14 January 2022
Disappointment at Premier’s decision to keep parliament closed
The Premier of South Australia has refused a request from 25 MPs and the Speaker of the House of Assembly to reconvene Parliament to deal with the current COVID-19 and Omicron variant crisis.
After condemning a decision by Deputy Premier Dan van Holst Pellekaan in December to shut Parliament down for a five-month holiday, Mr Brock added his signature to a list of 25 MPs calling for Parliament to resume for four days in February.
“The Cross-Benchers discussed their concerns and we also spoke to the Opposition, and agreed, that due to the grave concerns and uncertainty in our current COVID-19 crisis with the Omicron variant, that we should request the Premier to recall Parliament,” Mr Brock said.
“We need to have the State’s elected members able to ask questions of the Government as to how they are managing the confusion currently being faced by the State on their management of the pandemic, its current risks and consequences.”
Speaker of the House of Assembly Dan Cregan MP wrote to the Premier on behalf of 25 House of Assembly Members asking for additional sitting dates from Tuesday 8 February to Thursday 10 February be considered.
“The letter expressed our deep concern that the government has not adequately planned for new variants in its COVID-19 reopening plans,” Mr Brock said.
“We have seen our communities in confusion, businesses closing, economic hardship and supply chain shortages.
“Our frontline workers and allied health professionals – anyone working in the health sectors – are being put under more and more pressure to the point of burnout and exhaustion.
“Our communities deserve better. The additional strain on our hospitals has seen important quality-of-life surgery put on hold, a return to ramping, treatment delays and more, putting the vulnerable at risk, all because the government has planned poorly.”
Mr Brock said the daily confusion at changes in how the pandemic was being managed at all levels had put an unacceptable strain on the State.
“It is unacceptable that Members of Parliament, who represent our constituents to the best of our ability, are being deliberately prevented from questioning the Government or contributing to discussions on how this situation can be better managed.
“I called for Parliament to remain open last year, when Dan van Holst Pellekaan moved we go into recess, but the Government voted for an extended holiday break of five months.
“We knew then that the Omicron variant was in our community, and we had relaxed our strict border controls – it was only a matter of a very short time before chaos ensued, but the Government believed, wrongly, it had everything under control.”