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Speech: Statutes Amendment Bill (Public Holidays)

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I rise to speak to the Statutes Amendment (Industrial Relations Portfolio) Bill 2024. I note that the title of this bill is determined by parliamentary counsel. There are rules around titles of bills, so for the opposition's education that is where the title of this bill came from, not from the government, not from the Greens and not from the crossbench.

Parliamentary counsel, who are the official drafters of legislation, are the ones who also follow drafting rules for bills, including the titles of bills. It should come as no surprise to the Liberal opposition that an amendment to the statutes will start with 'Statutes Amendment'. So many of the bills that we discuss in this place do.

I rise to echo my support for ensuring that in the future, unlike under the Marshall government, when a Christmas holiday falls on a Sunday workers shall get their rightful entitlements to enjoy the benefits of that being a public holiday. That is why this debate was brought to this chamber before Christmas.

To the Liberal Party I say, I know what you did last summer: you lied to the South Australian people about legislation that this parliament passed. You lied to the RSL. You lied to the community. The Liberal opposition went out there over their Christmas holiday—they were not in their offices because I did make a phone call on one of those days to a Liberal member of this place who was not in her office. Funny that. But you went out and you lied. You lied and you said Australia Day was under attack and ANZAC Day was under attack. You created fear, and you created a situation of post-truth politics. So here we are fixing your lies.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: If they are lies why do they need fixing is the interjection from the Leader of the Opposition. They need fixing because unfortunately people believe politicians when they tell lies, and so the government has brought a piece of legislation in to give assurance to the South Australian community that those lies were not true. If they were true the government would not have this bill here today that we are now debating.

We are in post-truth politics, unfortunately, and indeed the Fringe comedy act seems to have come to this particular council. We have not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, but seven members of the Liberal opposition speaking to this bill today. Do we ever get seven people from the Liberal opposition talking about the cost-of-living crisis? Do we ever get seven members of the opposition talking about child protection or education or actual health, rather than just their rhetoric on health?

The names were not deleted by the previous bill. Indeed, had they really been concerned the Liberal opposition, in those four years of the Marshall government, could have changed the legislation then but they chose not to, and they also chose not to make Christmas Day a public holiday when it fell on a Sunday. Deliberately, they chose to have Christmas Day not enjoyed as a public holiday by those workers who worked under the Marshall government's regime.

Where was their virtue signalling then? Where was their care for the importance of Christmas to families then? It was absent. I have to say, though, it is virtue signalling from the Liberal opposition when they do not support it, but symbolism and words are very important when they do. It just seems to be whether or not they agree with the concept that is before the debate.

I note that one of the members of the opposition discussed the bewildered and upset members of the RSL, and I expressed my concern that members of the RSL were bewildered and upset because there was no reason for them to fear that ANZAC Day was under attack. There was no reason for that fear campaign to have been promulgated by the Liberal opposition—but here we are. Members of this crossbench will have long memories about the way this Liberal Party operates.

There has also been a lot of talk about mean girls and pile-ons, and the Labor Party apparently piling on the Hon. Heidi Girolamo, and talk in the lower house of how she was bullied. Well, I am going to refresh members about what the Hon. Heidi Girolamo had to say when she put up her amendments around the insertion of the name 'Australia Day'. I asked the honourable member to tell us what happened on 26 January not once but several times during the debate. I even gave her about 20 to 30 minutes to, I don't know, Google it, during the last debate.

At the time, when I asked the Hon. Heidi Girolamo what happened on 26 January, she stated, 'I just cannot be bothered.' Hardly an appropriate response for somebody putting up an amendment. She then went on to say, 'Would you like a history lesson?', to which I responded, 'Yes, a history lesson, Heidi. Tell us more about it.' The Hon. Heidi Girolamo then said: In regard to this bill, we feel that this is an opportune time, given the changes that are coming through for the Public Holidays Bill, to ensure that Australia Day remains on 26 January to recognise when Captain Cook first came through— I replied, 'Captain Cook!'—pretty much like that.

Members interjecting:

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): Order!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Then there were members interjecting, and I know that my interjection was, 'Wrong captain, wrong cove.' The Hon. Heidi Girolamo then finally corrected herself, but I note that the member had at least half an hour to have looked up what happened on 26 January before she finally deigned to answer the question.

So the honourable member came in having no concept of what had happened on 26 January and getting an answer wrong: a commonly held misconception amongst many that apparently when Lieutenant Cook, in 1770, came to Port Botany, that was on 26 January. We know that is a common error in our historical understanding, but it is not an error I would have thought the lead Liberal opposition Legislative Councillor moving an amendment around Australia Day would have made.

The reflection of the response of this council to the Hon. Heidi Girolamo was more on her lack of preparedness, her arrogance, her refusal to acknowledge that she did not know she what she was talking about, to amendments that were filed and circulated literally hours before we had the debate, without due consultation with members of this council whatsoever, reflects more on her performance that day. Certainly, the words 'shame' have been used in this debate. They have been attributed to the Attorney-General. I would suggest that the Liberal opposition hold up a mirror to themselves.

The Hon. L.A. Henderson: Actually, the use of 'shame' hasn't been to the Attorney-General: it has been against the conduct towards the Hon. Heidi Girolamo.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Say it a little louder, the Hon. Laura Henderson, and then I will be able to respond to your interjection and get it on Hansard.

The Hon. L.A. Henderson: I said: the use of 'shame'—

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): Interjections are out of order.

The Hon. H.M. Girolamo: Leave it. It's not worth it. They are just repeating the same thing over and over.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Apparently, it is not worth it.

The Hon. H.M. Girolamo: I don't want to engage with this sort of behaviour.

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): Order!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The use of 'shame' apparently goes only one way in this chamber, according to the Liberal opposition interjections to me. That was word-for-word Hansard.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON: Point of order.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: That is what happened that day. The Hon. Heidi Girolamo—

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): We have a point of order, the Hon. Ms Franks, if you could please take your seat. The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON: Acting Chair, the honourable member is verballing the opposition.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Point of order, Acting President: you are not Acting Chair.

The Hon. L.A. HENDERSON: The use of 'shame' has not been against the AttorneyGeneral: it has been in relation to conduct towards the Hon. Heidi Girolamo.

ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): I am happy to move on and dismiss that. There is no point of order. Please continue.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: The Greens will be supporting this bill before us today. It was not necessary. It has been the subject of a concerted Liberal opposition campaign that has put fear and confusion into the community unnecessarily.

The Hon. N.J. Centofanti: Then why are you supporting it?

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: 'Why are you supporting it?' the Leader of the Opposition interjects. Because common sense actually is in the crossbench today, not in the Liberal opposition.

Members interjecting:

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): Order!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Common sense dictates that where the Liberal opposition goes out and creates a scare campaign, the other members of this parliament will give the South Australian community the reassurance that the Liberals' lies are not true.

Members interjecting:

The ACTING PRESIDENT (The Hon. R.B. Martin): Order!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Thank you, Acting President, for your protection. We have spent a lot of time today debating something that need not have been debated, but the Greens are very happy to come here and give the South Australian community the reassurance that they need that ANZAC Day and Australia Day are not under attack.

We do have some concerns about the Liberal opposition's arguments that 'the sovereign' rather than 'the king or queen' needs to be inserted and enshrined in legislation. We find it hilarious that suddenly it is all non-binary language, with beautifully binary-out-the-window inclusive language of 'the sovereign', be they male, female or transgender into the future, to be incorporated in the legislation. It is not lost on us that you are able to be inclusive with your language when it comes to making a political point, but you are not able to accept that transgender people exist when you are making a different political point.

This bill is a waste of parliament's time, but it is important to give the South Australian people the reassurance that they need not to believe the Liberal lies. With that, we commend it, and we hope that this is the last time Liberal lies see us back in this chamber having to re-go over something that should have been a celebration of ensuring that Christmas Day remained a public holiday even when it fell on a Sunday.

Regarding the Hon. Heidi Girolamo's attempts to remove Easter Saturday as a public holiday, which she raised in the previous debate, saying, and I paraphrase, 'Four days of holidays in a row was too long,' I do hope that the Liberal opposition will be allowing the Saturday the comes after Good Friday to be seen and continued as the Easter Saturday public holiday.

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