New SA Labor leader Peter Malinauskas signals shift on ICAC secrecy, unveils shadow cabinet


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April 10, 2018 16:49:10

South Australia’s new Labor leader, Peter Malinauskas, has signalled his party may support legislation to allow open ICAC hearings, a marked shift from the party’s policy under former premier Jay Weatherill.

Mr Malinauskas revealed his position while unveiling his shadow cabinet line-up.

Changes to stance on ICAC signalled

Mr Malinauskas said he had called the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Bruce Lander, shortly after his election by the ALP caucus yesterday and would meet the commissioner next week to discuss whether he should be granted the right to conduct maladministration hearings in public.

“I want to sit down and hear from Commissioner Lander directly around why he has need around the views for legislative change in this area,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“And that’s because we’re open minded to reviewing our position on this particular issue.”

In government, Labor repeatedly rebuffed Mr Lander’s requests to conduct open hearings, twice voting down legislation which would have allowed it.

Mr Lander repeated his requests in the wake of his investigation into maladministration at the Oakden mental health facility, which prompted the political retirement of former Labor minister Leesa Vlahos.

The former premier, Mr Weatherill, argued public hearings would allow unsubstantiated allegations to be aired, making a minister’s job untenable.

“Once it becomes apparent that you’re called before such an inquiry, the process of guilt sticks to you,” he said.

“It will damage the workings of government, it won’t protect those families of the Oakden victims.”

New Premier Steven Marshall has pledged to introduce legislation for public ICAC hearings when Parliament resumes next month.

Mr Malinauskas said the issue would be discussed by his new shadow cabinet tomorrow, but indicated the party had changed its position.

“I’ll tell you what’s changed — we lost the election,” he said.

“And that means we’ve got to start to review our position on a range of issues.

“If our position was perfect and entirely in sync with the South Australian community, then we wouldn’t be here in opposition.”

Mr Malinauskas also indicated Labor would consider its position on the contentious issue of shop trading hour deregulation, but warned voters not to expect a “wholesale departure” from its position of maintaining the status quo.

Labor’s frontbench unveiled, with more female representation

He also unveiled 14 shadow ministers, aiming to highlight the differences between his frontbench and Mr Marshall’s.

“We have got a genuine mix between renewal and also experience,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“We have double the number of women within our shadow cabinet in comparison to our political opponents.

“That is a product of the fact that we have a lot of women within the Labor caucus, far more than what is the case within the conservatives or the Liberal Party.”

The most senior woman on the frontbench, deputy leader Susan Close has elected to keep the education portfolio.

The former environment department bureaucrat will also adopt the environment and water portfolios, but will hand responsibility for the contentious child protection portfolio to a new MP — former journalist Jayne Stinson.

As expected, former treasurer Tom Koutsantonis will relinquish control of the books, handing the Treasury portfolio to factional colleague Stephen Mullighan.

Mr Koutsantonis will keep his mining and energy portfolios and take over responsibility for transport and infrastructure.

Mr Malinauskas said the veteran MP will also be Labor’s parliamentary attack dog, holding the dual roles of Leader of Opposition Business and shadow minister for government accountability.

“Every single promise that the Liberal Party made during their time in Opposition, we’re going to hold them to account on, and we want Tom’s laser focus and experience as being a Treasurer to be able to sustain that effort,” Mr Malinauskas said.

Labor’s Upper House leader, Kyam Maher, will be shadow attorney-general.

Chris Picton will be shadow health minister.

Mr Picton worked as an adviser to former SA health minister John Hill and former federal health minister Nicola Roxon.

The full shadow cabinet:

Peter Malinauskas — Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Defence & Space Industries

Susan Close — Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for Environment & Water

Kyam Maher — Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, Shadow Attorney-General, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations & Public Sector, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

Tom Koutsantonis — Leader of Opposition Business, Shadow Minister for Transport & Infrastructure, Shadow Minister for Mining & Energy, Shadow Minister for Employment, Government Accountability

Stephen Mullighan — Shadow Treasurer

Zoe Bettison — Shadow Minister for Trade, Tourism & Investment

Chris Picton — Shadow Minister for Health & Wellbeing

Tony Piccolo — Shadow Minister for Planning & Local Government, Shadow Minister for Housing & Urban Development, Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Katrine Hildyard — Shadow Minister for Recreation, Sport & Racing, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Shadow Minister for the Status of Women

Lee Odenwalder — Shadow Minister for Police, Emergency Services & Correctional Services

Eddie Hughes — Shadow Minister for Primary Industries & Regional Development

Nat Cook — Shadow Minister for Human Services

Clare Scriven — Deputy Leader in the Legislative Council, Shadow Minister for Industry & Skills, Shadow Minister for Forestry

Jayne Stinson — Shadow Minister for Child Protection, Shadow Minister for Arts

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