Why I became an Independent Liberal
In 1997 I successfully ran for election in my local district. I wanted to serve the people in the community where I was born, where I grew up, where my family lived and where I had a start in life and where I was running a successful business. You enter politics to make a difference. You try to improve the world. My values and personal beliefs are those of a liberal conservative. So I chose to join the State Division of the Liberal party.
I found I had joined a parliamentary party awash with factional dysfunction and family fiefdoms. The SA Liberals have a serious history of division and conflict dating back to the 1970's which had been rekindled in the mid 1990's with some terrible fights and betrayals over leadership.
I spent 17 years of my life trying to fix those problems even leading the party for a period. It was to no avail. After four election loses and now facing sixteen, possibly twenty years in irrelevant Opposition the State Liberals keep losing un-losable elections. After the 2014 loss there was no acceptance of personal responsibility for the election loss by any party figure, there was no frank and honest debrief on what went wrong and no change of key appointments; a perfect recipe to do it all again in 2018.
Families and small business owners in need of my help within Waite were asking me questions I couldn't answer. It was time to think outside the square. To question whether your Party or the people come first? The answer is obvious. It was time to put service to the people of Waite and of SA first. A time to act.
On the 27th of May 2014 after careful reflection I made two decisions; first to resign from the State Liberal Party to serve on as an independent liberal and second, to work cooperatively with the successfully elected Weatherill Government as an independent liberal Minister within Cabinet.
I am now in a position to do what I set out to do in 1997; to serve and to get local results in the community I grew up in and to try to make SA a better place. There is work to be done. Goals and objectives for Waite
As a Minister in government I am now in a better position to seek support for local issues of concern. I have contacted all schools, sporting, recreational and community groups in Waite to start on a list of tasks. I am also working with Mayor Glenn Spear and Mitcham Council COE Matthew Pears on requests for road funding and other issues.
In the new year, the Electoral Boundaries Commission will decide whether Waite has the opportunity to welcome a number of new suburbs into our community. If that happens, I look forward to being able to give my new constituents the representation that they deserve. Hopes for South Australia
We face many challenges. The global and national economies are in recovery and there have been significant cuts in federal funding to the States. With South Australia's automotive industry in decline and our economy in a important transitional period - we must act. There is no time to waste and no easy answers. I am working within Cabinet and with the government team for:
- a new 10 point vision for growth
- more efficient government
- a business led recovery
- reform of work-cover to get small business costs down
- a budget surplus to create headroom for tax reform
- additional effort on exports
- private sector funded development
- mines and energy jobs
- tourism growth
Most importantly, we need to back ourselves to build naval ships in Australia based in Adelaide. Let’s not raise the white flag, concede defeat and spend $250 billion over 30 years of our hard earned taxes building submarines in Japan and surface ships offshore. Let’s back our kids' future.South Australian Parliament
- Currently Minister for Investment and Trade, Defence and Space Industries, Small Business, Health Industries, and Veterans' Affairs in 2016 & 2017.
- 2014 Minister for Investment and Trade, Defence Industries and Veterans’ Affairs.
- 2013 Shadow Minister for Economic & Regional Development, Manufacturing, Industry & Trade, Defence Industries, Economic Development and Mineral Resources and Energy.
- 2011 Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Mental Health & Substance Abuse
- 2010 Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade, Science & Information Economies, Defence Industries.
- 2009 Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Industry and Trade, Defence Industry Development, Science and Information Economy, Substance Abuse – Liberal Opposition.
- 2008 Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister Multicultural Affairs
- 2007 Appointed Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Economic Development; Social Inclusion; Infrastructure; Multicultural Affairs; and Sustainability & Climate Change
- 2006 Appointed Shadow Minister for Transport, Energy, Infrastructure, Multicultural Affairs & Federal/State Relations – Liberal Opposition
- 2005 Shadow Minister for Economic Development & Infrastructure, Shadow Minister for the Arts, Science and Information Economy, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Shadow Minister for Veterans (resigned 14th October 2005).
- 2004 Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Science & Information Economy, Small Business and the Arts - Liberal Opposition
- 2003 Shadow Minister for Innovation & Information Economy, Tourism and the Arts - Liberal Opposition
- 2001/2002 Minister for Tourism and Innovation - Liberal Government
- 2001 Cabinet Secretary
- 1997-2001 Deputy Government Whip, Member Economic and Finance Committee, Member Industry Development Committee