SA needs to keep a strong and independent voice in the Senate. We must ensure our great state isn’t taken for granted by the major Federal political parties, who are dominated by the political and economic interests of the eastern States.
In November 2017, I was honoured to replace Nick Xenophon as a Senator for SA and since then, I have done my best to represent our great state by fighting for key issues including:
Keeping jobs in SA
Saving 700 SA submarine jobs
The Federal Government has announced plans to shift 700 SA Collins Class submarine full cycle docking (deep level maintenance) jobs to WA, effectively taking away $400 million from the SA economy every year. This is a gross injustice, not only for the South Australians currently employed in this work, but also for the number of SA businesses that will be cut out of these supply chains.
Our national security would also be put at risk if the work moved to WA, with only 10 percent of the current workforce expected to make the move. Any disruption to this important work puts our nation’s defence at risk, especially when we’re seeing a massive build up of warships and submarines in our region.
I am campaigning hard to save our 700 submarine jobs. You can sign here to show your support for the fight!
I’m proud to have convinced the Government to put $25 million of seed funding towards the Cape Hardy project on the Eyre Peninsula. This multi-commodity port project is crucial for economic activity in and around the Eyre Peninsula. When the project is fully developed it will be used for grain, iron ore, graphite and hydrogen exports. The other benefit is that it will help keep grain trucks away from the main town of Port Lincoln and stop traffic congestion.
Protecting our environment
Protecting the Murray-Darling
The state of the Murray-Darling is one of my top priorities. Our great river has not only suffered years of reckless government management leaving it in a critical environmental state, but hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s dollars have been misused in the process. To find out more about my continuing work to protect the Murray-Darling, head to Save the Murray-Darling.
Fight for the Bight
I have long fought to protect our fishing and tourism industries and our environment by stopping drilling in the Great Australian Bight by fossil fuel companies that don’t pay taxes or royalties in Australia. I have persuaded environmental management authorities to review their approvals of surveying in the Bight, as well as successfully fighting against Equinor's plans to drill there. I've also scored wins halting lease renewals for petroleum exploration in the Bight, which is disrupting SA’s fishing and tourism industries and halting investment and growth in these key sectors. Head to my Campaign Wins page to read more about my efforts to Fight for the Bight.
Investment in Renewables and Electric Vehicles
Our environment is under threat from climate challenges that will become more and more difficult to solve if we do not act now. I'm in strong support of investing in renewables and electric vehicles (EVs) to combat climate change. Just recently, I got the Government to fund $5M for EV manufacturing in SA! You can read more about this on my Campaign Wins page, and more about my work for the environment at Climate Change Action.
Standing up for Regional SA
I'm a regional boy at heart having grown up in Whyalla, so it's important to me that Regional SA gets a fair go, now and into future. I will not let our regions get left behind, or have our capabilities undermined.
Regional airport security
In 2018, the Government announced it was going to tax regional travellers to pay for the $50M increased security screenings they were introducing. Backed by the SA community, I lobbied long and hard, keeping pressure on the Government for over two years until they succumbed and scrapped the tax. One Senator described my actions as ‘taking a sledgehammer to a walnut’, but I see it as an example of the lengths I will go to to get a fair go for regional South Australians.
National Radioactive Waste Management Facility
I established an inquiry into the appropriateness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and Hawker because I wanted to make sure the people of these regions got a fair say in the decisions that would affect them and their home.
This report found what many of us in South Australia already knew – that the Government failed to properly consider and assess Indigenous cultural and heritage at the nominated sites.
The Government totally botched this site selection process and has left a bitterly divided community in Kimba, SA.
We know that Australia has a responsibility to safely and securely manage radioactive waste from the production of nuclear medicines and scientific and industrial purposes, but a site should never be forced on a community, especially one that is so divided.
Supporting SA's manufacturing industry
I'm fighting to restore SA's manufacturing industry to bring jobs to the state and boost our self reliance. I'm looking ahead, and we need to restore the Whyalla steel industry, take action on the advanced automotive industry, on energy transition, critical infrastructure and fuel security. To find out more about my work in this space, head to Australian Made.
Supporting the Whyalla steel mill
With the support of 3,500 South Australians, I lobbied for the Federal Government to commit $15 million to establish a steel processing plant to build electrical transmission towers in Whyalla from Whyalla steel. This is one of my proudest wins for SA, as it will mean the creation of 80 jobs during construction and 150 more when the facility is in operation. It will also help to secure Whyalla's future. Over the next decade it is expected that at least $400 million of infrastructure capital expenditure that would otherwise be spent overseas will be brought back to Australia with over 160,000 tonnes of steel sourced from Australian steel manufacturers, including from the new Whyalla steel processing plant.
My next fight is to make the Government guarantee that the 900km SA-NSW Interconnector project will be made with local Aussie steel.
Supporting local manufacturers in government contracts
I’m committed to seeing all levels of Government – councils, state and federal – support local manufacturing. Time and time again we hear of contracts going to overseas companies because it’s ‘cheaper’. Governments are failing to see the difference between price and value. Take for example, the jobs and boost to the SA economy coming from the new Whyalla steel processing plant alone - not to mention the piece of mind that comes from building with Aussie made steel!
The Government need to look at procurement from an Australian jobs and economic activity perspective, and, especially in the wake of COVID, from a national resilience perspective. If we fail to back local manufacturing we will never be self reliant, but instead at the mercy of foreign suppliers.
‘Made in SA’ is worth something. It’s not just buying a local product, it’s investing in the future of South Australians and the economy of our state.
The People of SA
I got into politics because I am proud to be a South Australian and I want to make sure that all South Australians, whatever their circumstances, are supported by fair policies to be able to pursue their dreams and ambitions in our great state.
I advocate for South Australian constituents and fight for them on a personal level when they need me, like if they come up against Government, banks or insurance companies. I help people with Centrelink disputes and immigration matters. I know these challenges can be daunting to take on alone, so I do everything I can to help my constituents fight against big bullies and get a fair and favourable outcome.
I continue to be a strong advocator for the Uyghur Community in SA. The genocide happening to Uyghur peoples in re-education camps in China is appalling and we MUST take action against this.
I'm drawing attention to what's happening and calling on the Australian Government to do something about it. We cannot sit silently while human rights abuses are being committed against members of our community and their families. As an important first step, I'm fighting to ban goods produced by Uyghur forced labour. I introduced this bill into the Senate and the Committee has recommended the Customs Act be amended to ban the importation of any goods that are produced in whole or in part by forced labour.
I hope this is the first win of many for the Uyghur community in Australia. Please sign my petition to help me continue to put pressure on the Government to Ban Uyghur Forced Labour.
I have assisted many South Australian constituents to have their inaccurate robodebts repaid or waived after the Government stole money from 373,000 people through its disastrous Robodebt scheme. This has included scoring four wins against the Government at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
This issue is a complicated one, and in the process of helping my constituents I have discovered the Government are STILL trying to find ways to not pay back the stolen money. I will keep fighting to get many more wins for constituents until all unfair debts are repaid. You can help me to keep the pressure on the Government by signing my Robodebt 2.0 Petition.
Everyday, I work with pride to advance the interests of our great state. With your help, I have achieved many wins for us, from saving local jobs and supporting SA business and industry, to making sure we get a fair share from policies made by the Federal Government. This is my passion - and I will continue to work hard every day to get A Fair Go for SA.
Take a look at my Campaigns Wins page to see the wins I've scored for SA so far.