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This week InSider travels to The Parade where a former Premier displays his singing talents, takes a scalpel to tortured shipbuilding rhetoric, and puts aside the snide to doff our hat to the late Lionel Willis, Adelaide’s beloved street dancer.

Feb 23, 2024, updated Feb 23, 2024

Libs change tune, sharpen knives in Dunstan

Former premier Steven Marshall’s vocal chords have been called upon to help the Liberal Party cause in Dunstan.

In a 90-second clip posted to Facebook and Instagram on Monday, the outgoing MP took his hopeful replacement, Dr Anna Finizio, for a completely natural, off-the-cuff drive around the eastern suburbs to discuss everything they love about the electorate. Netflix executives looking for a sequel to Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee need look no further than the riveting content coming out of the SA Liberal Party right now.

The video features Marshall briefly belting out an Italian tune (can’t hurt in an electorate where around 15 per cent of residents report Italian ancestry) before switching to Taylor Swift’s chart-topper ‘Cruel Summer’.

But the music was turned off when the duo got down to important matters: namely, just how local™ Anna Finizio is.

Labor has been running attack ads against the Liberal Party candidate for contesting a western suburbs seat at the 2022 federal election.

Thankfully, Finizio’s “Uber” ride with Marshall went along The Parade, allowing her to observe that “my first home was just around the corner here on Chapel Street”.

“I used to walk this road all the time,” she added.

Lest anyone still be sceptical of Finizio’s local credentials, Marshall followed up: “So, where are you living now, in Norwood?”

Finizio: “I’m actually living right on The Parade, Steven.”

Marshall: “That is fantastic.”

Finizio: “It is pretty bloody good.”

Viewers absorbed by this natural repartee didn’t have to wait long for Finizio to spruik her Norwood-ness again. Turns out she’s been to some local pubs as well.

“I must say, I spent many of my formative years either at The Bath, The Robin Hood or The Colonist, so I’m pretty well versed in our pubs,” she said, after Marshall observed that there are some “really good pubs” in the area.

Labor’s “truly local” campaign in Dunstan seems to be having an effect – at least on the Libs. Photo: Facebook

While Finizio fends off Labor’s attacks on her local CV, the Liberal Party has come up with some attack ads of their own.

Facebook ad library data reveals the party has spent between $900 and $1100 to get the word out about a radio interview Labor’s Dunstan candidate Cressida O’Hanlon had with FIVEaa’s Stacey Lee last month (audio below).

The Opposition seized on a 20-second excerpt in which Lee correctly pointed out to O’Hanlon that although ambulance response times have improved under Labor, patients are still more likely to be ramped outside a hospital now than they were under the Marshall Government.

O’Hanlon replied: “Yeah, but you’re sitting on the ramp in an ambulance.”

Lee queried: “And that’s okay?”

O’Hanlon: “Well, as opposed to waiting at home for the ambulance to turn up.”

Lee: “But that wasn’t what was on the election posters was it.”

For the record, O’Hanlon’s answer to the last questions (which didn’t make the cut in the Liberal Party’s ad) was that Labor’s “Fix the Ramping Crisis” election corflute had a much deeper meaning than just those words.

“What that election poster alluded to was the need for a comprehensive plan to address health problems, a significant health problem, and the comprehensive plan was rolled out within weeks of this government taking office,” O’Hanlon said.

Will that type of nuance be present in Labor’s next set of election posters? Don’t count on it.

When is a press release a commitment? When the government says it is

The Premier was at pains to spin this week’s big announcement – that South Australia was building three fewer Hunter class frigates than originally promised – as great news for the state.

ICYMI: six anti-submarine ships will be built at the Osborne shipyards after the federal government finally committed to funding the program, years after it was first announced.

We were meant to build nine at Osborne. Cost blowouts led to a reduction, but we’ll now get to build some of the world’s most expensive frigates.

After that, the federal government says BAE Systems workers will get to build three replacement ships for the ageing Hobart class air warfare fleet. Before that, they’ll also get to upgrade them at Osborne to sweeten the deal.

The thing is though, there’s not a dollar committed to the Hobart class replacements, nor even a design in place. All South Australia has to go on is a commitment from the Defence Minister, who will more than likely be retired on a beach somewhere by the time Adelaide workers even begin contemplating the project.

Journalists at Tuesday’s Premier presser tried to get to the bottom of this conundrum. Especially because that morning Malinauskas had told ABC Radio Adelaide that – despite SA being told years ago that it was building nine frigates –  “what we’ve seen previously is commitments to frigates; there’s been a mention of nine [frigates] but never a contract and never dollars in the budget to actually build the machines”.

So, was the announcement of three Hobart class replacements a commitment? After all, apparently there’s no “contract or dollars in the budget to actually build the machines”.

“The announcement today means that this shipyard is going to be building major frigates,” the Premier said. Yes, true … but what about the Hobart replacements?

“Does the funding announcement cover those AWDs?” asked Seven’s Andrea Nicolas.

“It will have to into the future, because the work to design the air warfare replacement, as was announced today, starts later into this decade,” said the Premier, frustrated by the pesky journos trying to rain on his warship parade.

“Can you argue that with the AWD that was announced today that that is just a verbal commitment?” asked Nine’s Ollie Haig.

“All roads lead to dollars actually being committed to build ships, and that’s what we’ve got today for the first time,” Malinauskas said.

“But do you have the dollars and the contracts in place for this AWD program?” asked InDaily’s David Simmons.

“They’ve made an announcement today that will see dollars in the budget that provides continuous shipbuilding into the future, with the Commonwealth committed to BAE building a Hunter class program here in South Australia,” he replied.

The InSider bottom line: If there’s no funding or contracts attached to an Adelaide shipbuilding announcement… it’s just an announcement.

A vegetarian taxidermist who collects roadkill

When InDaily visited the South Australian Museum earlier this week, we heard about its resident vegetarian taxidermist Jo Bain, who collects roadkill for his latest stuffed animal creations.

Bain – the museum’s longest-serving team member, having worked there since 1988, – recently told the government’s WE ARE.SA website that: “Since I was a kid, I’ve thought that the most important thing is to look after our wildlife and by using what most people consider garbage – dead things on the side of the road – I am able to communicate how wonderful these animals are.”

“We used to have permits to go and shoot animals in national parks, so if you needed an animal, you would just go out and get it,” he said.

“I found that absolutely horrifying, so I put an immediate stop to it as soon as I started working here.”

Bain has been vegetarian since he was 10 years old, telling the ABC that “Just the smell of raw meat makes me feel sick.”

InSider wonders how many other roadkill-collecting vegetarian taxidermists are out there.

Stuff you should know…

InSider tries to keep this part of the weekly roundup a bit light-hearted but this week everyone in Adelaide – as the glitz of the Fringe buzzes around us – should know and take a moment to reflect on the passing of Lionel Willis.

The 84-year-old was a common sight in Rundle Mall and at any Fringe show with music. He’d be the first up to dance in his amazing, colourful suits, and would sometimes upstage the performers with his trademark hat trick.

He will be missed by all and InSider loves the tribute photographer Alex Frayne posted on the obituary page.

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