The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (15:40): I want to look at the record of Premier Rann, perhaps for the first and only time. As Premier Rann leaves parliament, a decision he has taken has united almost everyone in this parliament. Everyone cannot wait to get rid of him. That is perhaps unsurprising for members of the Liberal Party, but it is certainly shared by members of his own party who voted to shaft him and to get rid of him, and now cannot wait to get rid of him as of tomorrow.
If we look at the record of Premier Rann and his government, he inherited a debt position which had been reduced from $11 billion at the time of the State Bank down to $3 billion. He enjoyed 10 years of the rivers of gold from the GST deal negotiated by the former government and property taxes, and his record now shows that debt has jumped from $3 billion to $11 billion when the RAH is included in the debt figures in 2016. Three of the last four budgets are in deficit to an aggregate of $700 million, and Standard & Poor’s has just reported that, for the first time in years, the AAA credit rating has been placed on a negative outlook.
The state now has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the nation, at 5.6 per cent. Access Economics this morning report that the employment, economic and export growth for each of the next five years will be below the national rates for those estimates. For a person who described himself as the education premier, the recent NAPLAN results show that in literacy and numeracy we are below national average in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in all 20 of the 20 categories.
This is a man who, when he was a staffer, ripped off the front page of a parliamentary library report and, in the Hilton Hotel bar, gave it to a political journalist and claimed that it was a confidential report. This is a man who was condemned by some of his own party, including then senator Nick Bolkus, when he attacked and abused the Hong Kong-based owners of our electricity assets by saying, ‘The red guards will be rejoicing at the news that this deal has been done.’
This is the man who described the performance of the chief executive officer of the State Bank, Tim Marcus Clarke, as brilliant and said that his appointment had been a major coup for South Australia. This is the man who led the campaign opposing Roxby Downs and in a particular document that he co-authored said, ‘No serious commentators are now likely to join the Premier in trumpeting the economic impact of Roxby.’
This is the man who opposed the repayment of the State Bank debt through the ETSA privatisation. This is the man who opposed the introduction of the GST and said it was ‘a lemon of a deal for South Australia’. This is the man whose party accepted $100,000 donation from the AHA in 2002, by promising explicitly not to increase gaming machine taxes, and then promptly broke the promise. This is the man who promised to oppose privatisation but has privatised the Royal Adelaide Hospital, super schools, and has continued or renewed the privatisation contracts with SA Water, bus contract services, and prisoner transport contracts within correctional services.
This is the man who has run the most secretive government in the history of the state. This is the man who has ensured that virtually no ministers respond to questions on notice. We now have over 2,000 unanswered questions on notice for the first time ever in South Australia. This is the man who has cracked down on Freedom of Information Act applications in his own section and across the government.
This man is a political chameleon. He voted against voluntary euthanasia in the parliament for years and indicated to people that he was opposed because the then Liberal leaders opposed voluntary euthanasia, but now the supporters of the Steph Key bill on voluntary euthanasia in the House of Assembly tell me that he has been counted as a supporter of the voluntary euthanasia bill.
This is the man who said nothing about gay marriage for years and now, as he leaves by the back door, says he always supported it because he had learnt the lessons from Don Dunstan many years ago. This is the man who has broken almost as many promises as he ever made. This is part of the real record of Premier Rann, not the nauseating, political fairy floss we have been force-fed for the last three months as a selfish man and a selfish premier has sought to recreate his own political history and legacy.