Mr TRELOAR (Flinders) (16:52): I rise on indulgence and I thank the house for this opportunity to rise on indulgence and give what I am going to call my valedictory speech. It will be short and sharp. I am very pleased that some of my family and staff have been able to join me here today, and I am also appreciative of the fact that some members have chosen to be in the chamber now.
I have chosen not to contest the election in 2022. I was first elected in March 2010, and through a little bit of research I discovered that I was just the sixth member for Flinders since World War II. It has often been termed a safe seat. I refuse to accept that term. You are only ever as good as your last election, but there have been very few members for Flinders over the years.
The electorate of Flinders keeps its original name. Since the first legislature was set up in 1857, the bulk of Eyre Peninsula has been known as Flinders, and it still retains that name today. I believe it is the only electorate in the state that has done that. Prior to being elected, I spent 30 years as a farmer and I literally walked straight from the paddock into the House of Assembly. I still had dust on my boots, and I was not familiar with the nuances and machinations of this place at all. It was a place like no other. It is a workplace like no other. We all know that.
When I was first elected, we went into opposition in March 2010 under Isobel Redmond, who was a very driven and ferocious leader. We nearly won in 2010. We nearly won again in 2014 under Steven Marshall. Finally, after 16 years in opposition, we were elected to government with Steven Marshall taking his place as Premier.
I did take the time to look back over my maiden speech and much time was spent on the nature of my electorate, as is the case for all of us when we speak, and I talked very much about agriculture and seafood being the economic drivers of Eyre Peninsula. Twelve years on, that remains the same of course. We have good seasons, dry seasons, wet seasons—I have farmed for long enough to know that every year is different and I suspect it is the same in the sea as on the land.
Service industries and, of course, tourism are of growing importance and I think we have seen during these COVID times particularly that once upon a time people who lived in metropolitan Adelaide could take holidays overseas or go to the snow or whatever they wanted to do. Obviously during COVID times that has been much more difficult. The upside of that was that in our rural and regional areas we saw far more visitors to such places as the coastline of South Australia, that beautiful West Coast and all the landscape around it.
I also talked about mining and mining exploration in my maiden speech. I can tell the house today that after 12 years, despite much exploration and numerous mining proposals on Eyre Peninsula, not one has actually got up. I think this is an issue, and I have spent a little bit of time on the select committee with the member for Frome as Chair. The report will be tabled and recommendations made, but the real issue for me is that it is not about the land. It is rather about the people and their businesses and the fact that any landowner anywhere can have a mining proposal hanging over their head and that of their business for so many years—12 or more, it would seem.
In my maiden speech, I also highlighted the Tod Highway and water security. My plan was to have both of those fixed by the time I left parliament. I have managed to do one. I am very pleased and proud that this government has been able to complete shoulder sealing on the Tod Highway. For those of you who are not familiar with it, the stretch of the Tod Highway from Karkoo to Kyancutta particularly was a very narrow road, and it is a state highway and a very important freight route. Just recently, in the last few months, we have managed to finish the shoulder sealing on that stretch of road. We have turned it into a magnificent highway and a much safer stretch of road than it was previously.
The Hon. C.L. Wingard: A wide road is a safe road.
Mr TRELOAR: Yes, a wide road is a safe road; thank you, minister. I think that is my line. As far as water goes, there was a proposal, an announcement from this government some 18 months to two years ago, minister—he is nodding, yes, thereabouts—that we would build a desal plant to supplement the water supply on Eyre Peninsula to help preserve our southern basins that have been depleted due to overextraction. I was absolutely delighted with that announcement. I could not have been happier. I figured I was going to get two ticks—both my ticks—by the time I left.
After much searching and consideration by SA Water, they have announced a preferred site that is within Boston Bay in very close proximity to the City of Port Lincoln. Those of you who were paying attention today would have noted that I tabled a petition with I think 1,700 signatures acknowledging the need for a supplementary water supply but bringing concern to this house about the siting. So it is a work in progress. I am sure we will finish up with a solution that is acceptable to all parties that will finally supplement our water supply that we need so much.
The Premier is busy in national cabinet. Both the Premier and I were elected in 2010, and I have the utmost admiration for him as a person, as a politician and as a Premier. He has an enormous work ethic, and nobody could argue that. He has an enormous work ethic, and his leadership style is something that I believe has really been quite an example. I am going to thank him for that and I am also going to thank him for his friendship to me over these last 12 years.
These are the things I have discovered in my time here: ministers change, governments change but bureaucracies do not. Bureaucracies are the constant and unfortunately, I think, whether you are in opposition or in government, dealing with bureaucracies often seems like walking through wet cement. I am sure they have a job to do, but we seem to have certainly entrenched bureaucracy in our governments to a point we have not seen before.
I have said already that this is a workplace like no other. I walked from the farm into the House of Assembly, and what I was surprised about—I should not have been really—was that politics can be a brutal game, and it will be always. However, as a simple country boy, it surprised me that it was almost acceptable to pull somebody else down in order to get up yourself, and you see that in politics here and probably in every jurisdiction around the world. It is not something we see very often anywhere else, so I think we need to consider actions such as that as we go forward.
I have had various roles while in this place. I was elected as deputy whip way back in 2010. I spent time as Opposition Whip in 2014 to 2018, and the current Opposition Whip and I have been comparing notes today. Of course, in this last session of parliament, I have held the roles of Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees, which I have thoroughly enjoyed—I like the power.
In fact, I had a rather brutal first week in estimates, my first week ever as Chair of Committees, and I managed to get the member for West Torrens, who was really on his game that day. I have had a discussion with him since and said, ‘Mate, it was a baptism of fire for a new Chair of Committees,’ but that was all part of it.
Lots of things go on in this place outside the chamber itself. I have been really quite thrilled to be involved with such groups as Friends of the Library—and one of the real treasures this state has is the Parliamentary Research Library in this building—and also the Australasian Study of Parliament Group, which we have reinvigorated and reinvented and have had a number of very successful events.
I will touch briefly on the role of a country member because I am a country member. I live further from Adelaide, by road at least, than probably anyone else in this place, The challenges around the travel are significant, not just the travel to and from Adelaide but also the travel around a very large electorate. I have 20-something schools, eight hospitals and 11 district council areas. These are vast areas, and although the population is not dense I would argue it is fairly evenly spread across Eyre Peninsula.
All of us as members try to service our community as best we can, but certainly for country members it involves a lot of time away from home, so much so that my youngest son, Max—and I know we are not supposed to do this, but he is present today in the gallery. Stand up, Max!
My wife and I have four children. When the older three were teenagers, one evening Max was at home with his mother, just the two of them. It was cold and dark outside, and they were sitting down having tea. Max said, ‘Mum, has dad left us?’ As far as I can understand, Annette said something like, ‘Well, he might have.’ Those are the sorts of things we all know when we all spend time away from home.
You meet many wonderful people touring the electorates. I particularly enjoy the interactions I have had with schoolchildren, having schools from Eyre Peninsula visit Parliament House or me visiting schools on Eyre Peninsula for their end of year events or just simply talking about parliament, how it evolved and what it does and all the rest of it.
A young man from Wirrulla was here one day, from the Miltaburra Area School, I think. They were undergoing a mouse plague at the time, and this young man, who was about 11, was very concerned because he could see all these places where the mice would get into Parliament House. He kept asking about that and was very concerned.
While I am talking about the challenges and opportunities of being a country member, I am going to briefly talk about country media. We actually have it pretty good in the country. We do not fight for space, we do not fight for print space or for air time, we have ABC regional radio broadcasting out of Port Lincoln and we have local commercial radio 5CC, 5 Coast and Country.
For a good part of my 12 years, I had a weekly spot on 5CC, and we would chat about this, that and the other, and at the end I got to request a song. People would text me about the song I had chosen; they would not remember what I had said, but they would text me about the song I had chosen, so that was interesting. There are the local papers, of course: the Port Lincoln Times, The West Coast Sentinel, and Eyre’s Peninsula Tribune. The Sentinel and Tribune have gone into recess and been replaced by a new paper called the Eyre Peninsula Advocate.
We even have our local television, and Southern Cross News has a reporter in Port Lincoln. Usually, they get picked up and taken away by Channel 7, but that is a good thing. They are young, just out of uni having done media, and they find work in places like Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Broken Hill. All those towns feed into Southern Cross News. We are very fortunate in that respect.
To my parliamentary colleagues, I acknowledge you all; certainly those who sit in the same party room as me but also those on the other side. Having had two terms in opposition, I decided fairly quickly that the only way to get a result for my electorate from opposition was to build relationships on both sides and build relationships with relevant ministers. I think that often all people see of parliament is question time, and of course question time is both the best and the worst of these places. They do not see all the work that goes on for the rest of the day in making this place work and the state function.
To the people of Eyre Peninsula, I am going to say thank you. They have elected me three times: 2010, 2014 and 2018. I have come to the conclusion that it is a big thing for any of us to ask someone to vote for us; it is almost as much as you can ask. But they have, and they have supported me, as they have all the people in here.
To the party members, the Liberal Party branch members in the seat of Flinders, we still have a relatively good membership. It is not as good as it once was, but that is the way of the world. I attended the Ceduna branch Christmas dinner last Saturday night, and it was wonderful to sit down with people of like mind who support me and appreciate the work I have tried to do. They are the ones who are out on election day. Other parties have the same support, I am sure, but for me it is particularly about Liberal Party branch members.
I would like to thank my parents. My father is actually here today—I will not ask him to stand up! When I first went to Wudinna for preselection in October 2008—and my dad will not mind my saying that he remained a loyal Liberal branch member right the way through those dark days when the National Party held Flinders—he rounded up two car loads to go to Wudinna to support me. That was great, so I thank him for that.
My mother, who sadly passed just last week, was never really comfortable with my going into politics. She did not want me to. I do not mean to make light of this, but she died knowing that I was retiring, and that made her kind of happy.
I want to thank my staff: Jacqui, Aimee, Di and Myriam, particularly. I do not want to talk about them individually, other than to say that they have all been with me all the way through. I have had capable, conscientious and loyal staff who have stayed with me for the distance—and, boy, what a team we have been. Obviously, my decision will mean changes for them, but I really did want to take the opportunity to thank them publicly for all they have done.
We are only as good as our staff make us look, aren’t we? I do not now how that has worked for me, but anyway I do appreciate you. We all do as much as we can. We deal with the constituent inquiries. We have been dealing with COVID for most of the last 18 months, trying to make people happy who will never be happy, and that just goes with the job, so thank you one and all.
To my wife, Annette, thank you for your support and love all the way through. Thank you to my children, who in the time that I have been in this place have grown from being teenagers to young adults. They are all finding their place in the world and settling down with partners. In fact, our daughter, who is not here today, has now become a mother, which means of course that Annette and I are grandparents. I am not shying away from the fact that that is one of the reasons I am going home. I just do not want to miss that. Our grandchildren are coming along, and I do not want to miss that.
I have always viewed my time in this place not as a career. Politics is not a career for me. I know it is for some and I have no criticism of that, but it has not been that for me. As I said, I have been 30 years a farmer, and I intend to go back to the farm. I have about 10 years’ worth of fencing to do, and I am going to make a start on that. I am going to spend more time in Coffin Bay, and I am going to tell my grandchildren stories about the olden days, which is anything before about 2010.
As I said, I have never viewed politics as a career. It sounds a bit altruistic, I guess, but I have viewed it as something I can do, some service I can give to the community I was born and grew up in. I will miss this place, but it is time to go home. We will see what happens in the future, but, as I said, I have all that fencing, as well as time in Coffins and the grandies to look after. Thank you for your indulgence, Mr Speaker.
Honourable members: Hear, hear!
The SPEAKER: The member for West Torrens on indulgence.
The Hon. A. KOUTSANTONIS (West Torrens) (17:13): Thank you, Mr Speaker. My deepest condolences to the Treloar family on the loss of the member for Flinders’ mother. She would have been very proud of the man he became and the service he has given to this parliament. It is not often I praise Liberals, but Peter Treloar is the very best of gentlemen I have ever met in this place.
I have been here since 1997 and I have seen people come and go. I have to say that he carries himself with an air of dignity that is rare air around this place. He is someone who is respected universally throughout the parliament because he is honest, he is hardworking, he is loyal, he is diligent, he thinks about what he says, he thinks about the votes he makes and, most importantly, he is a loyal servant of Eyre Peninsula. They have sent us their very best and now we are losing him.
I suspect, Peter, you would have been re-elected again and again and again. The people of Eyre Peninsula would have been quite happy to give you their most precious franchise, which is their vote, because you have earnt it. You have earnt it in Port Lincoln, you have earnt on Eyre Peninsula and you have earnt the respect of this parliament. I am exceptionally impressed that your father drives people around to polling booths to vote for you in preselections, an excellent trait which I have encouraged within the Labor Party for a long period of time.
To your wife, Annette, who I met for the first time today, a very patient woman who has given up probably more than most—most of our partners give up so much to have us in this parliament—is getting you home. After all the hard work has been finished and the kids have been raised, it is good of you to return home now, Peter. I am sure that the example that you have set for your family, especially in your public service, is something that your grandchildren and your children are very proud of. They can reflect on it and say, ‘That’s my pa, that’s my grandfather, that’s my dad.’ I think that you should be very proud of the example you have set all of us in this chamber.
You leave very big shoes to fill. Whoever replaces you in Flinders in the upcoming election will be walking in the shadow of a giant. Without there being any motive behind this statement, I think your career could have gone almost anywhere. I think you would have been an excellent minister. I think you would have been an excellent shadow minister. I think everything you have done you have done exceptionally well. I have to say that it is very hard to get angry at Peter, even when you are trying to pretend that you are angry, because he is such a gentleman and he does know the rules so well and he has done his due diligence.
So we will miss you. I will miss the attentiveness you have in the chair. Mr Speaker, without making any reflections on people who have held your office, many a Speaker does not pay attention to the remarks made in this parliament. Peter always gave the courtesy of his attention to whoever was speaking. I cannot tell you how much that means to people who are speaking, to know that someone is actually listening, and Peter did that. If he disagreed with you, you could tell by looking at his face. If he agreed with you, but he did not want anyone to know, you could also tell. He was a very, very good judge. You could tell when you had bad day or a good day by what was on Peter’s face.
I served on committees with him and he always asked the very best of questions, questions no-one had thought of. The point that he raised about exploration in Eyre Peninsula is absolutely right. We have been exploring Eyre Peninsula since God knows when—and no new mines. Peter’s point, I think, without presuming, is that could have caused a lot of angst, that could have caused a lot of anxiety, yet the mines still are not there. As a local member, he walked that line between promoting job growth and alternative employments while protecting family businesses, and that was a very difficult line to walk, and he did it exceptionally well.
I am very lucky. I live two kilometres from here. My electorate abuts the Parklands, so I can drop the kids off to school every day, I can get to parliament on time and I go home to my bed every night with my family. Peter does not have that luxury; in fact, most country members do not have that luxury, and that must be very difficult. It must cause a lot of frustration and make it very difficult, which means the sacrifice he has made to come here is even more telling. He has had to give up that life on the farm that obviously he enjoys so much to be here, to do what he said, which is to serve—and, sir, you have served your constituency well.
I do not think there is a person who has served with you who could not say that you gave everything you had to the people you represent and your political party. Godspeed and good luck with the next chapter of your life, and I hope you get that fencing done. I look forward to seeing you in Coffin Bay, and maybe I will buy you a beer.
The Hon. D.C. VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart—Deputy Premier, Minister for Energy and Mining) (17:19): I also rise seeking the chamber’s indulgence to speak briefly about my very good friend the member for Flinders, Peter Treloar; and I know I am not the only person who would use those words.
Peter, if I may say, was actually typically self-deprecating when he talked of himself as a farmer who just walked out of the paddock, dusted off his boots and found himself here somehow—a nice and quite in character way to describe things—but he certainly is not one to blow his own trumpet. Peter was a Nuffield scholar and, for those who understand, that is an extraordinarily significant achievement in Australia. Peter was a member of GRDC and many other things, as well as being a farmer for 30 years. Of course, that is true; Peter was a person renowned throughout South Australia and other parts of Australia as an expert in cropping—genuinely an expert, a go-to person for that industry.
Yes, he was, of course, a farmer but much more before he came in as well. I remember going to Peter’s preselection at Wudinna. I had been incredibly narrowly preselected myself shortly before and I turned up in an even narrower preselection, the narrowest of possible margins, so who knows how things might have gone? Full credit to the person who also wanted to be a candidate for that election but, with no disrespect to the other person, I am so glad it worked out that way. Our chamber, our parliament, our state, our government and the previous government have all benefited from having Peter here in this chamber.
You have heard from the leader of opposition business an outstandingly accurate and genuine description of how people here think about Peter, and I concur. I will not go over all that again but I appreciate the fact that the member for West Torrens has said those things.
Shortly after Peter’s preselection I called him and asked, ‘Can I come and visit you?’ I think he thought, ‘Well, who are you, a new candidate for Stuart?’ I thought, ‘Let’s just get to know to each other and let’s just see where this goes.’ I know we have other members, like the member for Chaffey and other country MPs, the member for Morialta and other city members, who were elected at the same time and who formed quite a bond. I am not suggesting for a second that I am the only one who has developed that sort of relationship.
At the end of the day, we can talk about what a person has done in the past, what they do now and what they will do in the future, but the bottom line is that it comes down to character. The bottom line is that it comes down to character and effort and the way you go about your business. You have got character, you have got capacity, you put the work in and you get the results, and Peter is an outstanding example of exactly that.
The member for West Torrens said that he could have been anything in government in parliament. Peter still could actually be anything in his next phase of life, as well as fishing at his shack at Coffin Bay, hanging out with the grandkids, doing the fencing, and talking to his grandkids about what things used to be like before 2010. I believe there is still a lot left in Peter to serve and it will be primarily serving the community.
Peter is a person I have gone to for fun, for friendship, for mateship and also for advice. I do not think I have ever once gone to Peter for factual advice. I do not think I have ever asked for details or said, ‘I missed this. How does this work? What were the nuts and bolts of it?’ I have always gone to Peter for judgement advice, because that is where you go to get that sort of thing from a person of character. Sure, we all go and ask, ‘Can you tell me how this works?’ etc., but I always went to Peter for judgement advice: ‘My gut is telling me this, what do you think? I am concerned,’ or ‘I believe this is right or wrong,’ or whatever. I am pretty comfy making those decisions for myself, but when I was not or I wanted confirmation or, as has happened, an alternate opinion, I went to Peter.
I do not think, in my mind at least, that you could have a higher judge of a person’s quality of character than that person being one of the people that you regularly go to to seek advice on matters of judgement, so I thank you, Peter, for that. I wish you and Annette and Thomas and Henry and Maddie and Max, and your two brothers and the growing family or potential family—I do not want to make too many assumptions: stand up, Max—and particularly Brian, all the best.
I was not going to raise it, but it has been raised. We all offer you our deep and genuine condolences for your family’s loss. I particularly wish you many, many more years of being as proud as possible of your three sons, particularly the one we know. I wish you all very well, and thank you, Peter.
The Hon. L.W.K. BIGNELL (Mawson) (17:25): I also rise on indulgence to talk about the member for Flinders. I first met Brian Treloar back in 2005, the day after the Wangary bushfires when he was the chair of the Lower Eyre Peninsula Council and a true leader of that community. I flew in with Mike Rann and Pat Conlon; I was Pat’s Chief of Staff and he was the emergency services minister. What I saw in Brian Treloar was a great leader in his community, someone who didn’t care what political party you came from. If you came to help, then he was all ears and he wanted the best from the government to look after the people and the area that he represented.
A few years later, I saw Brian again in parliament. He was in here the day that his son Peter made his first speech in this place. I saw in Peter that day that same sense of commitment to the people he represented and the area where he had grown up, and I think it is a great trait to have—people who put their community first and make sacrifices on behalf of their community, for the betterment of their community.
When I had time, as a minister, one of my favourite people to deal with was the member for Flinders because I had a few portfolios that he was a little bit interested in: agriculture, food, fisheries, forests, tourism, recreation, sport and racing. So all of those things pretty much crossed over things that the member for Flinders and the people he represented required. I think we built up a very good relationship. I cannot remember us ever having a bad word.
In fact, when something was going on over there, Peter would ring me or one of the advisers direct and we gave him direct access to anyone in the Public Service he needed to have access to. When the POMS outbreak happened in Port Lincoln, I got on a plane with some of the top PIRSA and SARDI people and we went over, but we made sure that we had Peter in the room with the oyster growers because we knew that the people over there trusted Peter. He was their elected representative. I think parliament and elected governments would work a lot better that way.
It is certainly something that Graham Gunn, the former member for Stuart, did very well. You should actually work with the government of the day, but it is a two-way street. Ministers also have to give up their time and trust in the local members of parliament because a local member is a very important person in terms of their knowledge and also being able to disseminate the information from government.
Again, it does not matter what side of politics you are on, when you all work together for the betterment of individuals, businesses and for the greater community, wherever it is in South Australia, then that is what it should all be about—the parliament and the government all working together. Peter, thank you very much for everything that you have done to represent your community.
I would also really like to pay tribute to two things that you have done in here in this past 12 months and that was as Chair of Committees. To chair sessions when we were debating the abortion bill and the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill, I do not think I have ever seen anyone cover themselves in so much glory as you did. You did not do it in an egotistical way; you did it in a calm, measured way. I am not too sure that too many people who have ever been in this place could have done it with the dignity that you did it with.
Both of those were very emotional topics, and you were so respectful to both sides and you brought a calm and a sense of mutual respect to the chamber. Despite the very different, very passionate views that people held in here, you sat here until two in the morning to make sure that the South Australian public got the legislation that the majority of representatives, whatever the decision was, were going to agree to. I think that will be your greatest achievement in here in terms of a political achievement. With regard to the things you have done in your electorate, the seat of Flinders, Eyre Peninsula, is a much better place for having you in here for the past 12 years.
I would also like to pay tribute to Jacqui, who works in your office. Jacqui has always been terrific. She worked in Pat Conlon’s office before heading back over to Eyre Peninsula. Jacqui is a great person to ring up to find out what is happening in your office or in the seat of Flinders, or if you ever need some tips on where the best coffee is, the latest tourist attraction or a kennel to put your dog in while you are over there. Dusty enjoyed his time at EP kennels, so thank you, Jacqui. Those are the sorts of relationships we build as fellow members of parliament, and we remember that staff and family members give up so much in their devotion to us to look after the people that we look after.
So to Peter, to Annette, to your family, and to Brian—it is great to see you again, mate—all the very best for the future.
Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (17:30): On indulgence, I want to speak about the man Peter Treloar. It is about honesty, integrity and recognition and it is about the distance he had to travel as a candidate and as a member of parliament. Not long before the 2010 election, I was very privileged to be a shadow minister and I needed to go over to the West Coast. I had to go to Ceduna to pick up Peter, and we were going to do a drive through the electorate. I hope he forgives me for what I am about to say.
Mr Treloar: I will.
Mr PEDERICK: Thank you, so he knows where I am going. Not that long before that, and as a candidate—and you do get a bit targeted, whether you are a political candidate or a member—Peter had a great distance to go to open one of the holes on the Nullarbor golf course. He was running a little bit late, his foot must have slipped on the throttle and the police decided that he was a couple of kilometres over the speed limit.
The editor of the local media rang him up and said, ‘Such and such a man of a certain age from Cummins has been picked up,’ and that was how the report had come to the editor, ‘Is that you Peter?’ To his credit, he did not try to dodge the question but just said, ‘Yes, that was me.’ So Peter needed a ride and that was fine. I got over there, and we had a fantastic V8 LandCruiser turbo wagon—and I took it very easy of course.
We did a big trip driving down from Ceduna; I think it is 400 kilometres down to Port Lincoln, and it was a fantastic time. Peter can correct me if I get the pub wrong, but in the afternoon we blew into the Wirrulla pub, and three blokes were sitting at the bar having a light refreshment. We walked in and one of them, dry as you like, turned around on his barstool when he saw Peter and said, ‘Are you still driving fast, mate?’ I said to Peter straightaway, ‘You’ve got it. You’ve got the recognition factor, you’re going to win this election and you’re going to win the seat hands down.’
That is what it is about: it is about recognition in your electorate. It may not be the way all of us want it, as some of us on the other side may reflect—and I am not going to name any names. Occasionally, in the country the foot does sometimes slip on the throttle, and I must admit it has happened to me before. I saw that moment, that pivotal moment, as dry as you like: ‘Are you still driving fast, mate?’
I have had a great time in here with the member for Flinders, Peter Treloar. I have absolutely enjoyed every single moment and every way he operates. He is a great friend and a great confidant, and those chats we have had will stay between us. My sincere condolences on the loss of Wendy and all the best into the future.
Mr DULUK (Waite) (17:34): On indulgence, if I may, and on behalf of, I suppose, the crossbench, to cover the words of so many, the member for Flinders has been a great parliamentarian; we all know that. To touch on the closing words of the member for Hammond, he has been a great confidant. Peter has been one of those great confidants for me now for many years, and he probably started those little mentoring sessions when we went to ANSTO in Sydney. It was probably one of the first interstate trips I undertook as a member for parliament when I first got elected.
It is interesting that just this week, with what we were looking at and touching and pointing to in those big storage sheds in the shire in Sydney, finally a place has been decided on in Kimba on Eyre Peninsula. That was almost a seven-year process and that was being discussed then. I think it was after that trip that for me we developed quite a bond. Of course, we were only a couple of offices down on level 2 when I first entered the parliament, and it has been fantastic to learn from you about how to be a good MP.
I have been on the West Coast with you and I have been to the Cummins Liberal Party branch meeting, which I think is the Treloar branch in Flinders. I remember you telling me on one of those long drives we took to Ceduna that not only did you win your preselection by a vote but I think there was someone in the car who was picked up by your father, who probably did not vote for you, who scabbed a lift. So not only did you luckily win by one but someone who scabbed a lift did not vote for you as well, but that just shows—
Mr Treloar interjecting:
Mr DULUK: You could have won by two votes, Peter, but I think that is a testament to the man you are—that you are well loved by everyone in your community and that you are well loved by everyone in this parliament. I think you have been a great servant of this place and of this house. I know you are well loved by your family, and you are going back to them, and I think Annette will be happy that you are home a little bit more, and I know I will miss you deeply in this place. Thank you, Peter.
Mr HUGHES (Giles) (17:36): Also on indulgence, I will add a few words. Of course, the member for Flinders is my neighbour. We have a long boundary that we share, and we have parts of Eyre Peninsula that are sometimes in Giles and sometimes in Flinders, so we have a little bit in common. I remember the first time I met Peter, I think it was at the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association and it was a meeting down at Coffin Bay. We met at Cummins—I think it was on a doorstopper somewhere—and we just started having a bit of a yarn.
I had never met Peter before. I think it was before 2010, and I do not think you were a member at the time. You sometimes just instinctively warm to a person because there is just something about them and you think, ‘This is a decent man.’ Sometimes you get that wrong, and sometimes that first judgement is wrong, but in this case it was clearly spot on.
There is something about Peter that we all relate to in a warm way. There is something about Peter when he is on a select committee with you—and I have been on a couple with Peter, the member for Flinders—and it is always that incredibly reasonable voice, that moderate voice, that voice that had thought the issue through that you always ended up listening to. There was this quiet gravitas about Peter, not the usual gravitas, but there was gravitas there. He was someone it would always stand you in good stead to listen to—an incredibly reasonable and decent human being.
The fact that you came off a farm after 30 years in that mode of life and came into this parliament only enriched this parliament. For a short time, I was the shadow minister for primary industries, and sometimes you would give speeches about the history of farming on Eyre Peninsula and the changes that had occurred over time, going from what was a very physically demanding pursuit to one that became more technologically sophisticated. It was always incredibly worthwhile listening to those stories, to listen to that history, to listen to that lived experience.
This is something that this parliament needs so that we are far richer—and it is people from a whole variety of backgrounds. As the member for Flinders said, without disparaging those people for whom it is careerlike—and this is not to disparage anyone from the metropolitan area—but those of us who have lived either all of our life or a lot of our life in country areas have this incredibly deep sense of place. Peter clearly has that deep sense of place and it is reflected in the way that he has operated in this parliament. Eyre Peninsula has been incredibly lucky to have you as its member to represent them in the way that you have over the last 12 years, so you will be deeply missed. I will miss you.
I will leave you with these few words. You have to invite me down to go fishing in Coffin Bay because I love fishing on the West Coast. The one thing that I am jealous of about you—and I love my electorate, I have a little bit of coast—is that I am incredibly jealous about your long coastline and all that fantastic fishing. All the best for the future. I know that whatever you do, you are going to do exceedingly well.
Mr MALINAUSKAS (Croydon—Leader of the Opposition) (17:41): I will keep my words relatively brief because I think other members have made extraordinarily fine contributions to reflect the character of the member for Flinders. A couple of members have pointed out that politics is a tough business. I think it is the toughest; it can be a brutal environment to work in. The member for Flinders has held himself in incredibly high honour and regard to the place, particularly in his role as Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees.
I would simply reflect on this. I think if one as a local MP is able to genuinely earn the respect of their constituents, then that is something that every member should be proud of, and there can be absolutely no doubt about the fact that the member for Flinders has won the respect and earned the respect of his local constituency. Earning and winning the respect of parliamentary colleagues amongst their allies and amongst their own political party is also something that is worthy of regard and admiration. It is a legitimate pursuit that I think the member for Flinders has undoubtedly attained, as evidenced by the words already said by the member for Flinders’ own colleagues.
But, in politics, to win the praise of your political adversaries is truly unique. Winning the unqualified respect of those people who sit across the aisle is not something that is regularly achieved, yet the member for Flinders has undoubtedly done precisely that. There is not a person in this place who does not speak about the member for Flinders in utterly high regard—in fact, I cannot recall a bad word being said about the man—and that is from those people who are his political opponents. I think that is a great testament to the member for Flinders and his character and something that he and his family should be incredibly proud of.
We thank you for your service, we thank you for the way you have conducted yourself in your advocacy of your local constituents and we thank you for, in your own way, lifting all of us up just that little bit. Your presence and your style in this chamber are things that I think most South Australians aspire to see in all of their political representatives. Often we let them down in that regard, but you have not, and for that you have made us all better, and we thank you for your contribution over your time in this parliament.
The Hon. S.J.R. PATTERSON (Morphett—Minister for Trade and Investment) (17:44): I also rise to pay recognition to a wonderful MP for Eyre Peninsula, the member for Flinders. As a first-term MP, of course, you come into this place not knowing quite what to expect, and certainly the member for Flinders has left a big impression on me on all manner of parliamentary issues. Specifically, I refer to those really complex issues, especially when you are in the early months of being an MP, and the way that the member for Flinders was able to distil them down and simplify them and also draw on past experience in terms of what the pressure points are, that this has been considered before, and I thank him for that.
He was also very giving of his time to me whenever I went over to Eyre Peninsula to take me around. As he said, it is a massive electorate, Port Lincoln being the heart of it, and he was generous with his time with his family meeting up with my family just after Christmas. We had a wonderful lunch at Coffin Bay. It was very interesting going down there where all the oysters were. I was in Pete’s hood and I was thinking that he would introduce me to many of the locals and, being Christmas, there were many Glenelg locals at Coffin Bay and so many more people were saying hello to me than to Pete. That was quite interesting.
Then he was able to take us for lunch with his family and I can see why he does want to spend time with his family. He has a young family who are starting to have grandchildren, as he says, and you can just see the admiration he has for his family as well.
When I talk about him taking me around the electorate, that is at the southern end of the Eyre Peninsula electorate. At the northern end, he was able to take me on a tour around Ceduna, Koonibba and Port Thevenard in my role as Minister for Trade and Investment. We were in Koonibba for the first commercial space-capable test launch. That was very exciting and all the locals were there and it really enlivened many of the local schools around the opportunities there are in space for those kids and to see the news cameras come and pay attention to their town.
In terms of Port Thevenard and Ceduna, it was wonderful for him, as he said, to be able to sit down with a minister and have the local member of parliament’s perspective and to be able to talk through the issues and give you advice, and I also thank the member for Flinders for that advice.
The other thing that is worth noting about the member for Flinders is that in the early days he came up to me and said that we had one thing in common and that was that we both barracked for Norwood and both barracked for Collingwood. I will miss that support here in parliament. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. I certainly think that you have left Eyre Peninsula in a better place than when you came here 12 years ago.
Mr BROWN (Playford) (17:47): Very briefly, I felt that as a former whip he could not retire without me making a contribution. As the member for Hammond knows, the former whips’ club is very tight.
A lot of things have been said about the member for Flinders, the man, and although I agree with all the sentiments that have been expressed I just wanted to make a quick observation about the member for Flinders, the Chair. Obviously, this is my first term, but in a former life as a staffer and also as an official for the party, I have had occasion to spend some time here in the galleries watching legislation get passed in this place.
Particularly when you are dealing with the committee stage of bills you notice that a large number of people occupy the chair down there. I am quite confident that I will not be contradicted in saying this: when you get Treloar in the chair, you get the gold standard. You do not play games, you are happy to say when you do not know exactly what the ruling should be and you are happy to take advice. You are often very firm and I know you have been firm with me from time to time—always when it is deserved—but you are always fair. I know that no-one on our side of the chamber would say that you are not fair.
You learn things in this place mostly by observing others do it. There are rules and there is the way that things actually work in practice. The way you learn things is by observing others. You are probably not aware of this, but I think you have actually taught a whole generation of MPs about how things should be done while they are sitting in that chair. Thank you for your fairness and best of luck in the endeavours that you have post politics.
The Hon. S.C. MULLIGHAN (Lee) (17:49): I will be similarly brief. Firstly, I extend my condolences to the member for Flinders and his family on the loss the member for Flinders’ mother. Very briefly, I want to say that I hope the contributions this afternoon have made the member for Flinders realise what a profound impact he has had not just on this place since 2010 but on many of us in this place because he has been a member of parliament.
I was more recently elected to this place in 2014, and one of the first intrastate trips I took was to Eyre Peninsula and Port Lincoln, where I met with the member for Flinders. I am sure members all now have the common understanding of the hospitality and the warmth with which I was received by him and his office. Perhaps somewhat naively I extended an invitation not just to him but to his office for anything in his electorate that might need to be fixed up in the transport portfolio, and I got quite a few on a regular basis. So thank you very much for those.
I have always had a great deal of time and affection for the member for Flinders because, as he rightly points out—and as others have as well—this is a business that gets quite willing at times, particularly in here. I do not think there has been a session of parliament that has been quite as willing as the current one but, regardless of what has happened during the day, there has always been a kind word from the member for Flinders to me or anyone else who crosses his path—on the stairs, downstairs in the Blue Room, or anywhere else in the building.
I cannot think of anyone else who goes out of their way to ensure there are good, strong relations between us as members of parliament like the member for Flinders does. He is what I have now come to understand is one of the typical country Liberal Party MPs: very warm, very genuine, down to earth, and always with time to give to those who might return that courtesy as well.
I am also particularly fond of the member for Flinders because, of course, he wears his clan colours, importantly, for the chamber. He can: I cannot. I am a Campbell, and I would get lynched by any other Scot these days if I wore mine, but I am proud to see he maintains the tradition.
I say to him, ‘You will really be missed in this place.’ All of us, of all political persuasions, will seek out the opportunity to catch up with you, whether it is over in your territory on Eyre Peninsula or whether it is back here, should the time arise. Thank you for being such an extraordinary colleague and Chair of Committees. You set a standard that the rest of us can only aspire to. I wish you all the best.
The Hon. J.B. TEAGUE (Heysen—Planning and Local Government) (17:53): I will be brief. I feel it is important to get on the record that the member for Flinders and I were a duo, we were a team, and we worked as a very close partnership for the last year or so in particular. We have become not only close friends, but I regard the member for Flinders as a mentor in all sorts of important ways and, as has been spoken of by others, a source of counsel, a source of judgement and calm.
Just a couple of months ago he literally had my back when my neck was out. He stepped in in every sense, and so I have seen up close and firsthand what a wonderful colleague the member for Flinders is in this place. As another one of the newcomers, can I say to you, sir, speaking personally, and I think on behalf of all of us, that we can only endeavour to emulate the example you have set, and I will certainly do my best to do that. I look forward to seeing a lot more of you in the future, in all directions.
The SPEAKER: The member for Flinders, I believe it is the sentiment of the house that you will be deeply missed and that your service of course is sincerely appreciated. The remarks that have been made are significant and meaningful. The standard you have set is high. It will be seldom equalled.
Sitting extended beyond 18:00 on motion of Hon. D.C. van Holst Pellekaan.