Surpass Sun Electric
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (14:52): Under standing order 107, I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of the SSE solar company to the Hon. Frank Pangallo.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: SSE (or Surpass Sun Electric Co. Ltd) is an international technology company that started in China in 1997. It has over 20 years of manufacturing experience in electrical and power infrastructure. The company's success led them to expand their operations into our country. Indeed, SSE Australia was established in 2010. It completed over one gigawatt of solar projects in China prior to that move into Australia, and indeed has now commissioned a series of solar projects specifically in South Australia, with the planned 150 megawatt solar project in Whyalla, to be done in three stages, due to be finished in 2019.
A quick check—not just of Google, but with the Australian Business Register and ASIC—will show any member that SSE is registered with ASIC as an active Australian proprietary company limited by shares, and has been for many years. It has also shown up as active under the Australian Business Register, specifically as Surpass Energy Pty Ltd. Further, SSE is also a gold member of the Australian Solar Council—an organisation itself of some 50-plus years' standing in this sector.
Yet, on Wednesday 17 October in the proceedings of this place, it was stated by the Hon. Frank Pangallo that SSE was 'a mystery Chinese renewable energy company', and that Colin Gillam was 'an executive' of that 'mystery Chinese renewable energy company'. The Hon. Mr Pangallo went on to say:
Mr Gillam has since disappeared from SSE, leaving their solar project on the edge of town beset with problems until only recently. Again, no proper investigation of the facts in reporting. It sounded like a good story only because it added spite and spice to the fire and brimstone unleashed on our candidate.
Well, the mystery man has today materialised. Mr Gillam has sent the member, myself and others in this place an email from that very same company, SSE, in his role not as 'project manager' but indeed as general manager—I suspect a promotion rather than a disappearance. My questions to the honourable member are:
1. Does he stand by his claims that SSE is 'a mystery Chinese renewable energy company' that has 'since disappeared…leaving their solar project on the edge of town beset with problems until only recently', or did it just sound like a good story to spin under the protection of parliamentary privilege?
2. Will he now review his claims and take the opportunity to retract them?
The PRESIDENT: Mr Pangallo, this is a matter raised by you in the chamber and therefore I allow the question.
The Hon. F. PANGALLO (14:55): Thank you, Mr President, and I thank the honourable member for her question. I received that email this morning. There were several other claims made in that email, a lot of them quite defamatory, which the honourable member has not gone through. Suffice to say that Mr Gillam has claimed he is the general manager of this business, and we are now in the process of trying to verify that with the headquarters in Shanghai. I give an undertaking that when the council resumes in our next sitting weeks I will have far more information about SSE and Mr Gillam.