The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: I rise to speak about the Rann government’s arrogance and that of its ministers and employees in relation to their dealings with other members, the community and members of the media.
In June last year, long term and respected commentator Greg Kelton said that in his view the government was vying for the title of the most arrogant government he has seen in 35 years.
The Hon. B.V. Finnigan: He was around when you were around.
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Well, he has seen 35 years. He was around during Don Dunstan’s time and prior to that. He has seen much more than one could imagine. Many examples have been given in terms of the government’s handling of criticism, particularly in relation to the Cora Barclay Centre, John Daly and the Land Tax Reform Association, and articles written by The Australian journalists who criticised the road transport industry groups and the Port Adelaide bridge.
I want to refer to a couple of more recent examples. While it is fair to say that a lot of evidence has been given to recent committees that casts significant doubt on the integrity and truthfulness of the evidence given by the Attorney General—
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: I have a point of order, Mr Acting President. The former leader of the opposition is making allegations against a member of another place. He can only do so by way of a substantive motion. He has reflected on another member and he should not do so.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Hon. Mr Dawkins): The leader will resume his seat. I am listening very carefully and I have not heard anything that is outside standing orders at this point. I am sure the Hon. Mr Lucas will observe that. I call the Hon. Mr Lucas.
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Thank you, Mr Acting President; they are just statements of fact. The most recent examples were on 24 May in an interview on radio 5AA, which also involved the Hon. Ann Bressington. This is a small example. There was a debate about drug policy and prisons, and so on. Mr Atkinson said:
“Well, Ann is advocating for a core policy which I respect and that is a core policy of. . . confining drug addicts to an asylum cum prison where they will receive compulsory rehabilitation. . . will be effectively imprisoned. . .”
The Hon. Ann Bressington said:
“Leon, I’d just like to correct Michael Atkinson on a couple of things. No. 1: I have never advocated asylum or prison.”
The Hon. Mr Atkinson then said, `No, not prison Ann.’ I do not have time to read the rest of the contribution, but, further on, the Hon. Mr Atkinson said: ` I didn’t even mention the term prison Ann,’ and the Hon. Ann Bressington said, `You did so.’ The transcript makes it quite clear that he refers to the term `prison’. It is on the transcript, yet, point blank, less than 15 seconds later in a debate and an argument with the Hon. Ann Bressington—who, let us be fair, calls a spade a spade and does not beat around the bush in relation to these sorts of issues—he said that he didn’t. This Attorney General says, `Black is white.’ He says, `I didn’t say it,’ even though the transcript—
The Hon. B.V. FINNIGAN: I have a point of order, Mr Acting President.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins): Order! Stop the clock. The Hon. Mr Finnigan has a point of order.
The Hon. B.V. FINNIGAN: Under standing order 193 no injurious reflection shall be permitted upon members of the parliament of this state. The Hon. Mr Lucas is suggesting that the Attorney General (Hon. Michael Atkinson) has acted dishonourably and misled the public.
The ACTING PRESIDENT: Order! The member will resume his seat.
The Hon. B.V. FINNIGAN: The Hon. Mr Lucas has accused a member of the parliament of lying. He should withdraw.
The ACTING PRESIDENT: The member will resume his seat and not defy the chair. I call the Hon. Mr Lucas.
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Mr President, there is a lot of sensitivity—
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: I have a point of order, Mr Acting President.
The ACTING PRESIDENT: Order! Stop the clock.
The Hon. P. HOLLOWAY: We know the Liberal Party, of which you are a member, sir, is breaching all the conven¬tions of this parliament. I suggest that standing order 193 should be—
The ACTING PRESIDENT: The Leader of the Government will resume his seat and the Hon. Mr Lucas will resume his seat. I am listening intently to what the Hon. Mr Lucas is saying. I do not believe he has gone beyond standing orders. I will ask him to keep within standing orders. I call the Hon. Mr Lucas.
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS: Thank you, Mr Acting President. There is a lot of sensitivity from the wholly-owned subsidiar¬ies of the Labor right on the other side on these issues. It is all right for these members to cast injurious reflections on Liberal members, as they do constantly during question time and during the Address in Reply, etc., Mr President. It is like water off a duck’s back for most of us but, as soon as there is any criticism of a member of the Labor right—one of their supervisors, owners or manipulators—then sensitivity is felt by other members of the Labor right in this chamber.
The facts are—this is all I am pointing out here—that the Attorney General quite clearly in the transcript said some¬thing and then in debate with the Hon. Ann Bressington basically said to her, by implication, `That’s not true; you’re not telling the truth.’ He made an accusation or an injurious reflection on the Hon. Ann Bressington. And the proof is in the transcript. Sadly, this is just an example of how the Labor right and the Attorney General operate in South Australia. If you cannot be accurate and honest in small things, you cannot be trusted in the big things—it is a simple fact of life, and it is a lesson that could be well learned by the wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Labor right in this chamber.