Chris Oldfield, Naracoorte Community News
Humour, youth and a passion for rural and regional people were hallmarks of SA’s Shadow Cabinet who last week gathered in the clubrooms of the Naracoorte showgrounds.
Member for MacKillop Nick McBride welcomed his Liberal colleagues and local constituents to the forum, which was part of an intense three-day tour of the region.
“We will cover everything from roads to erosion, local government issues, businesses, large businesses like Teys (meatworks), forestry, the fishing sector, housing, health, education and the like,” said Mr McBride, who is also the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Engagement.
Mr McBride explained how shadow ministers had broken up into small groups of two or three during their visit, to investigate many areas in the region specific to their portfolios.
“We also have our regional rural chairman, president Lachie Haynes and we also have some branch members and presidents here as well,” said Mr McBride who introduced Opposition Leader David Spiers.
“I think this is a really important thing for any political party to do that has just lost an election,” Mr Spiers said.
“But I hope this is something that I can build into the DNA of the party that I lead and we continue to do this, that we don’t just do it once.”
Mr Spiers said seven of his shadow cabinet members were from regional South Australia.
“So please be confident, please be assured that the voice of regional South Australia is right at the very heart of our party and within the (administration) of the party,” he said.
“The second vice-president of the party, Lachie Haynes is a local to the Naracoorte area. It’s great to have Lachie here tonight.
“But it’s even better having Lachie speaking to the administrative part of the party and helping ensure that it has a sharp focus on talking to regional South Australia, engaging and learning from regional South Australia as well.”
Our shadow ministers
Shadow Health Minister Ashton Hurn said she was elected this year to represent “the great seat of Schubert” which is the entirety of the Barossa Valley and the northern part of the Adelaide Hills.
She said her portfolio was “a big task to hold this government to account on their serious and significant promises that they made to the people of South Australia”.
Shadow Minister for Regional Health Services, Ageing, Preventative Health and Wellbeing Penny Pratt is the Member for Frome. But her background includes 10 years teaching in the region, and as a primary school choir conductor, she often came to Naracoorte.
“I share that with you because although my heart lies in the mid north farming area, with my portfolio areas … I certainly have a strong connection to the Limestone Coast,” Ms Pratt said.
Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey OAM and Member for Colton in Adelaide was also responsible for Industrial Relations and SA Water portfolios. Hailed as Australia’s most successful Paralympian with 23 swimming medals Mr Cowdrey joked: “I spent a lot of time in the pool when I was younger”. But with a double degree in law and media, he also had a background in management, and had worked as a business adviser for international firm KPMG.
Shadow Attorney General Josh Teague and Member for Heyson from the Adelaide Hills, also has the shadow portfolios for Aboriginal affairs, child protection and prevention of family and domestic violence. Mr Teague previously worked as a barrister and was as Honorary Consul to Sweden.
Tim Whetstone who grew up in Keith is Shadow Minister for Police and Community Safety, Road Safety, Corrections, Mental Health and Suicide prevention.
“I’m the member for Chaffey, probably the best electorate in the state,” he quipped which sparked laughter in the room. He said it was unfortunate regional and rural areas were “over-represented” in his three main portfolio areas.
Jing Lee is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Multicultural SA, Communities, Tourism and Hospitality. “If you are in the business of tourism and hospitality, I am your shadow minister. If you are working as a volunteer involving community organisations, I am your shadow minister,” Ms Lee said.
Deputy Opposition Leader John Gardner is the Member for Morialta in Adelaide. He is also the Shadow Minister for Education, Training and Skills, along with Arts and Festivals and said it was a privilege to work with David Spiers.
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Nicola Centofanti, who worked as a veterinarian for 15 years before entering parliament. She is also Shadow Primary Industries Minister as well as shadow for Regional South Australia, Water Resources and the River Murray. Sparking laughter in the room, she said “I too live in Chaffey, one of the greatest electorates in the state and I was brought up on a citrus property.”
Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero is Stephen Patterson the Member for Morphett in Adelaide and is also the Shadow Minister for Mining, Defence and Space Industries. Mr Patterson said he studied at Adelaide University, gaining a science degree in physics as well as an electrical and electronic engineering degree. “Energy is very topical of course … we showed when we were in government not only can you move forward in the renewable energy space, you can actually do it by bringing down prices and making us much more reliable,” he said.
With a background in law and corporate finance, former emergency services minister Vincent Tarzia paid tribute to CFS volunteers and emergency services. The Member for Hartley is currently Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Sport, Recreation and Racing.
Mr Tarzia said he was looking forward to visiting some of the roads in the area and “getting into government and helping you with those, among other upgrades as well.”
Member for Hammond Adrian Pederick sparked laughter again when he said he actually lived in the best electorate of the State. The farmer from Coomandook and one time shearer is the shadow minister for Veterans Affairs, Emergency Services, and Regional Roads.
Fourth generation farmer and former Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer is the Member for Flinders with an electorate spanning 222,000 square kms. While it was a long way away on the other side of the state, he said he visited “any chance I can”.
Legislative council member Heidi Girolamo is the Shadow Finance Minister and shadow for trade and investment, and the circular economy. Eager to meet businesses, she said prior to politics “I was a chartered accountant for 17 years. So the portfolios are areas that I’m very passionate about”.
“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with businesses and to discuss challenges faced – and it will be great to hear more tonight as we open up for questions.
The News will report on questions and answers from the community forum next week.
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.