The new Parliament has begun today, with independent MP Bob Such making a surprise appearance to be sworn in – and the Governor outlining the Government’s agenda for the next term.
3.12pm: The Governor’s speech is over (see 2.47pm entry below for details).
The speech, which outlines the Government’s agenda for the next term, was focused heavily on jobs, transforming the economy, and restoring the public’s faith in the democratic system.
After some stasis in Education reform, it looks like there will be some changes.
Mental health also looks like an area of renewed reform, including the roll-out of former thinker in residence Martin Seligman’s strategy for building resilience in children.
2.47pm Governor begins his speech, outlining the Government’s priorities for the next four years.
He recaps the “seven pillars” of Jay Weatherill’s first government and says his government “recommits” to these priorities.
Since then there have been two events with “deep and direct” implications for the state – BHP’s decision not to go ahead with the Olympic Dam expansion, and Holden’s decision to end Australian manufacturing.
“We’re now in a period of accelerated change that will be both challenging and unsettling.”
He adds there is now a “fresh sense of optimism” stemming from changes to the city, and investment in city infrastructure.
He goes over recent accolades from the likes of National Geographic, and various “livability” plaudits.
We need to retain our bright young people.
Now, he’s talking about the new Department of State Development, as reported in InDaily yesterday.
Says it will lead the challenge of transforming our economy and growing our prosperity; it will find new opportunities in sectors not considered traditional strengths.
The Economic Development Board will have carriage of a jobs accelerator fund.
The Government will intensify collaboration between business, government and academia.
A “high powered” Health Industry SA board will be established to grow that sector.
“We must develop a stronger culture of innovation in South Australia.” Public sector must lead by example.
It’s all about the economy and jobs so far.
He says the South Australian character owes much to the Dunstan years.
Talking now about engaging with India and China – the importance of exports, and inbound investment, particularly from China.
Now on to changes to favour business – WorkCover and payroll tax reform.
Government will reduce red tape for small businesses.
Regional South Australia will gain more support from the government, including from individual agencies.
Primary Industries Department will focus on entire food chain, from paddock to plate.
Education Act will be amended to better meet needs of students, families and the community (not much detail about how). Online tools will be developed to allow better input from the community about schools.
Now, some words about equal opportunity – nobody should be left behind.
Community needs to be better dedicated to building mental health and resilience. We need to know more about mental illnesses.
An independent mental health commission will be established to better coordinate services and develop next phase of mental health reform.
Law and order now gets a run – they’ll have another go at previously rejected legislation to bankrupt serious offenders.
A disability justice plan will improve access to the system by people with a disability.
Govt seeking to meet its agenda in a way which improves perceptions of the democratic process.
There appears to be “an urgent need to reform our democracy”. Mentions reform to political donations process.
People must be involved in decisions that shape their lives.
Improved governance should be considered one of the great challenges of this 53rd Parliament.
Now, he wishes Bob Such a speedy recovery from his illness.
Result of last election was not clear, but the message was: the people expect more from government.
Government has a bold agenda that puts people first and creates sustainable jobs.
Declares the session over – and that’s it.
2.38pm Governor Kevin Scarce has arrived – his speech will be delivered shortly.
2.16pm Pomp and ceremony ahead of the Governor’s arrival to open Parliament.
12.07pm That’s all the action for the time being. A surprisingly eventful start, with Bob Such receiving a warm welcome, and several MPs, including Geoff Brock, having to be “re-sworn” after a muck-up the first time round.
We’ll be back at 2.30pm to report on the Governor’s speech, which will outline the Government’s priorities for the next term.
12.06pm: Members have begun the traditional procession to Government House, following their swearing in. Key MP Geoff Brock stopped to talk to the media about Bob Such’s appearance today: “He’s a very dedicated politician … We want him back in the parliament doing what he does best.”
Such has taken leave to receive treatment for a brain tumour.
Earlier, Such left the chamber with Premier Jay Weatherill.
11.43am: Michael Atkinson has been elected speaker. He says he’s looking forward to a parliament in which members’ answers are heard in silence “or something like it”. Laughter ensues.
11.37am: Labor’s Russell Wortley has been elected unopposed as President of the Legislative Council, replacing fellow Labor MP John Gazzola.
11.28am: Bob Such has just been sworn in, along with the other House of Assembly members, after receiving an emotional welcome by fellow MPs.
11am: Independent MP Bob Such, who is receiving treatment for a brain tumour, made a surprise appearance this morning, entering the chamber for the opening a short time ago.
He received an emotional and warm welcome from fellow MPs.
Join us here from 2.30pm for live coverage of the speech, which will outline the State Government’s priorities for the next four years.
The 53rd Parliament has begun with ceremonial business, including the swearing-in of members and, after midday, the election of the Speaker.
Question Time will follow the Governor’s speech.
9am: Earlier today, independent MP Geoff Brock, who holds the balance of power, told ABC radio he was nervous about his first day in Parliament as Minister for Local Government and Regional Development.
“I am a bit apprehensive about the first day,” he said. “It’s a new job, it’s a new task, it’s a new challenge.”
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