Reply to Address

 

Mr DULUK (Waite) (16:37):

Thank you very much, Deputy Speaker, and congratulations on your appointment as Chairman of Committees, sir. It is an honour to serve in this parliament as the new Liberal member for Waite and only the third person to represent this seat in this parliament. I come here today encouraged by the support from my electorate and determined to represent the interests of my community with integrity, energy and renewed optimism for our state's future. I thank the large number of volunteers who supported my campaign over many months of grassroots campaigning and community engagement, giving their time and effort to a range of activities that underpinned our ultimate success on election day.


From the outset, I give my personal commitment to serving my electorate as a member of the Liberal Party as a mark of respect for both my constituents who voted for me and the party membership who afforded me the opportunity to serve. It is a privilege that I will not cast aside for personal gain or political opportunism. I also must acknowledge the mandate that has been given to
the new Liberal government to serve the people of South Australia in a new era, with a new direction and with renewed energy and vigour.


My late grandma, Halina Konieczny, was an avid reader of Polish literature. One of her favourite books was Quo Vadis by the Polish author and 1905 Nobel Laureate for literature Henryk Sienkiewicz. Quo vadis means, 'Where are you going?' This is a question that babcia often posed to me over many of our long discussions about life. She would invariably ask, 'Sam, where are you going?' Indeed, in a political context we must always ask ourselves: where are we going? What is our purpose and what are we trying to achieve as individuals, families, communities and as a parliament, government and a state?


Before we know where we are going, we need to know where we have come from. Our founding fathers, like Wakefield and Angas, were radicals for their time. They had a vision for a new colony, a new system and a new democracy. George Fife Angas wanted the new colony of South Australia to be driven by individuals who believed in free trade, free government and the freedom of religion. The vision and drive of people like Angas saw South Australia become a self-governing colony in 1856 with the ratification of a new constitution by the British parliament.


Our democratic institutions that underpin our democracy and safeguard our property rights, liberty and freedoms are drawn out of the values of the British Westminster system. The fledgling experiment that was the colony of South Australia further enhanced the Westminster tradition of democracy and political liberty by enacting legislation that created the secret ballot in 1856 and the universal franchise in 1894.


Today, we as members of the 54th parliament are custodians of those political freedoms and those that we enjoy today as well: the rule of law, our constitutional monarchy, an independent judiciary, an impartial Public Service and free speech. Unfortunately, over the past few years and decades, we have slowly seen the erosion of many long-held freedoms and traditions in our society.
In recent years, we have dangerously eroded the value of free speech in this nation. Surely, I ask, in this wonderful, modern, pluralistic society that Australia is today, individuals and organisations have the right to publicly debate matters of importance.


It has been free speech, and open debate on contentious issues, that has for hundreds of years safeguarded the rights of individuals in the public square. As members of parliament, we must do all that we can to protect the value of free speech, ensure that parliament remains sovereign and ceases handing power to unelected and unaccountable institutions that, whilst well intended, have created detrimental consequences for the value and fabric of our society.


The South Australian colony was an experiment. It was an idea, a colony of independent, property-owning individuals who saw rights as universal, a colony built on free enterprise not convict labour. Since self-governance, our colony and state has seen boom and bust, depression, recession and drought. However, we know that our best days are always in front of us. My vision for
South Australia is to see free enterprise as the foundation of economic prosperity.


Over the last 16 years, we have seen the state government become the number one company in town, the number one employer, the number one provider of services and the number one provider of corporate welfare. None of this is sustainable, as is evident by our current budget position, low population growth and under-performing vocational and educational sectors. This can
no longer be the case. It was never the ideal for our founding fathers and it is not sustainable for a modern and prosperous South Australia.


We have much to be proud of, and, as a younger parliamentarian, I am driven by the need to retain young people in our state for employment opportunities and genuine career pathways. We need to match the quality of our enviable lifestyle with economic outcomes to avoid the loss of young professionals and families who are forced to relocate interstate to pursue job prospects. The role of the state government is in supporting private enterprise, and therefore we must recast this definition
and our role.

His Excellency the Governor in his speech to the 54th parliament last week highlighted that this Liberal government will be a government focused on small business as the driver of our economic prosperity, focused on removing taxation that is an impediment to economic growth, and a government focused on its people throughout the entire state, not just the CBD. I am excited to be part of a Liberal government that will restore confidence in our state's future. South Australians have
voted for change and have given a mandate to our economic agenda and our value in this parliament.

Our legislative priorities include lowering the cost of doing business through regulatory reform and cutting tax while developing new policy settings to attract investment. That will be our legacy over the next four years. I would like to briefly touch on four important policy directions that I believe we should take in this state and become our quo vadis to ensure our future economic and
intellectual prosperity: small business, infrastructure, education, and the arts.

Just as a South Australian company drove private investment growth, infrastructure spending and development in the early South Australian colony, we in the 21st century must once again look to the private sector to drive and develop South Australia into a hub of economic activity. Private capital will flow back into this state if we aim to become a low-cost jurisdiction with sensible regulation
that is not a handbrake on economic activity. Reforming and reducing payroll tax, stamp duties and land tax are the first steps to becoming a low-cost jurisdiction and investing new capital into South Australia. Failure to achieve these reforms will continue to see South Australia lag behind our Eastern States and Tasmania.

Investment attraction is not about picking winners. It is about providing opportunity— opportunities in the secondary financial services and advisory sector, new technologies and startups and in biotech and opportunities to value-add in the agricultural and horticultural sectors. To drive this growth agenda, it is imperative that this Liberal government invests in its people to build
the capacity and skills required to support business growth, as well as continuing to invest in critical infrastructure. Continued investment in infrastructure is an imperative for any state government. Adelaide has been known for many years as the 20-minute city with affordable residential housing. Ensuring that we remain the 20-minute city, the envy of the nation, whilst also ensuring that we have population growth, means that we need to seriously look at the planning of our city to encourage density of living in our suburbs whilst at the same time maintaining our sense of open space, natural environment and suburban community. Infrastructure spending needs to look beyond the four-year political cycle and focus on the long term, long-term sustainable infrastructure growth.

Our commitment to Globe Link, for example, by creating a long-term freight solution for this state, is the forward-thinking planning that is required. Short-term vanity projects are not the solution. Infrastructure building in this state also needs its quo vadis moment. Benjamin Franklin said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Correctly and positively investing in our schools, both public and private, our institutions, technical colleges and research institutions, such as SAHMRI
and the Waite Institute in my electorate, will ensure that South Australians have the skills, knowledge and tenacity to make a positive contribution to our state, nation and international community. South Australia produces some of the best university graduates in all academic pursuits in the nation. It is our obligation that these bright minds have a home and career here in South Australia if they choose. It is no longer acceptable simply to talk about the brain drain and bemoan the exodus of young South Australians from this state. This government's policies, investments in education, skills and new industries will ensure that South Australians have genuine choice and opportunities.

I am a great supporter of the liberal arts and the role that art and creative minds play in our society. In my maiden speech to this house, I spoke about how the value of the arts needs to be recognised not only for the intrinsic value of both enhancing and enriching our emotional lives but also for the far-reaching effects on the economy, health, wellbeing and education. In recent years,
we have rightly seen our primary and high schools focus on the benefit of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), but the teaching of STEM should not be at the expense of the teaching of history, music, the classics, art and design. Successive budgets have failed to invest in a liberal arts education. Some of our most disadvantaged students in the classroom greatly benefit from music therapy and the sanctuary that the great composers provide to mind and soul. An
investment in the liberal arts is an investment in our community and our society.


As the local member for Waite and as a member of a Marshall Liberal government, I know that our reform agenda will directly benefit my community with our values and policies. It was recently said in this house by my predecessor that a Liberal government could not deliver for the people of my community. I am very proud to say that a Liberal government will deliver for my beautiful and diverse community. We have a plan to invest in our local roads through our Mitcham Hills road
corridor funding announcements.

Our investments in the environment with Glenthorne Farm and Brownhill Creek, as well as in local sporting clubs from the user groups of Hewett Reserve (the Unley Jets Football Club, Unley Cricket Club, Blackwood Bowling Club and Coromandel Valley Ramblers Cricket Club) will ensure that my local community receives much-required grassroots rejuvenation via a Liberal
government—rejuvenation and investment that can be delivered only by a Liberal government, a government that is committed to investment that will drive jobs, export and infrastructure growth, community and participation. This is investment that will grow our state and that will be our local quo vadis.

As I draw my remarks to a close, I would like to briefly say a few words about our local election campaign in Waite. Firstly, it has been an honour to be the former member for Davenport since 2015, and I wish the new member for Davenport all the best. I am very sad to be no longer representing the wonderful people of Flagstaff Hill, Bellevue Heights and Bedford Park; however, I
know that the new member for Davenport will not let his constituents down. The 2016 Electoral Commission of South Australia boundary redistribution saw my seat of Davenport significantly altered, with the majority of my constituents finding themselves in the new electorate of Waite, together with my electorate office and home. It was on this basis that I stood as
the Liberal candidate for the newly redrawn electorate of Waite at the March 2018 election. As the endorsed Liberal candidate for Waite, my attention was immediately focused on two electoral outcomes: regaining the seat of Waite for the Liberal Party and ensuring that on 17 March 2018 we ended 16 years of failed Labor administration.

The challenge in front of us was not always easy. In Waite, we initially faced off against the incumbent and long-serving member and then, increasingly, the popular and populist Nick Xenophon and his SA-Best party. Mr Speaker, personally, congratulations on becoming truly the lion of Hartley in defeating the Xenophon threat in your seat. Statewide, as always, we have had to battle against the Labor Party and their shameless campaign and trade union machine. I am so proud and happy
that together we achieved both electoral outcomes. This was due to the extraordinary efforts of my dedicated campaign team led by Malcolm Post and Travis Monckton, together with Jenny Hembrow, Ross Mullan and John Hepworth;
hundreds of grassroots Liberal Party members; my colleagues, in particular the Hon. Terry Stephens in the other place and the President of the Legislative Council, the members for Schubert, Boothby and Barker; members of our state executive who worked so hard behind the scenes including Alex Antic, Caroline Rhodes and Nicola Centofanti; former members for Davenport, Iain and
Stan Evans; the fantastic and incredibly hardworking Young Liberals, led by their president, Jocelyn Sutcliffe; Brendan Clark, Charlotte Edmonds, Tut Tut and Heidi Gerolamo, who took two weeks of annual leave in the lead-up to the election; my family, especially my brother who I love dearly and who is a great campaign asset; and my dedicated staff, office volunteers and supporters. Waite is back in Liberal hands and South Australia has a majority Liberal government with a
mandate to reform. Whether it was letterboxing, doorknocking, stuffing envelopes, handing out how-to-vote cards or simply making a small donation, the work undertaken by volunteers was extraordinary. Without your tireless support and encouragement, we would not have been able to win the seat of Waite. I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who supported me and the
Liberal Party throughout this campaign. I trust you are proud of our efforts and this Liberal government does not let you down.


In conclusion, South Australia has a chance to reshape its future under a Liberal government, a government that stems its policy settings from the Liberal conservative tradition, a government that supports small business and our regions, a government that supports families and their communities and a government that co-invests with business as the generators of jobs and prosperity for our state. I thank the people of Waite for the opportunity to be part of this future.