Shop Trading Hours (Extension Of Hours) Amendment Bill (Bills)

Bills, In Parliament, Speeches

Adjourned debate on second reading.

(Continued from 8 September 2022.)

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO (15:37): Today, I have the opportunity to be the opposition’s lead speaker for the Shop Trading Hours (Extension of Hours) Amendment Bill. We, the opposition, welcome the proposal to extend shopping hours in South Australia on Sunday mornings to open at 9am rather than the current 11am opening time.

Opening up at 11am on a Sunday has been the case since 1995, a sensible change made by a Liberal government. Similarly, removing the restrictions of selling red meat on the weekends—again by a Liberal government in the 1990s—was something today we would reflect on as a totally unnecessary restriction. These changes, like today’s bill, is a reflection of modern life. People’s lives are busy and the more convenient a shop is for them to access the easier life can be. Those of us who have children know how important supermarkets being open on a Sunday or at night is to ensure that the pantry is full and the fridge is ready for tomorrow’s school lunches.

My father-in-law, Joe Girolamo, has been a small business owner for the past 40 years. One of his first businesses was a bakery at the Elizabeth Shopping Centre. At that time, in the late 1980s, bakeries were not allowed to bake bread on a Saturday. He could not understand why Woolies and Coles were allowed to bake bread, but he could not sell fresh bread as a small business owner whilst employing South Australians and contributing to our economy.

Joe worked with the government to get legislation changes made, despite complaints and demands from the unions to prevent this. This was a significant change for many bakeries around the state and is something we all take as a normal right, to have fresh bread and produce on the weekend.

The government has proposed some measures to improve shopping hours for South Australians. We are not hearing cries that the sky is going to fall in with these extended shopping hours. Additional hours will help South Australian shoppers and provide additional employment to many South Australians.

The government should ensure they get out of the way of South Australian families and working South Australians and further reduce red tape and open up shopping hours from the archaic restrictive past practice. Our shop trading laws should better represent the expectations of the public: allow bricks and mortar shops to compete whilst the online marketplace goes on 24 hours a day. We also need to provide balance for businesses in South Australia, ensuring that our brilliant ‘small business state’ title is supported and sustained.

From briefings with the government on this bill it seems like the government and Peter Malinauskas will give with one hand and take away with the other. Having different rules and red tape for different sectors is confusing and holds our state back. The opposition has undertaken a period of consultation, directly asking the public what they want, and it is clear: they do not like the government’s style of consultation—only talking to their mates in the union, promising them all the power.

Like many South Australians, I would love to see what consultation has been done by the government. There was no callout via, which is the usual forum for public feedback, so the opposition undertook its own consultation. We are not proposing that all shops be open all the time, but our amendments will make practical, pragmatic changes and reflect the society and times we live in and what South Australians want: a simple to understand, modern shop trading regime for a modern city.

Through this consultation one of our amendments is that we propose shops close at 6pm rather than 5pm on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Our public consultation made it clear that people would like to see shops closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day and Christmas Day. The public want to see more consistent and clear rules regarding other public holidays such as Boxing Day. At the very least all shops should be able to trade on Boxing Day if they choose to do so. This will be another amendment of the opposition. The proposed amendments relating to public holidays by the government as they currently stand still create confusion and complicate trading hours further.

‘Black Friday’ was coined in the US as the day after Thanksgiving and seen traditionally as the starter gun of the Christmas period as it creeps into our psyche and vocabulary here in Australia too. There are massive online sales, and whilst we do not acknowledge Thanksgiving in Adelaide the starting pistol certainly has certainly arrived by the fourth Thursday in November, as Santa arrives at the Magic Cave by this time, and it is more acceptable to have Christmas decorations out for sale in the windows. So, we certainly support the proposal to secure Black Friday trading and changes around additional public holidays.

However, the opposition believes that the proposed amendments should go further to recognise that we now live and work in the 21st century. Our shopping laws should demonstrate this. Adelaide is a modern city and deserves to be allowed to change to reflect our modern standing.

The opposition has serious concerns about the government’s proposed changes to the exemption process. We want to ensure that it is a true, balanced consultation process that cannot be gamed by the minister of the day or by the union or industry groups. The former government gave the public what they wanted: shops open on most public holidays. The public responded with their feet and some of the biggest retail trading days in the state were had. The tills were ringing and everyone who wanted to shop could shop until their hearts were content.

Peter Malinauskas is not interested in giving the public what they want, but he is happy to dance to the tune of his union. Now the government wants to introduce an unelected body to the process and give them effective power of vetoing public holiday trading, removing the authority from the minister. This has a lot of concerns and is a huge overreach of mammoth proportions. The Labor Party will shackle any future government against best servicing their electorate mandates.

At best it limits the exemptions the government or future governments can make, and at worst it takes the control out of the minister’s responsibility entirely. For example, hypothetically, if in the future there was a party that was swept into power on the back of further deregulation of trading laws they would not be able to make these exemptions without the SDA having the right to veto, a complete disregard for the electoral process and a wrong incursion by an unelected body into the powers of this parliament and ministers.

Whereas previously it was the minister of the day having the authority to grant exemptions, now a union can stand in the way of a shop owner opening their own shop if he or she wishes, with workers missing out on paid work on a public holiday and shoppers missing out on what they are used to and should expect. It is confusing and concerns the additional powers of the union that may be granted.

In regard to proclaimed districts and car and boat sales, the Liberal Party, as always, is the party of choice for the regions. We are not proposing any changes around these districts. Similarly, after consultation with the MTA, Independent Retailers and Business SA, there will be no changes to the boat or car sales industries.

I look forward to putting forward the opposition’s pragmatic amendments that will improve this bill for all South Australians, not just for the government’s union mates. It will bring South Australia into a modern state of shop trading laws. Too many hysterics get in the way of the good, sound and practical politics in this state. Whilst it is pleasing to see that the government has finally come to its senses and opened up the shop trading in this state—only slightly, but we are still happy to support this change—we do look forward to more progress and more sensible changes in shop trading laws.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:46): On behalf of the Greens, I rise to support the Shop Trading Hours (Extension of Hours) Amendment Bill 2022. I have just been apprising myself of the many and varied speeches that I have made about shop trading hours in this place since I was elected in 2010. The last speech I gave I think was about the proposal for a referendum—that referendum with a silent ‘B’ at the end that was proposed by former Treasurer Rob Lucas, who made this his crusade, a crusade for full deregulation of shop trading hours in this state, which he thought would be very popular. Clearly, the election results speak for themselves. People did not want to shop until the staff dropped, and we never had a referendum on the shop trading hours.

What we actually could have had almost four years ago—in fact, for the last three years of the Marshall government—was the compromise that we currently debate today. This is a compromise that would change shop trading hours on Sundays so that shops could open from 9am instead of 11am. It would also address some current, very minor but important issues within the legislation that would ensure that the minister can now appoint inspectors, where previously they had to be appointed by cabinet.

The compromise would also create a standalone section that ensures workers cannot be forced to work on Sundays, and it extends this rule so that workers cannot be forced to work on public holidays. This is something that the Greens welcome and support and something that I do not believe would have been put before us under the previous government’s proposals.

The bill also formalises the current, more recent arrangements that have come to be known as part of our retail industry culture, if you like, which see trading on Boxing Day and maintain the carve-out for supermarkets in the Greater Adelaide shopping district. It also establishes more stringent requirements for granting or declaring exemptions under the act. We have seen them used and abused under the previous Marshall government by former Treasurer Rob Lucas.

Going forward, this bill provides better management of those exemptions where the proposed exemption is appropriate in order for a shop or shops to open at an exhibition, a show or a local or special event, or to meet requirements of tourists or other visitors. It requires community consultation and notice to be given to the community and that the exemptions are not so extensively used as to actually undermine the purpose of the act. The minister must indeed be satisfied that the exemption would not be opposed by the majority of interested industry parties.

For the bill that we have before us, while I am sure the opposition will make great mileage of the SDA’s support of this legislation, I point out that there are two unions involved: there is RAFFWU as well. It is not the SDA pulling the strings here and it is not the SDA having its own way; it is a consensus bill that is being developed in proper consultation with the community.

I note the correspondence that I received, and I believe all members of this place have probably received, on 26 September with regard to this bill from Foodland Supermarkets Chief Executive Officer, Franklin dos Santos. He writes to inform myself and other members of parliament that Foodland Supermarkets Australia supports the bill:

Foodland Supermarkets Australia believes that the Bill strikes the right balance among the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of small supermarkets and convenience stores, and local growers and suppliers. In so doing, the Bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of the South Australian people and economy as a whole.

Foodland Supermarkets encourages us to support the bill. I note also that on the same day the South Australian Independent Retailers wrote with similar support for this particular bill and noted some media commentary that they distance themselves from. South Australian Independent Retailers state:

…that the Bill strikes the right balance among the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of small supermarkets and convenience stores, and local growers and suppliers. In so doing, the Bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of the South Australian people and economy as a whole.

They are singing from the same song sheet. I think this is what I would call a reasonable compromise, a step forward, an end to the cold war that was waged by the former Treasurer on this quest that he had, a crusade if you like, for fully deregulated shop trading hours. It is a sense of security and certainty not just for the workers but for the industry itself and for the consumers.

I would hope that this will be one of the last times that we are here debating shop trading hours in such legislation. I do, of course, anticipate that some changes to the public holiday act may soon come, and I welcome that particular debate, but that is not a debate for today. This is a debate that I hope will be one that gives that certainty for all parties.

I note that the opposition has stated and foreshadowed that they have an amendment to this bill. They have stated that they have done consultation. Well, they posted something on their Facebook page five days ago, possibly six days ago. It is still out for consultation, according to that Facebook post. That Facebook post also says that they have not decided their position and yet here we are, we have had late last night a tabled amendment from the opposition to extend from 5pm to 6pm the trading hours.

I cannot see how that was properly consulted on. I cannot see that the Liberal Party has been clear to the public about their position. I certainly think they are still carrying the legacy of the former Treasurer, Rob Lucas, and his crusade on this issue. I think the South Australian public deserve more clarity than they are currently getting from the opposition on this particular issue. With that, I look forward to the debate on the bill, and we will support all stages.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (15:53): I rise on behalf of SA-Best to speak about the shop trading bill and indicate that SA-Best will be supporting it but not the amendments proposed by the opposition. SA-Best, of course, welcomes the reforms to shop trading hours this bill will bring while at the same time protecting the unique position South Australian consumers enjoy with a competitive supermarket sector, where our prices are generally much lower than the Eastern States because of the vibrant independent Foodland group providing a mighty South Aussie alternative to the big three market predators: Woolworths, Coles and the rising giant, Aldi.

Had Rob Lucas and the Marshall government had their way, the big three and some of the big retailers would have devoured their smaller competitors. I could not convince the former Treasurer to at least even consider what this bill is now doing—the extra hours on weekends. It was all or nothing, our way or the highway, and as we have seen, they have gone down the highway. This bill will also be welcome news to other small and large businesses as well as workers, who must voluntarily agree to be rostered on given public holidays. You could not ask for anything fairer than that.

As well as providing an extra two hours to trade on weekends, from 9am to 5pm, excluding New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, the bill also enables establishing trading, without ministerial intervention, on extended trading hours for shopping events like the ubiquitous Black Friday at the end of November and on weekdays in the days leading up to Christmas. Trading is to be allowed on specific public holidays outside the Greater Adelaide shopping district, like Boxing Day, while excluding shops that sell predominantly foodstuffs. Who does supermarket shopping for groceries on Boxing Day anyway?

When the previous Treasurer gave a blanket decree for this to happen to all businesses across the state three or four years ago, I spent one whole Boxing Day surveying many shopping centres in the metropolitan area. Predictably, you could only find tumbleweeds in the supermarkets that chose to open, while smaller businesses just shut up shop because it was uneconomic to trade. The same thing happened in subsequent years, right up until the Liberals lost office. The only ones to benefit were the Westfields at Marion, West Lakes and Tea Tree Plaza and other larger centres at Elizabeth and also Colonnades.

I will, however, commend the former Treasurer in extending hours to enable people to move freely to do their essential shopping during the dark days of COVID. Even then, however, there were stores that had fewer shoppers than expected at night, unless of course there were search parties looking for toilet paper and tissues, which for a time were as rare as hen’s teeth.

The ability for the minister to order a blanket decree is gone. He cannot declare an exemption unless he has consulted with interested parties and is satisfied that the move has the support from at least one representing the interests of workers and employers. I will note here that the MTA did raise with us their concerns that their members would not be covered by this, as there is no employee-based union covering retail vehicle and boat salespersons. However, the Attorney-General has given us an undertaking to rectify this anomaly.

This government’s approach to exemptions, in my view, puts consensus of the industry front and centre of the decision-making process and puts industry stakeholders back in control of shop trading hours, as is intended by the act, by limiting the minister’s ability to undermine and control shop trading hours with extensive or excessive exemptions.

The bill has the support from key stakeholders, and it is welcoming to see that the government—like SA-Best and, I am sure, my colleagues opposite in the Greens—did undertake extensive consultation with all the relevant sectors. The South Australian Independent Retailers and Foodland Supermarkets are fully supportive. They agree that the bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of smaller IGAs, convenience stores and local growers and suppliers.

The passage of this bill will provide consumers with flexibility to organise their weekends as well as allow businesses to maximise the sale of available stock before next purchase. In adjusting for trading hours flexibility, the bill also achieves inclusivity in expanding consumer accessibility.

In summary, the changes to South Australia’s shop trading hours represent a move to a position that more accurately reflects the needs of busy families, adapts to a change in community expectations and can compete with the realities of online marketplace options. Hear, hear, to a commonsense approach. With those words, I indicate the support of SA-Best for this bill.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:59): I wish to thank those who contributed to this debate. In particular I thank the Hon. Tammy Franks who, as the honourable member pointed out, has been very consistent over quite a number of years on the issue of shop trading hours, and the Hon. Frank Pangallo who, likewise, has been consistent since his time in this chamber on the need to strike a sensible balance between the needs of families, the needs of South Australian businesses, the needs of retailers, and the needs of consumers.

Probably most of all, I would like to thank the opposition for their contribution on this matter. I have to say I thank the opposition from the bottom of my heart for continuing the legacy of the Hon. Rob Lucas. I welcome the opposition continuing on with the polices of the Hon. Rob Lucas because the Hon. Rob Lucas was one of the best assets the Labor Party had. I welcome the opposition continuing with the same sort of policies, the same sort of attitudes in this area that the Hon. Rob Lucas had.

The opposition asked about consultation. The consultation that this government has done has been extensive with those who represent workers and those who represent unions—extensive consultation in the lead-up to this bill being introduced but also for many years before. There was consultation with the likes of Business SA, the SA Independent Retailers, Drake Supermarkets, Rundle Mall, Shopping Centre Council of Australia, Australian Retail Association, National Retail Association, Motor Trade SA, Food SA, Bunnings, Kmart, SA Unions, SDA and the United Workers Union, to mention just a few.

But the ultimate consultation happened with 1,127,642 South Australians at the last election. This was a very clear difference between the Labor Party and the Liberal Party, and a very clear difference between the Greens and the Liberal Party, a very clear difference between SA-Best and the Liberal Party. That statewide consultation about this and other policies returned an overwhelming result. The people of South Australia roundly rejected the policies that were espoused for so many years by the Hon. Rob Lucas, that I thank the current opposition for continuing it. I think it will help them stay in opposition if they continue down this path.

The Hon. Tammy Franks mentioned the consultation that the opposition undertook. The policy we are seeing in legislation now has been the policy for three years of opposition and the policy well-known and well-documented in the lead-up to the election, and the policy that we went out and consulted on with more than a dozen organisations, business groups, and those who represent workers, as I outlined.

The opposition’s consultation I believe was done late Thursday evening, by sending out an email. They sent out an email saying they were now considering this policy. We come here a few days later—two or three working days later—and that is the opposition’s consultation. I want to thank the opposition for, firstly, continuing with the extremist policies of the Hon. Rob Lucas and, secondly, I want to thank the opposition for considering that a couple of working days constitutes good and proper consultation. I think that stands them in good stead for a long and glorious time in opposition if they continue this.

The exemption process was mentioned by the opposition and, again, I thank the opposition for raising the exemption process. It seems to be worn like some sort of badge of honour by the opposition, that the former treasurer, the Hon. Rob Lucas, sought to circumvent the operation of this act by continually applying blanket exemptions. The South Australian people voted, more than a million voted on this and other policies and that was roundly rejected, so I thank the opposition for harking back to the days and letting the cat out of the bag that a future Liberal government would continue that practice of the former government in granting blanket exemptions that would force people to work and open stores on public holidays.

I think that is a welcome admission by the opposition, that that is what they intend to do. I think it is a very welcome admission but moreover I want to thank the opposition for continuing the rhetoric that the Hon. Rob Lucas used. We would have the Hon. Rob Lucas regularly come in here and talk about union bosses, denigrate people who were unionists or who belonged to unions.

I thank the opposition for continuing to talk about ‘your union mates’—the pejorative way they categorise unions. It speaks to a warfare against working people, but I thank them for keeping it up because, as I said, it will help keep them for a very long time in opposition with these sorts of attitudes towards working people.

The SDA union, which has been mentioned, represents hairdressers, represents people who work in retail and represents tens of thousands of South Australians. I think they would be shocked and horrified to hear that the current new generation Liberal members of this place hold them in the same contempt as did the Hon. Rob Lucas. For a whole range of reasons, I wish to thank the opposition for their contribution on this and wish them well for their long years in opposition.

Bill read a second time.

Committee Stage

In committee.

Clause 1.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Will the Attorney-General give an assurance, an undertaking, in relation to the query that was put forward by the Motor Trade Association?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I can inform the honourable member that I will do better than give an undertaking: I think it was last night that amendments were filed to give effect to exactly that concern, to say that at least one, if there are any. Not only will I give an undertaking, but I have translated it into a government amendment that I will be moving later.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: From the consultation and feedback you mentioned before, what public engagement has been made and was YourSAy used as a method of collating consultation and feedback from the people of South Australia?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I listed more than a dozen groups that were directly consulted with by the government. I reiterate that we had consultation with about 1.2 million South Australians in the lead-up to the last election. I wish at the earliest opportunity now to correct the record. I think I spoke in my second reading sum-up about the opposition’s consultation having started on Thursday of last week. I was wrong, it was Wednesday night of last week about 7.03pm or 7.04pm in an email. Given that Thursday was a public holiday, there was Friday and Monday. The Liberals’ consultation has so far comprised two ordinary working days.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Will the government be providing any exemptions on public holidays over the next four years?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: That is certainly not our policy. After much consultation this bill strikes a very important balance. It allows for areas where there have routinely been exemptions granted for longer shop trading hours in the days leading up to Christmas. An exemption was spoken about for longer hours on Black Friday.

But certainly we will not have a policy to routinely make exemptions on public holidays, let alone every single public holiday, which was pretty much the policy of the former government and seems to be, from indications from the opposition, the policy of a future Liberal government, bemoaning that it will not be as easy to grant exemptions and circumvent the operations of the act. That is not our view. We think the shop trading hours legislation strikes the right and sensible balance between the needs of families and consumers, but importantly it protects South Australian jobs.

I have spoken in this place about how independent retailers stock much more South Australian produce. Creating blanket exemptions, as the Hon. Rob Lucas did when in government, as the opposition has now foreshadowed would be their intention—not just foreshadowed in the second reading contribution but foreshadowed by virtue of the amendments the opposition is bringing to this chamber to make all holidays exempt from the operations of shop trading hours—we think has been repudiated by the South Australian people at the last election. It has been repudiated by every single member of this chamber in the last sitting except the Liberal members of this chamber and we will not be doing that.

So, no, it is not our intention to grant blanket exemptions on public holidays. If extraordinary and special circumstances exist, we will consider it. We considered it on Thursday of last week when there was a public holiday that was not expected either by consumers or the business community. We consulted and we granted an exemption in exceptional circumstances where there was an unexpected public holiday to allow trading after midday. In our view, that is what exemptions mean: it is exempting something out of the ordinary, not a blanket thing to circumvent the act like the Liberals did before and like they have indicated they will do again.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Does the government intend to issue exemptions during the supercar event in December this year, in the CBD?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank the honourable member for his question. It is not something we have contemplated, but if there are exceptional circumstances for a particular event, for a particular circumstance that is out of the ordinary, it is something we will consider. But it is not something that has been flagged with us yet.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: How will you consider that? Would it be an approach from, say, the board, or would it be from retailers or grocers?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I would expect it would be an approach from either a body that represents retailers or an individual outlet or a store. There will be sensible reasons why you might grant a small exemption, but certainly it would not be our policy to grant widescale exemptions on public holidays—on every public holiday.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: Will the Attorney consider granting exemption for the WOMADelaide period?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Again, we will consider exemptions, we will consult with industry stakeholders on a case-by-case basis, but what we will not do, which I have made very, very clear, is issue blanket exemptions on all public holidays, as the former Liberal government did under the Hon. Rob Lucas and as the Liberal opposition is indicating they intend to do by virtue of the amendments they are putting forward to this bill.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: What notice period will be provided to businesses of potential changes to public holiday trading hours, and what certainty or confidence will the business community have in regard to trading on public holidays?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: There is no prescribed notice period and I think that would be difficult to do in the circumstances. By the very nature of exemptions, you are exempting from something that is usual practice. I will give the example of the public holiday last week. That was a public holiday that was not expected and was called on with very little notice. If there was a long period of notice required, it would defeat the purpose of having these sorts of exemptions.

I know the government was approached by retailers and also consulted with those who represent retail workers about the exemption that allowed trading from midday on the public holiday of Thursday of last week, and that is the whole point of exemptions. I have no doubt there will be things that come up. Some of them will be things that affect a particular store or a group of stores and exemptions may be sought, and there may be good reasons for it, but there may be other reasons, like we saw last Thursday, where there are reasonable and sensible exemptions for something that is completely unexpected.

Clause passed.

Clauses 2 and 3 passed.

Clause 4.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I move:

Amendment No 1 [IndRelPubSec–1]—

Page 3, line 35 [clause 4(3), inserted subsection (7)(a)]—After ‘parties’ insert:

(if any)

Amendment No 2 [IndRelPubSec–1]—

Page 3, line 38 [clause 4(3), inserted subsection (7)(b)]—After ‘parties’ insert:

(if any)

Amendment No 3 [IndRelPubSec–1]—

Page 4, line 3 [clause 4(3), inserted subsection (7)(b)(i)]—After ‘exemption’ insert:

(if any)

Amendment No 4 [IndRelPubSec–1]—

Page 4, line 6 [clause 4(3), inserted subsection (7)(b)(ii)]—After ‘exemption’ insert:

(if any)

These are identical amendments that apply to different parts of the same clause by inserting after ‘parties’ the two words ‘(if any)’. It is an issue that the Hon. Frank Pangallo has raised. This came about with a concern that I think was raised with the Hon. Frank Pangallo and that was also raised with us by the Motor Trade Association about exemptions and the requirement to consult with employer and employee bodies in a particular industry. This makes a sensible suggestion, in the case that there are not any in a particular area, to make that clear. It makes common sense but, as we know, we need to make sure that it is accurately reflected in the words of legislation. The amendments make clear that ‘parties (if any)’ need to be consulted with.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: SA-Best supports the Attorney-General’s amendments.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: The opposition supports the amendments.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Greens support the amendments.

Amendments carried; clause as amended passed.

Clause 5 passed.

Clause 6.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Girolamo–1]—

Page 4, line 25 [clause 6(1), inserted subsection (1)(b)]—Delete ‘5.00 p.m.’ and substitute:

6.00 p.m.

Amendment No 2 [Girolamo–1]—

Page 4, line 26 [clause 6(1), inserted subsection (1)(c)]—Delete ‘5.00 p.m.’ and substitute:

6.00 p.m.

The amendment standing in my name is a simple one, basically extending from 5pm on Saturday and Sunday evenings through to 6pm to allow families and shoppers to be able to make sure that they are organised for the week. In the consultation that we undertook, although it was for a shorter time than we would have liked, we did receive a lot of feedback from the people of South Australia, and the general feedback was that that extra hour would go a long way. I have often been at the shops at 4.45 on a Sunday and the shops are full, so we believe that additional hour would go a long way to serving the people of South Australia.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I might, if I can, maybe ask the mover a question. What is the opinion of independent retailers on the amendments that the mover is putting forward?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: From my perspective, I was not involved in those conversations, but I can certainly come back. My colleagues in the other house will be able to answer that question for you.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Further, does the honourable member have any idea at all what the view is of those who represent workers in industries that might be affected by these longer opening hours?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: From my perspective, the Labor Party is probably in a better position to be speaking to the unions in regard to that, but our thoughts are that it would be an additional hour of employment and opportunity for many South Australians.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I might indicate at this stage that we will be opposing these amendments that have been filed by the Liberal Party. The position that we are putting forward in this bill has been extensively consulted on and negotiated with interested parties on a number of sides in relation to this.

Whilst I am quite sure that the very big retailers—the Coles and Woolworths—would welcome this, I am absolutely certain that much of the rest of the industry, and those who represent workers in that industry, would be opposed to this. The reforms to move to 9 o’clock shopping on Sunday was something that was a balance that was struck in negotiation over quite a deal of time, and further negotiated and refined over the last three years and during the six months we have had in government. It is indeed a balancing act between the needs of consumers, the needs of workers in this area and those businesses.

We think there are things that we have in the South Australian shop trading hours system that do give an advantage, and quite rightly an advantage, to independent retailers. The independent retailing sector in South Australia makes up about a third of the supermarket sector compared with single digits in the Eastern States. As I have said in this place before, what that means is the independent retail sector tend to support more South Australian produce and food manufacturers, and I think this shifts the balance away from that independent retail sector and will have a deleterious effect on that.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: My question to the opposition is: how many people actually supported the Liberal amendment that is before us now of extending the trading hours by an hour from 5pm to 6pm? Of those, how many were workers that are then giving up their weekend evenings—being with their families—for another hour when somebody could have gone to the shops at 4.30pm instead of 5.30pm?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: As previously mentioned, I will be able to come back to you with clear data in regard to that, but there were extensive responses received in favour.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I have had a look at the survey that the Liberal Party put out five days ago on Facebook under the leader’s auspices on his MP page. It states: ‘HAVE YOUR SAY!’ with some emojis that are all about shopping—a trolley, a bag and a vocalising head. It then states:

South Australia’s shop trading hours have attracted significant attention in the past, however, little practical progress has been made and there remains a clear need to modernise when shops are allowed to open.

That is a surprising amount of truthfulness and transparency in the fact that little progress was made for the last four years. It goes on to say, however:

We are seeking your feedback that could help shift South Australia’s shop trading hours to a position that more accurately reflects the needs of busy families, businesses and changing community expectations. Have your say here:

It takes you to a link that goes to a Microsoft—

The Hon. K.J. Maher: NationBuilder?

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: No, it is not actually necessarily NationBuilder, but it does ask for people’s Instagram and other social media handles at the end of the survey. It takes them to a Microsoft Teams page. This says:

Shop Trading Hours

Updating South Australia’s shop trading hours is an opportunity to make changes that reflect the needs of busy families and the various ways in which people prefer to shop, while also supporting the prosperity of all businesses.

To help us form a view that strikes the right balance, please share your views below.

1.Should shop trading hours be extended?




If you answer that then you get a range of other questions.

2. If yes, do you support the extending of shop trading hours specifically on weekends?




3. Are there public holidays where shops should NOT be opened? (please specify in ‘other’ which days where there should be no trading)

Other comments or feedback is the fourth question, and then it goes on to ask you for your various details: your mobile number, your email address and your socials—your handles—and your suburb. That is the extent of the survey. How do you get from that an amendment before this place to extend from 5pm to 6pm those hours, and also how do you come in here not having some support? This to me would indicate that you would support the compromise deal that has been reached by extensive consultation with all stakeholders to have an earlier start on Sunday.

So it is quite extraordinary to have received last night an amendment that says that the Liberal opposition support an extension from five to six, claiming that there was an overwhelming number of people who responded to their survey begging for this. I cannot imagine any shop workers, who are now going to have to work nine to 11, wanting to also work five to six, miss their entire family day, not be able to be home in time for cooking meals for their family or, indeed, have a break before the next day’s work, most likely.

It is quite extraordinary to put yet another hour on top of these people, who are already very hardworking and who, under the pandemic, copped the brunt of abuse; who, being real essential workers, with no protections under the Marshall government, copped having shop trading hours extended, when they could not refill the damn shopping shelves, when the products were not arriving, when they were copping the brunt of the abuse. It was touted as apparently some sort of public health measure, which really it was not. It was just part of that stupid cold war the previous Treasurer waged about his unregulated shop trading hours fantasies.

Yet here we are again, with the Liberals yet again playing politics with this, requiring these hard workers to sacrifice yet another hour, five to six. Why five to six? On what basis do you come to us with that amendment, and why are you not wholeheartedly then supporting the nine to 11 compromise, which seems to me a much more sensible contribution to this debate?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I guess in regard to that, there have been more questions around this one hour than the government have had directed to them around the additional two hours. We do support the additional hours. It is an opportunity for South Australians to have a choice as well. There are plenty of people within that survey who would like to see much more than just until 6pm or just till 5pm. This is an opportunity for us to make, I think, very sensible suggestions around having an additional hour so that people can set their families up for the rest of the week by going to the shops.

From the responses that were received there was broad consensus, and that is why we went with that additional hour. We are not suggesting that it be open 24 hours a day. This is just a very sensible, straightforward amendment.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Why, then, did you not ask specifically in your survey, ‘Do you support an extension of the hours from nine until 11 on Sundays, as has been proposed by the current government and will be put forward for us to debate in parliament?’ Why did you not ask that specific question in your consultation? How many workers who are currently going to be required to work extra—not necessarily compelled to, because there is a good compromise here—supported, in addition, having to work five until six if they turned up to work that day?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: In regard to the nine until 11, we are supporting that. From the consultation we had with organisations like Business SA and other industry groups, we are supporting that. The government has not done any consultation with individuals around South Australia. We have, and the feedback is very broad that people would like to see shops open for more hours, so it is as simple as that. The reason we came up with that amendment was just to have a nice, simple addition, for one extra hour. People have the opportunity to earn money for that extra hour and also shoppers would be able to shop for that extra hour.

The committee divided on the amendments:

Ayes 5

Noes 12

Majority 7


Centofanti, N.J.Curran, L.A.Girolamo, H.M. (teller)
Lee, J.S.Lensink, J.M.A.


Bonaros, C.Bourke, E.S.Franks, T.A.
Game, S.L.Hanson, J.E.Hunter, I.K.
Maher, K.J. (teller)Martin, R.B.Ngo, T.T.
Pangallo, F.Simms, R.A.Wortley, R.P.


Hood, D.G.E.Scriven, C.M.Wade, S.G.
Pnevmatikos, I.

Amendments thus negatived.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I move:

Amendment No 1 [Girolamo–2]—

Page 4, lines 27 and 28 [clause 6(1), inserted subsection (1)]—Delete ‘1 January, Easter Sunday, 25 December or any other day that is a public holiday in any year’ and substitute:

Good Friday, Easter Sunday, 25 April or 25 December

Basically, what we are looking to do is simplify the process when it comes to public holidays. We agree that Good Friday, Easter Sunday, ANZAC Day and Christmas Day should remain as public holidays with limited trading, but we do believe that it should be straightforward on the other public holidays, making it easier for the general public to know when shops are open and taking out any red tape or issues with government intervention and just keeping it straightforward. That is basically what these amendments are looking to do: to ensure that on public holidays, outside the four that have been mentioned, there is an opportunity for shops to be able to trade on those days.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I rise to indicate that the government opposes this amendment. It gives legislative effect to the previous position of the Liberal Party, under the Hon. Robert Lucas, of trading on nearly all public holidays—even more so than the previous assault on independent retailers that was put forward in the last set of amendments by the opposition.

The sensible balance we have struck in South Australia does allow independent retailers times when they can trade when the big national chains, like Woolworths and Coles, cannot trade. This gives an advantage to independent retailers in South Australia and, as I have said, that is why we have such a vibrant and thriving independent retail sector that creates more employment in South Australia by virtue of the more produce and the more food manufacturers we have in SA.

We absolutely will not allow the vandalism of the shop trading hour regime by this carte blanche continuation of the previous government’s policies for trading on nearly all public holidays. I would be interested to hear from the mover of the amendment what level of support for this widescale trading on public holidays was revealed with their two working days of consultation.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: These amendments provide certainty for business. The business community, I think, is comfortable and quite interested in that side, to make sure that they know what is happening, so they can prepare for what is happening, and workers can also have that certainty by not having surprises or changes happening. This just creates more possibility for businesses to be able to plan ahead, as well as workers.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Which industry groups support this amendment?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: This amendment is based on discussions with businesses as well as with other industry groups. I think the general consensus is that it is a more straightforward option and would create support for businesses, as well as workers being able to plan.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Which industry groups support this amendment?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: As I said before, I will take that on notice, because the shadow minister who was responsible for this is in the other house. We can certainly provide those responses to you.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Do any industry groups publicly support this amendment?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Same response as before.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Is there a single industry group you can name that publicly supports this amendment?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Same as before. I think the question has already been answered.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I think it is worthwhile reflecting in the contribution on this, given that the opposition cannot name a single industry group—one single industry group—that supports this. There is not a single industry group that the opposition can name. It is quite extraordinary, just one industry group is unable to be mentioned by the opposition as supporting it.

It might be worth, for the benefit of the chamber, reading some correspondence from Foodland in South Australia, a massive employer of South Australians, which wrote to members of the Legislative Council as late as yesterday:

I write to inform you that Foodland Supermarkets Australia supports the above Bill.

Foodland Supermarkets Australia believes that the Bill strikes the right balance among the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of small supermarkets and convenience stores, and local growers and suppliers. In so doing, the Bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of the South Australian people and economy as a whole.

It goes on to say:

We thank you and your government for consulting with our sector and the wider community in relation to these legislative amendments.

If the opposition is unable to name one industry sector that supports these changes, is the opposition able to name the individual businesses that support the changes they are putting forward?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I will take it on notice.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: You cannot name one?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I will take it on notice and I will get back to you. This was brought on 24 hours earlier. We have come through with sensible changes to the bill, particularly around public holidays. All we are asking is for consistency and support for businesses to plan ahead—that is it.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: And all we are asking for is that if you put an amendment up you can justify who supports it and tell us what due diligence you have done. Did you take this to joint party room with no industry group supporting it, or did you just create it for a political pointscoring exercise here in this parliament?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: We obviously have taken this to joint party. We are a democratic party and we all get a say in what happens. What I can say is that these changes are a consolidation of discussions that have happened across the board and between our team. Like I said, I will take it on notice and come back with details.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The opposition amendment carves out three public holidays that cannot be traded on. What was the rationale for those three, as opposed to any other public holiday?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I think it is quite self-explanatory. You have Christmas Day, Good Friday and ANZAC Day. These are ones, based on consultation, based on feedback, that should not be included, whereas on others people want certainty and clarity.

The committee divided on the amendment:

Ayes 5

Noes 12

Majority 7


Centofanti, N.J.Curran, L.A.Girolamo, H.M. (teller)
Lee, J.S.Lensink, J.M.A.


Bonaros, C.Bourke, E.S.Franks, T.A.
Game, S.L.Hanson, J.E.Hunter, I.K.
Maher, K.J. (teller)Martin, R.B.Ngo, T.T.
Pangallo, F.Pnevmatikos, I.Simms, R.A.


Hood, D.G.E.Scriven, C.M.Wade, S.G.
Wortley, R.P.

Amendment thus negatived.

The CHAIR: The Hon. Ms Girolamo, we believe that amendments Nos 2, 3 and 4 are consequential, so you will not be moving them.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: No.

The CHAIR: However, what are you going to do with [Girolamo-3] 1?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I would like to move that. I move:

Amendment No 1 [Girolamo–3]—

Page 4, lines 34 and 35 [clause 6(1), inserted subsection (2)(b)]—Delete ‘if the business of the shop is not wholly or predominantly the sale of foodstuffs—’

Basically, this is to delete ‘if the business of the shop is not wholly or predominantly the sale of foodstuffs’. I find it hard to believe that on a public holiday you can purchase a TV but not a packet of sausages or a loaf of bread from a supermarket. To me, this keeps it simple; it means that you will be able to still shop at Harvey Norman but you can also go to your local supermarket to do your shopping for the week. Basically, there is no need to over-complicate the legislation. We believe that this change will simplify things and make sure that it is in line with making it consistent and easier for the people of South Australia to understand.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: We oppose the Liberal amendment. This is another part of the suite of amendments that are included in this bill to the shopping hours regime. This one in particular does what some of the other parts of the bill do in giving that balance between consumers and families, but also, importantly, that ability to provide some ability and advantage to the small independent retail sector, and this is what this part of the bill does. By putting in the opposition’s amendment, it is probably desired by Coles and Woolworths, but we do not think it is good for the independent retail sector in South Australia.

The Hon. C. BONAROS: I have a question for the Attorney: to your knowledge, do those small, independent retailers sell sausages?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The Hon. Emily Bourke reliably advises me that they probably do. Whether they sell hot chickens would seem to be the main thing the former Treasurer was concerned about—getting his $8 hot chook from somewhere—I am not sure, but I am sure the Hon.  Rob Lucas in his retirement, while he is tending to his ponies, can find a cheap, hot chook somewhere other than the front of his Woolworths store on Boxing Day.

The committee divided on the amendment:

Ayes 5

Noes 12

Majority 7


Centofanti, N.J.Curran, L.A.Girolamo, H.M. (teller)
Lee, J.S.Lensink, J.M.A.


Bonaros, C.Bourke, E.S.Franks, T.A.
Game, S.L.Hanson, J.E.Hunter, I.K.
Maher, K.J. (teller)Martin, R.B.Ngo, T.T.
Pangallo, F.Pnevmatikos, I.Simms, R.A.


Wade, S.G.Wortley, R.P.Hood, D.G.E.
Scriven, C.M.

Amendment thus negatived; clause passed.

Clause 7.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: With regard to the time frame or the consultations taken, is the Attorney-General able to outline, with the exemption made last week for the special public holiday, how that occurred and what instructions the minister provided for those changes?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Very soon after the decision had been made for Thursday to become a public holiday, consultation was undertaken with a range of groups that included, I am informed, Business SA, Independent Retailers, the SDA, Bunnings in particular and the Australian Retailers Association in relation to what would be appropriate on that public holiday. As a result of that consultation and with general agreement with those consulted with, the decision was made to have trading hours as occurs on most ANZAC days, and that is open from midday of that day. The process for that occurring is for a ministerial exemption to be signed by myself as minister, and that exemption is gazetted.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: With the proposed changes, what sort of test for consideration to declare exemption will occur, and what parties will be consulted with?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I think the consultation that occurred for that Thursday public holiday is probably a model for how it would occur for any further exemptions under the act—broad consultation with those who are involved (shops of that type) and consensus. That is what we did and I think that was a good process to follow, showing our commitment to what is going to be required under the act.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: What is the test for consideration to declare the exemption and is it the majority of both consulted groups? For example, if there was a union and a business group and one was in favour and one was against, what would happen in that situation, and how would the minister handle that?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Can I just ask what clause we are contemplating at the moment?

The CHAIR: We are at clause 7.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Is this about Sunday trading? I am just not sure what the nexus is at all for the clause we are discussing. I am happy to answer questions, but I am just wondering why we are doing this now.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Thank you; that would be appreciated.

The CHAIR: At the moment, clause 7 deals with restrictions relating to Sunday trading.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: Is this clause 4 you want to debate?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: I am just asking for clarification around what will happen, given that—

The CHAIR: As long as this relates to clause 7.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: As it is set out in the act and had been consulted with a range of groups, the test is a majority overall with those of an interest, but having to have at least one from each of the employer and the employee representative groups.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Do you have a list of organisations that currently fit the definition of ‘interested parties’, and could that be circulated?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I do not have a list that would apply to every single group of shops or every group, but if one exists, I am happy to see if it can be circulated.

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: Finally, where will the general public’s voice be heard within this consultation process?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: For exemptions?

The Hon. H.M. GIROLAMO: For exemptions.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: We are always taking the views of the public, but the exemptions, as outlined in there, relate to those involved in the industry.

Clause passed.

Remaining clauses (8 and 9) passed.

Schedule 1.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: How many inspectors are there?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I thank the honourable member for her question. I am advised it is around 40, but if that is drastically incorrect, I am happy to bring back an answer. I am also advised that not everyone who is appointed an inspector from the regulator actively acts as an inspector. It is around 40, but if that is drastically different, I will make sure I bring that back.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: While the minister is bringing that back—and I am happy to take it on notice; I have previously asked questions around these inspectors—if we could have some information about how much work these inspectors were assigned in the last four years, that would be most appreciated.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I will definitely have to take that on notice, but I will do so happily.

Schedule passed.

Title passed.

Bill reported with amendment.

Third Reading

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (17:00): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Bill read a third time and passed.