Greens’ MLC Tammy Franks has called on the SA Liberals to stand up for South Australia and urge the Prime Minister to dump his $170 million plebiscite and free up funds for Whyalla steel and to support workers and the community.
Yesterday in state parliament, the Greens employed a rarely used Question Time provision to direct a question not to the State Labor Government but instead to the State Liberal Opposition. The response from the Opposition leader in the Legislative Council was underwhelming in its support for the future of steelworks in our state.
The transcript follows:
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Firmly cognisant of standing order 107, I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of Arrium funding to the Leader of the Opposition in this place.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: As members of this council are patently aware, indeed painfully aware, Arrium has been placed in administration and the administrators, KordaMentha, have been busy stabilising the business and preparing it for sale…. Yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament wrote to our Prime Minister asking him to use the money from the pointless plebiscite of at least $170 million that will be wasted on a pointless vote and put $50 million to save and prepare Arrium for sale and save the town of Whyalla.
My question to the Leader of the Opposition in this place is: will the opposition, similarly, write to the Prime Minister and ask him to put $50 million towards Arrium and drop the pointless plebiscite to do so, and you will have $120 million plus to spare?
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: Thank you, Mr President. I will respond to the Greens member's question. As we all know, the plebiscite is a federal issue. I know the Prime Minister will be interested in the Hon. Tammy Franks' views and I am more than happy to send a copy of the Hansard and her wishes to the Prime Minister for him to review it.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS:54: A supplementary: if the Leader of the Opposition in this place isn't willing to put a letter together simply to secure the future of the third largest town in this state, I am happy to pencil together a letter for him to sign and send. Will he show the leadership and do that to support the town of Whyalla?
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:55 :15 ): As the honourable member knows, this party - the Liberal Party has always supported the town of Whyalla through a number of projects, over a very long period of time. On the issue of same-sex marriage and the plebiscite, that is a federal issue. If the honourable member would like, I will write a letter to the Prime Minister to convey her wishes and let him respond accordingly.
Greens MLC, Tammy Franks added: “The Greens urge the Leader of the Opposition, Steve Marshall, to show the leadership his Upper House counterpart sadly lacks and write to PM Turnbull suggesting that he drop the pointless marriage plebiscite and instead put $50m to Arrium to secure the future of Whyalla. The offer I made yesterday to help the Liberals to write that letter stands - all Mr Marshall would have to do is simply sign it and send.”