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SA's new Deputy Premier quietly appointed

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Energy Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan has been handed the role of Deputy Premier on an interim basis – quietly appointed to the role he is expected to seek his colleagues’ endorsement for at a party-room ballot tomorrow.

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Ex-Speaker Josh Teague was yesterday sworn in as the state’s new Local Government and Planning Minister, replacing Vickie Chapman who quit both portfolios.

He will also be acting as Attorney-General, with Chapman “standing aside” from her primary ministry while under investigation by the Ombudsman for potential conflicts of interest and breaches of the ministerial code of conduct.

The Liberal House of Assembly party-room will meet tomorrow to elect a new deputy leader, with van Holst Pellekaan, David Speirs and John Gardner all understood to be considering contending.

However, van Holst Pellekaan will already be serving in the role after being quietly appointed by the Governor as the state’s Deputy Premier yesterday – a fact not made public until a late afternoon notice in the Government Gazette.

Premier Steven Marshall’s office said van Holst Pellekaan, the leader of government business in the House, was in the role on an interim basis and was selected because he is the most senior cabinet member after Chapman.

It comes as the Government finally clarified its legal advice on Chapman’s ministerial remuneration while she takes leave from her role.

She will remain in cabinet, but not attend meetings, with the Premier yesterday unable to explain whether she would be able to forego her $150,000 ministerial salary boost or opt to somehow pay it back.

In a statement after 5pm yesterday, Treasurer Rob Lucas said that “the Government has just received Crown Law advice confirming that the Honourable Vickie Chapman MP is able to relinquish her entitlement to additional Ministerial salary for the entire period that another minister is performing the functions and discharging the duties of the Attorney-General”.

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