25 November 2021
If Parliament shuts down for 5 months –
Who will run the State?
Who will be running South Australia when the Government takes four months off prior to the elections is a question puzzling Member for Frome Geoff Brock MP.
Mr Brock has been making himself unpopular with some of his colleagues by pressing the Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly to consider waiving the tradition of optional Parliamentary sitting weeks before and after Christmas and prior to a State election.
“But now, thanks to a motion by new Deputy Premier and member for Stuart, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, this decision has been taken out of the Speaker’s hands,” Mr Brock said.
“Effectively, Parliament will be on holiday for five months,” Mr Brock said.
“The first week of December has been marked as an ‘optional’ sitting week and the normal process is that we would then go into recess until after the State election in March, but I, and many of my colleagues, think this is unacceptable at this time.”
Mr Brock said shutting down Parliament for more than a quarter of a year could effectively take some pressure off scandals and other matters which have been plaguing the Liberal Government, but it would not help manage the State.
“I am concerned that the border opening could result in further pandemic emergency declarations and that there would be other matters which Parliament should be discussing and acting on during the next few months.’
In a heated debate in State Parliament on November 18 new Deputy Premier Dan Van Holst Pellekaan, Member for Stuart, proposed that Parliament shut down for a five-month holiday, with his next Sitting date being 3rd May 2022
“Mr van Holst Pellekaan was trying to take away the Speaker’s discretional ability to waive the optional Parliamentary sitting weeks so, I assume, his party can have more time to prepare for the coming State elections,” Mr Brock said.
“If the government gets its way, Parliament will effectively close for business until after the March 2022 State election – there are outstanding bills which need to be passed through the house and the State’s residents will suffer.”
“If we step away from Parliament for this time there will be no scrutiny of the Government leading up to the election, allowing for no questions about what the government does.
“There are important Bills on the list which will not be discussed until well into the new year – the Civil Liberty (Institutional Child Abuse Liability) Amendment Bill, Criminal Law Consolidation (Abusive Behaviour) Amendment Bill, the Petroleum and Geothermal Act to encourage hydrogen activity in the State and the Aboriginal Representative Body Bill, as well as other matters, including those dealing with suicide prevention – but none of these see important to the majority of our Parliament.”
“I know some members may not like to miss out on such an extensive break, however, my concern is that we still have the Emergency Management Act in place through the Police Commissioner and that we should continue spending time in the Parliament to ensure we are there for the People
“Who are we working for – are we working for ourselves or the people of South Australia.”???