The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Speeches

Labor infighting

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (15:40): I wish to talk about Labor division and disunity, and what we are seeing at the moment is a Labor Party and a Labor government frankly at war with themselves. The degree of hatred within the Labor Party for each other is best shown, I think, in a statement made by Mike Smithson on radio yesterday when he said, with regard to Kevin Foley's recent circumstances:

There are plenty of people from his faction, and certainly from the left faction , in fact, I saw one of them in town yesterday , that's the opposing faction to the one he's in , he thought it was quite amusing . H ad a good laugh about , wh at's Kevin done this time?

That was the statement from Mike Smithson in relation to a representative of the left faction in relation to Kevin Foley's current circumstances. What we have seen in the last 24 hours, as they turn on each other, forgetting about what they have been elected to do, is, on the front page of The Advertiser today, Greg Kelton quoting a senior Labor MP briefing and backgrounding against Kevin Foley saying that he said yesterday that 'Mr Foley's position was untenable and not a good look for us.' Again today Greg Kelton interviewed said:

...there's a lot of MPs who keep ringing me up saying yeah, look, Kevin's got to go and I say, well, do you want to say it , oh, no, no, no , I can't say that publicly no I wouldn't do that.

Greg Kelton is making it quite clear that Labor MPs are leaking and backgrounding against Kevin Foley all over the place to senior journalists.

Also coming on the back of the recent cabinet realignment, in which we saw the appointment of Jack Snelling, Bernard Finnigan and Tom Kenyon, the anti-forces within the Labor Party started backgrounding against those members and describing them as the Christian Taliban and attributing to them views that they did not believe in evolution and that some of them happened to attend the Latin Mass out at St Peter's church—leaks and backgrounding from within the Labor left against these prominent members of the right.

Then we have also seen the fight between minister O'Brien and minister Foley, who publicly argued in relation to forests and privatisation policy and other related issues, both in the house and publicly as well. Then we saw the unprecedented release of information from former treasurer Foley's office, which damaged the left candidate, minister Weatherill and which revealed that he had caused a $130 million black hole in the budget by his policy on not telling people about the cashing out of long service leave. That document was unprecedented to get it back within the 28 days, particularly when it damaged severely the credibility and financial integrity of minister Weatherill.

Then we saw the anti-Rau leaks from a meeting of government spin doctors in relation to statements he made, evidently, about our Aboriginal visitors in the parklands and where he thought they ought to go or ought to be. Then we saw the anti-Koutsantonis leak from within cabinet in relation to the explosives factory—the unprecedented leak of a cabinet document within 24 hours of minister Koutsantonis briefing The Advertiser for a positive story. An anti-Koutsantonis force leaked the whole cabinet submission to The Australian newspaper and other media outlets, trying to damage minister Koutsantonis in relation to that particular cabinet submission.

We have seen the public disagreement started, first, by minister Koutsantonis and then supported by minister Foley against the Premier's own position of opposing uranium enrichment in South Australia. That has now leaked down to the staffing levels. A war is being waged within the Premier's own spin doctors' office. Ms Bottrall has been dumped from her position, and we now see a war between Lachlan Parker and Rick Morris in relation to their respective positions within the spin doctoring hierarchy within the Premier's own considerable spin doctor resources.

The sad facts are that this Labor Party and this Labor government and sad ex-ministers like minister Holloway are only interested in their own jobs and their own futures and are not interested in the jobs and futures of South Australian families, as they were elected to do and as they should be. It is a disgrace.

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ROB LUCAS MLC

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