State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall has reacted furiously to today’s news that one of his predecessors, Martin Hamilton-Smith, will serve as an Independent and accept an offer to serve as a minister in the Weatherill Labor Government.
Marshall cancelled his scheduled departure to New Zealand today to deal with the political bombshell, describing today as “a very sad day for South Australian democracy”.
He said Labor had approached four of his MPs, Hamilton-Smith included, seeking their support. Last week, senior Liberal Duncan McFetridge told Parliament that Labor had sounded him out.
Marshall said the Liberal Party would pick themselves up and hold the Government to account.
“Mr Hamilton-Smith’s disgraceful decision is unrivalled in its treachery and duplicity,” Marshall said.
“What makes Mr Hamilton-Smith’s treacherous decision even worse is that he has betrayed South Australians living in his electorate of Waite.
“Mr Hamilton-Smith has betrayed the 456,000 South Australians who voted for the State Liberals as a first preference – 92,000 more votes than the Labor Party.
“Mr Hamilton-Smith has betrayed small businesses in South Australia for now adopting Labor policies that will hurt businesses going forward.
“Mr Hamilton-Smith might think he can call himself an independent Liberal, but he is now a member of a Labor Cabinet.
“With Mr Hamilton-Smith’s background, he should understand what loyalty means. Clearly he doesn’t have a clue about loyalty.”
He said ” Mr Hamilton-Smith’s decision to defect to a parasitic, divided and dysfunctional Labor Party is an act of political betrayal and treachery that will never be forgotten.”
Marshall told a press conference this afternoon that “today is a very sad day for South Australian democracy”.
“Martin has made this decision in his own interests – it’s despicable.”
He also expressed some confusion about the decision.
“His reasons are completely hollow; they don’t ring true.”
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