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Question: Gas Conference & Anti-Protest Laws

15 June 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:55): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Attorney-General on the topic of consultation.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: On 16 May, The Guardian Australia reported that the Minister for Energy and Mining told the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference: 'The South Australian government is at your disposal, we are here to help and we are here to offer you a pathway to the future.' During that week, protesters gathered at that conference to oppose the use of fossil fuels and their impact on climate change. On Thursday 18 May, the Premier, the Hon. Peter Malinauskas MP, announced on talkback radio that he would be legislating to impose new penalties on protesters who obstruct the public space. The bill was passed in both places with limited public consultation and scrutiny.

My question to the Attorney-General therefore is: did the Attorney-General receive any representations from the Minister for Energy and Mining on behalf of Santos or any organisation involved in the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association conference regarding potential amendments to the Summary Offences Act, and what does the government have in mind when it talks about 'offering to help' the gas industry?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:56): In relation to representations to me from the Hon. Tom Koutsantonis, the member for West Torrens in another place, no, I had no representations made by him from any of the classes of people referred to by the honourable member. I was not there when the comment was made, but I am sure the honourable member could take it up with the minister to whom he attributes the comment.