) a designated electoral advertising poster that—

(i) is not attached to a building, hoarding or other structure or fixture on a public road or road related area; and

(ii) is exhibited at, or in the vicinity of, a place at which a designated event or activity is being held; and

(iii) is exhibited immediately before, during or immediately after the designated event or activity, provided that the electoral advertising poster is not exhibited at, or in the vicinity of, the place for more than 6 hours.

(3) In this section—

designated electoral advertising poster means a poster, notice or sign containing matter calculated to affect the result of a Commonwealth election (as the case may be);

designated event or activity means—

(a) an assembly within the meaning of the Public Assemblies Act 1972; or

(b) an organised gathering, meeting, function or event relating to an election; or

(c) a person canvassing for votes relating to an election; or

(d) any other gathering, meeting, function or event, or class of gathering, meeting, function or event, prescribed by the regulations;

public road means a road within the meaning of the Road Traffic Act 1961;

relevant period, for a Commonwealth election, means the period commencing at 5pm on the day before the day of the issue of the writ or writs for the election and ending at the close of polls on polling day;

road-related area has the same meaning as in the Road Traffic Act 1961.

I spoke to this amendment during my second reading contribution and heard from many honourable members in this place about the staunch and fierce advocacy that they and their parties have taken on the issue of single-use plastics. Basically, I have said that if we are going to ban corflutes, let's ban them across the board. In local government elections you cannot have them and now we are implementing that here and it is only appropriate that we look at what we can do when it comes to federal elections.

I note in particular the contribution of the Hon. Nicola Centofanti, and the question has arisen about where we have stood previously on this. The Hon. Robert Simms, when it comes to single-use plastics, has been a fierce advocate of their ban, as has the Leader of the Opposition in the other place, particularly when the opposition were in government. Not only did he take on the issue of corflutes, as others have done before him, but I think, much to my surprise at the time, he fiercely took on the issue of single-use plastics.

Just on the issue of those federal politicians, I note that when the Hon. Mr Simms spoke on this during the last debate he reminded us that two former ministers at the time, Minister Kate Ellis and Liberal Minister Christopher Pyne, had argued for corflutes to be banned. Back in 2019, the Hon. Robert Simms reminded us that Kate Ellis, of the Labor Party, told The Advertiser—and he quoted directly from her statement:

It is a massive amount of resources, the public don't particularly like them and it's a huge distraction for the first week of the campaign.

Your office gets inundated with calls about, 'you've got too many posters here, or you don't have enough posters there'.

Wouldn't it be great if we had an election campaign where we were talking about the issues that were going to be determined and how that would impact on our community?

There are too many of these signs, they don't really serve much purpose and we have this debate every couple of years; the rest of the country do not do this the way that we do.

Get rid of them, I say.

They were the contributions made by a former Labor minister. The Hon. Rob Simms also referred to the comments made by a former Liberal minister at the time, so this is something that has very much been topical amongst our federal colleagues from all political parties represented here today. Frankly, I think, thanks very much to the exceptional work of parliamentary counsel, we have found a way of resolving the problem for everybody and that is by banning commonwealth election posters where they are using plastic as opposed to biodegradable or compostable materials.

If they do manage to come up with a poster that uses biodegradable or compostable material, then, under this amendment, they would be more than able to display those, but if, as we have said time and time again and have all acknowledged, aside from the posters being an eyesore and the general sentiment in the public of not liking them, we are genuinely concerned about the environmental impacts then, thanks to the creative work of parliamentary counsel, we have found a very appropriate mechanism to deal with those environmental factors at all state levels of government when it comes to bans on election posters.

New clause negatived.

Progress reported; committee to sit again.

Sitting suspended from 13:01 to 14:16.