Parliament Speech - Grievance Debate, 9 May 2018

Mr PICTON (Kaurna) (15:28): Mr Speaker, congratulations to you and congratulations to the government on winning their election. We are now almost two months into their time in government, and I think it is fair to say that they are cock-a-hoop, basically, and that they are pretty giddy with excitement at being in government after so long.

I think it would actually be good if we saw a little bit of humility from those opposite, a little bit of acknowledgement that at the previous state election only 38 per cent of people in the state voted for this government.

In fact, 398,000 people voted for them and 650,000 people voted for somebody else in South Australia. If you looked at that, I would have thought that you would come into government and have a bit of humility about you. You would try to listen to the community, much as we are doing in opposition, and try to reconnect with them. But, no, they have taken the opposite approach. This Premier and this government are taking a very different approach in that they are very giddy with excitement about being in government.

I am very excited that The Killers are playing in Adelaide tonight. I have been a Killers' fan for a long time. I am lucky enough to have bought some tickets to go and see them tonight with my wife. However, there are probably a couple of things that have slightly dampened my enthusiasm for The Killers in the last six months, one of which was the horrible sight—and I am sure, Mr Speaker, you will agree with me on this—on grand final day of Jack Riewoldt up on stage with The Killers. It was a bit depressing.

The second thing that has been slightly depressing has been the badging of a Killers' song as the theme song for the Premier in his campaign rallies. In particular, he used as his theme song throughout the campaign The Man, which is a relatively new track by The Killers. He seemed to use this without any touch of irony in that the whole song is ironic and focused on a sense of arrogance and of being out of touch. It is basically a song about narcissism. The Premier did not seem to realise this and would play it on every occasion. He played it when he won. He played it at his campaign launch. You just have to look at what The Killers themselves have said about the song. Lead singer Brandon Flowers said:

Around about the time that The Killers started I guess,—that’s where ‘The Man’ harkens back to…It came from a place of insecurity and I would just puff my chest out and say things and put a lot of negativity out there. I basically came to regret that and I’m sure a lot of people can identify with that.

He also said:

I think when we first started I definitely felt like I was God’s gift—that slowly got chipped away over the years.

The drummer from the band, Ronnie Vannucci Jr, said about the song that the lyrics were:
…largely about how when we were younger we felt invincible. What it meant to be a 'man' in your 20's. Sort of your chest out, the breadwinner, nothing could stop you, invincible sort of thing. It's sort of tongue-and-cheeking that, how that is not really the point of being a man at all. It's actually more about compassion and empathy.

You just have to look at the lyrics to see this is a song devoted to arrogance. The lyrics state:

I know the score like the back of my hand
Them other boys, I don't give a damn
They kiss on the ring, I carry the crown…
Don't need no advice, I got a plan
I know the direction, the lay of the land…
I got skin in the game
I got a household name
I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man…

While this song choice may be a stuff up—there might be a lack of research into the lyrics or the meaning behind the song that the Premier used—it demonstrates what we are seeing in the early days of the Marshall government, and that is a complete arrogance and a turning on the head of their claim when they were in opposition to be open and accountable. We just have to look at what happened in question time today to see the protection racket being run for the Minister for Police in answering even the most simple questions. He refused to do so.

Also, there is the fact that they are using Dorothy Dixer after Dorothy Dixer in an unprecedented way compared with what happened in the previous parliament to try to protect themselves and to avoid answering questions.

It shows a very early sign of arrogance in this government. It is very different from what we saw in the last parliament, when we were open and accountable and answered sometimes up to 50 questions per question time. The police minister would not answer the most simple questions in this parliament. We also see it in the way they are using their control of the government to punish opposition MPs. Both the member for Hurtle Vale and the member for Wright have been punished for being for being in opposition. The Treasurer has sent them 10 to 20 kilometres out of their electorate and punishing their electors in ways that are unprecedented in this parliament. I hope this will change. I hope that we will stop seeing the sort of arrogance we are seeing from the government.

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