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Dunstan By-Election Matter of Interest Speech

7 February 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15:38): I rise to speak on a matter that will be of importance to all people in our state but in particular to those living in the seat of Dunstan, and that is the upcoming by-election and the opportunity that is presented to people living in that seat. In doing so, I do also want to acknowledge the service of the Hon. Steven Marshall, a former Premier of our state and someone who was Premier of our state during a very challenging period, in particular during COVID. I do recognise his leadership during that time, and I wish him all the best for this next chapter.

The Greens are of course participating in this by-election campaign. Our candidate is Katie McCusker, who is a local, someone who has lived in the Dunstan electorate for many years. She has lived in the areas of Payneham, Norwood, Felixstow and Toorak Gardens. She went to school at Rose Park Primary School and attended high school in Kensington Park and Marryatville.

She graduated from Flinders University with a Bachelor of Arts, with majors in psychology and political science. As a uni student, she worked in the area at the Kensington cricket club. She volunteered at the Adelaide Central School of Art, when it was located on Osmond Terrace in Norwood, and she frequented the Kent Town Hotel, so she is someone who has been active in that community. Indeed, she was a member and volunteer of the Kensington Residents' Association and a lifetime supporter of the Norwood Redlegs football club.

But aside from her credentials as a local person, Katie McCusker is someone who has progressive values. She is not someone who is a member of a right-wing faction of a political party. She is not someone who is a member of a right-wing political party. She is someone who supports progressive issues, such as of course banning conversion therapy, and someone who has campaigned for the issues that the people in the community care about.

Indeed, she was a strong campaigner for the Voice to Parliament, which a majority of people in the seat of Dunstan supported, and which, to their great discredit, the Liberal Party did everything in their power to wreck and destroy. Opposing a State Voice to Parliament in this chamber, under the appalling leadership of Peter Dutton, they did everything they could to poison the well against that reform. Well, they are not the values that the people of Dunstan seek from their candidate.

The Greens have a clear platform that I think will be of interest to the people of Dunstan. We have been very outspoken in terms of campaigning for investment in public transport and in improved cycling infrastructure and better services that would benefit people living in that seat. We have been really active in pushing to ramp up heritage protections and prevent the practice of demolition by neglect that is causing real problems in the Norwood area.

We have been campaigning to protect our Parklands and add them to the state heritage list, campaigning to protect our green space and campaigning to move the car race that causes so much disruption to residents in that area out of the CBD.

The Greens performed very well in the last state election in the seat of Sturt, which includes the state seat of Dunstan. Indeed, we got 16.4 per cent of the primary vote and Katie, as the candidate during that election, secured a 5.21 per cent swing to the Greens. She also contested the 2010 state election for the seat of Norwood, which is now Dunstan, and she got a 3 per cent swing to the Greens at that election.

Katie has been out there campaigning over the last two years, talking to residents about the issues that matter to them, and one of the things that is clear is that the Greens message, in terms of tackling the cost-of-living crisis and dealing with the issues that are important to the people of Dunstan, is being well received and I look forward to joining her out on the hustings, along with my colleague the Hon. Tammy Franks. We are excited about the potential of this by-election for the people of Dunstan and the opportunity it presents them to finally have a progressive voice in this place.