InDaily understands Southcott was asked by a state Liberal MP to “retweet” the online video, which depicted Finnigan “morphing” into Malinauskas. It was ostensibly designed to highlight the fact both men hailed from the same union, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, but Southcott believed it went too far in its suggestive imagery, and responded to the colleague that he wanted nothing to do with it.
Southcott, who will vacate his southern suburbs seat of Boothby at next year’s election, confirmed the version of events to InDaily but would not comment further on the ad.
The Finnigan-Malinauskas change means the entire @alpsa Leg Co team are former union officials/party hacks #saparli pic.twitter.com/J9xAb2LMjs
— The SA Liberals (@LiberalSAHQ) November 20, 2015
He did, however, confirm that the Malinauskases are family friends, and he had previously encouraged a teenaged Peter to join the Young Liberals.
The revelation was made in today’s joint sitting of parliament by Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who spoke of first meeting the young shop steward at the home of then-SDA secretary and Labor powerbroker Don Farrell.
Koutsantonis said Malinauskas formally rebuffed Southcott’s entreaties after deciding he was more ideologically aligned with Labor.
“I can remember Pete when he was working stacking shelves at Woolworths in Mitcham,” Southcott told InDaily.
“He was an impressive young man… I did encourage him to join the Young Liberals (and) I think he did think about it for a moment.”
Southcott said he thought Labor had offered his prospective protégé “a much surer track” up the ladder.
He also noted that the discussion took place in 2001, in the wake of the Tampa border protection controversy, an issue that might have rankled with a young man whose grandparents had arrived in Australia as post-war immigrants.
Koutsantonis told parliament his right-faction colleague was “quite frankly a great example of migration to this country”.
“His parents should be very proud of what he’s achieved,” he said.
Malinauskas told InDaily he had no comment to make on the Liberal ad campaign, saying only: “If the Liberals are focussed on me rather than developing their own ideas for the state, good luck to them!”
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