The Hon. Rob Lucas MLC

The Hon

Rob Lucas MLC

Treasurer

Speeches

Standard Time (Alteration of Standard Time) Amendment Bill

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (21:51): I rise to speak to the second reading of the bill. The Liberal Party's position is that it will not be supporting the bill. I think it is fair to say that, as with some other issues, there is a broad church represented by our members, in particular, the Eyre Peninsula seats. Certainly, Liz Penfold as the member for Flinders was a very strong advocate within our party room, as was the Hon. Caroline Schaefer.

I think the Hon. Mr Brokenshire referred in his second reading explanation to a 1995 select committee which recommended a move to Central Standard Time. Caroline Schaefer chaired that particular select committee, and Caroline's original home, of course, was Eyre Peninsula as well. Certainly, a very strong view is shared by a number of our members, and I suspect a similar view will be held by our current member for Flinders, Mr Treloar. Some of our other regional members, as well, have supported a move to Central Standard Time.

This issue of time zones is a perennial one for South Australians. Business SA has long been an advocate for a move to Eastern Standard Time.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: And GM crops.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: We won't get into GM crops; let's stick with time for the moment. In my research for this, I was reminded that the Australian Labor Party took a policy to the 1993 election to move to Eastern Standard Time. It was obviously looking for bold policy initiatives in the light of the State Bank debacle, and it moved to Eastern Standard Time for whatever reason. It went through the Australian Labor Party caucus.

The PRESIDENT: That was at the time when Marcus Clarke was on—

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Yes, that is right. As you would well know, Mr President, your current Premier described him as brilliant and it was a major coup for South Australia that we got Marcus Clarke to run the State Bank of South Australia. Anyway, I will not be diverted by your interjections, Mr President—out of order and unruly as they are—doubly so coming from the Chair.

This is about a potential move to Central Standard Time. The point I am making is that there are forces within South Australia, including at some stages the Australian Labor Party caucus, Business SA and others, who have argued strongly to move to Eastern Standard Time. Equally, there have been others—including a select committee in 1995 and, in particular, many regional people and many regional members of parliament—who have supported the move to Central Standard Time.

In the end, as with many of these things—and it is a similar debate, I suspect, in part, with daylight saving, although that is not part of this bill—the innate conservatism of South Australians is such that, with those arguing we should either move ahead half an hour or back half an hour, for many years we have stayed exactly where we have been for a long, long time, and that is certainly the position adopted by the Liberal parliamentary party. Although, as I said, if this was to be debated in the House of Assembly, I am sure there would be some members who may well express a different point of view.

There was a similar proposal in 2005, I think moved by the former member for Flinders, Liz Penfold.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: A good member, she was.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: A very good member. I am comforted, as I look at the debate in 2005 and the voting on that particular bill, that amongst the strong majority of people who voted against that proposal to move to Central Standard Time was one R.L. Brokenshire.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: What was the date?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: 16 February 2005.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: No, because—

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: We were told what to do like a puppet.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: The Hon. Mr Brokenshire may well be speaking of the Australian Labor Party, which he might have some passing knowledge of, but he is certainly not talking about the Liberal Party, which prides the independence of the individual and freedom of conscience. If I can remind—

The Hon. Carmel Zollo: Apparently you didn't, according to him.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Sometimes Mr Brokenshire's memory is just slightly deficient; it's those early mornings with Daisy, Maisy and Clara Bell.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: If I could remind the Hon. Mr Brokenshire that 12 Liberal members actually voted for the bill, so the issue of cabinet solidarity, including—

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: That's the best solidarity you've ever had!

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: It was a perfect example of a very broad church, because about half the Liberal Party voted for it and about half the Liberal Party voted against it, including cabinet ministers and backbenchers. But there boldly voting against this initiative of Central Standard Time was R.L. Brokenshire. I am assuming that is the same Hon. R.L. Brokenshire that is moving this particular bill.

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: No, that's my brother.

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Times change. Indeed, the Hon. Mr Brokenshire has moved from the Liberal Party to Family First, and with that his views on time may well have changed. It may well have taken him back half an hour in terms of his perspective on life and on this issue. As I have struggled to come to grips with this issue and as I was trying to work out how I would vote and what I would recommend to the party room, I went back to this debate and there I saw R.L. Brokenshire, I assume then the member for Mawson. He was representing a city electorate in those days, I assume, in a marginal seat.

I am leaping to conclusions here, and when the Hon. Mr Brokenshire wraps up the debate he can indicate his position, but perhaps he took the view that the majority of his electors strongly supported the status quo and did not want to go back half an hour in time. He was in good company, because the motion was defeated 34 votes to 12, a majority of 22 votes for the noes.

Let me conclude by summarising that we are a broad church. We were a broad church in 2005 and we were certainly a broad church in 1995 when the select committee looked at this. It is one of the fundamental features of the Liberal Party that our members are entitled to express their views. The Hon. Mr Brokenshire was entitled to express his view in 2005 and I would have defended his right to that position in 2005, and now that he has moved parties he is entitled to do what he likes in terms of these issues.

The Liberal parliamentary party position on this is not to support a move to eastern standard time or to support a move to central standard time, but to support staying where we are.

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