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Marshall, Malinauskas questioned on orgies

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South Australian politicians have been asked a bizarre, X-rated question during a leaders debate.

Standing in front of a crowd at the Adelaide Convention Centre and a live audience on Facebook, Premier Steven Marshall and Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas were asked if there were “any orgies in question time”.

Opinion writer and journalist Tory Shepherd, who MC’d the SA Press Club debate, asked the question during the 30-minute Q&A.

“I’ve got a very quick yes or no (question) for both of you,” she began.

“Are there any orgies in question time in state parliament?”

Both leaders, who appeared to momentarily be taken back by the comment, were quick to answer “no”.

Ms Shepherd then replied: “I just thought we’d better get it out there. It might come up later.”

Mr Marshall looked at the MC and said “really” as he chuckled.

Questions about the state’s COVID-19 response, jobs and health system were also asked.

Mr Malinauskas, for Labor, said there was no dispute Australia was the best place to be because of its response to COVID-19.

But he said it was important to be honest about the size of the challenge ahead.

“The truth is, our state does start at the back of the pack,” Mr Malinauskas said.

“By a long way, we have the worst labour market in the country in almost every considered ABS metric

“Just as we come out of COVID with the worst unemployment rate in the country, we went into COVID with the worst unemployment rate.

“SA doesn’t need a premier to take us back to where we were before. We need a premier who can take us where we can be.”

Mr Marshall refuted Mr Malinauskas’ comments and said South Australia was “moving in the right direction” and he was “very confident about the future” of the state.

“The (ABS statistics) bump around and the ABS have issued warnings about how volatile the statistics are at the moment,” he said.

“The Pay As You Go stats show that we have more people employed and higher wages than pre COVID.”

The Premier recalled how his Liberal government provided a $4bn economic boost during the height of the pandemic, how there were an additional 33,000 internships and traineeships available under his administration and highlighted future projects in the Defence and space sectors.

He said the party was still committed to providing “more jobs, lower cost, better services”, which he pledged three years ago when elected.

“We are working with the commonwealth to make this (space) a $12bn sector, employing 20,000 Australians by 2030,” Mr Marshall said.

The next state election will be in March 2022.

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