AD-Lib Th e S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n Yo u n g L i b e r a l M o v e m e n t M a g a z i n e Winter 2018
Disclaimer The opinions expressed herein belong solely to the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor or the South Australian Young Liberal Movement. Contributions to this edition of AD-Lib are from members and friends of the SAYLM. To contribute to the next issue of AD-Lib or to contact the Editor, email email@example.com. Authorised by Ms. Jocelyn Sutcliffe, President, SAYLM. 104 Greenhill Road, Unley, 5061.
Contents From the Editor 3 From the President 4 Young Liberal Ball 2018 5 Young Liberal of the Year 8
Nuclear Power - Whatâ€™s everybody so afraid of? - Kristos Jackson
2018 Election Review - Ben Newell
Calling the Left out with facts - Senator Anne Ruston
From the Editor
his edition of AD-Lib marks my final one as editor and the end of two terms as the South Australian Young Liberal Movement Communications Director. It’s been a great two years and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Young Liberal Executive. Being the Communications Director for two years allowed me to build a number of new systems for the Movement and begin the transition of our communications technology into the present day. Our website, e-mail distribution channels, and social media presence were in desperate need of a revamp and I think I’ve been able to play my part in delivering some of that. The delivery of a new NationBuilder website and email system, at no cost to the Movement, is a personal highlight. Additionally, being the Communications Director during an election year - one in which we won, no less - has been a hugely rewarding experience and I’m very grateful for the opportunities the Movement has given me and the experiences I’ve been through during my time on the Exec. While there’s plenty more to do in the Communications area, it’s time for someone else to pick up the baton and put their stamp on the Movement’s communications avenue in the years ahead. This final edition of AD-Lib features recaps of the Movement’s recent Young Liberal Ball, with guest speaker Andrew Hastie MP, Federal Member for Canning, which can be found from page 5. On that night we also awarded the Young Liberal of the Year to Hugh Sutton, the current Campaigns Director, for his outstanding work throughout the year, particularly his stellar efforts during the election campaign. This edition also features articles from Senator Anne Ruston on calling the Left out with facts on page 15, Ben Newell provides a 2018 election review on page 13 and Kristos Jackson asks the question of why are people afraid of nuclear power? That’s on page 10.
A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to AD-Lib over the past two years. Putting together a publication like this is always a challenge and it makes it that much simpler when members of the Movement put up their hand to contribute their thoughts and opinions on issues and politics of today. The movement will always be in need of insightful articles and robust debate, so please continue to write articles and send them through to the new Comms Director for future AD-Libs, website articles or the like. I’ve really enjoyed the last two years and I look forward to seeing the new direction the Executive and new Communications Director takes the Movement. Good luck to the new team. I’m sure you’ll do great things for the Liberal cause in South Australia. Cheers, Rowan Thomas SAYLM Communications Director
From the President In this final wrap up before the Young Liberal AGM on Friday 13 July, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the Young Liberal membership, for your support of me as your President and your dedication and commitment to our cause. It has been a busy year for Young Liberals in South Australia with the election of a majority Liberal Government in March, our focus now turns to the Federal scene where we look to help contribute in electing a third term Liberal Government. With the boundary changes now cemented, the role of the Young Liberals will become even more crucial in ensuring seats such as Boothby remain in Liberal hands, and Mayo are returned. Speaking of Mayo, with just over two weeks to go until the crucial Super Saturday By-Elections, the Young Liberals have proven yet again that we are a campaign force to be reckoned with. It has been an incredible privilege to serve as President of this Movement over the past 12 months and to lead a group of young, passionate and engaged members. We are bound together by a common set of values and beliefs – a love of liberalism in its traditional sense and a yearning to conserve our culture, traditions and institutions which have stood the test of time. It is not always easy being a centre-right, twenty-something thinker in today’s world, but the Young Liberal Movement has long helped
forge life-long friendships, whilst encouraging robust policy debates, creating a reliable campaign outfit and helping mould and develop the future of our Party’s leaders. I look forward to supporting the incoming Executive team at the end of my term as President and continuing my engagement with our Movement. Kind regards Jocelyn Sutcliffe SAYLM President
Young Liberal Ball 2018 with special guest Andrew Hastie MP, Federal Member for Canning 19 May - Sanctuary Adelaide Zoo
Young Liberal of the Year 2018
t the Young Liberal Ball the Young Liberal of the Year was awarded to Hugh Sutton.
Hugh is a very deserving winner, having served on the Young Liberal Executive for the past 12 months in the crucial position of Campaign Director in a state election year. Undaunted by the magnitude of the task at hand, Hugh threw himself into the work, dedicating countless hours not only to coordinate Young Liberals for phone canvassing, door-
knocking, letterboxing and other activities, but personally assisting on countless campaigns. His efforts across electorates contributed significantly to victories across the state and he can be very proud of the work and achievements he assisted in bringing about. Congratulations to Hugh for the great work throughout 2017/18. A very worth recipient indeed.
Nuclear Power What’s everybody so afraid of?
Kristos Jackson examines why nuclear energy remains in the no-go zone for politics and whether that needs to change to unlock our future energy needs
omething which I found puzzling during the election cycle was the stance each party took regarding the proposal of a nuclear waste treatment facility here in SA—Labor was all for it, while the Libs were against it. In all fairness, I’m not about to attribute some anti-nuclear motivation to Premier Stephen Marshall’s incumbent government, as I would tend to agree with the assessment that we’d run the risk of creating a ‘stranded asset’ which taxpayers would bear the brunt of. Nevertheless, this once promising but now defunct project, compounded with the full-scale disaster that has been the state of South Australia’s power grid since the closure of the Port Augusta coal-fired plant, has led me to wonder—why hasn’t Australia tried nuclear yet? Before we dive in, let’s first take stock of our current renewables situation. If you’re not aware, Australia’s energy needs are supplied by a combination of different energy sources; both fossil fuels and renewables. That statement alone can be misleading, however; more than 80 per cent of that supply is covered by both coal and natural gas. The next largest portion is made up of hydropower at only 7 per cent of total generation, and the construction or expansion of hydro plants remains unlikely, being heavily dependant on geographical suitability.
Proponents of wind energy never cease to amaze me with their optimism, despite Australia’s wind farms providing a meagre 5 per cent of the nation’s generation annually. The footprint those turbines require isn’t exactly proportionate either; if Australia wished to transition fully over to wind energy, you’d need to cover an area roughly the size of Kangaroo Island with those industrial turbines. And that’s only assuming the wind’s always a blowin’ (no matter how many of Elon’s Musk’s batteries we buy). Solar isn’t faring much better, either. Thanks to years of federal and State government subsidies, in most neighbourhoods it’s almost become uncool not to have a few panels up on the roof. Yet, tens of millions of panels installed on millions of homes are only able to achieve an output of less than 3 per cent of total demand. As much as the environmental Left might wish to claim climate-denial, it’s quite abundantly clear at this point that the government’s involvement in clean energy thus far has been a massive boondoggle. Enter nuclear power. Everyone’s heard of it, and most think of the meltdowns of Chernobyl and Fukushima, or even the devastation wrought over Japan by nuclear weaponry in WWII. Yet, as of 2018, over thirty countries utilise nuclear power, and of those nations, five
have chosen it as the source for the majority of their electricity supply. Take France for example, who have have been almost fully reliant this form of energy for decades, and are making a killing off of it via the energy export market. Due to the low overall running costs associated with nuclear power, France can afford to generate so much electricity that it currently sells it to neighbouring nations for €3 billion a year ($4.8bn AUD). Running a nuclear power plant would be even cheaper in Australia, given that we sit on the single largest Uranium reserve on the planet (which is the metal from which we get the radioactive isotope currently used to fuel nuclear reactors). It’s not as though we don’t touch the stuff, either—we send it all away. To date, Australia is the world’s second-largest Uranium exporter. Of course, nuclear power produces waste, as critics will be quick to point out. Not waste in the form of emissions, however—nuclear power is almost as clean as it gets with regard to greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide—but radioactive waste. In short, this stuff needs to be kept away from people. Any serious proposals for ventures into nuclear power generation will need to make accommodations for the safe storage of these toxic byproducts, although it’s not as though this has been much of a hindrance to countries like France, who are able to recycle their spent fuel in order to minimise the volume of waste.
Besides, there’s plenty of reason to believe that as the technology develops over the coming years, such problems will all but dissipate. For example, in research currently are technologies such as the use of the chemical element Thorium (named after the God of Thunder, and no, I’m not joking) as opposed to Uranium within reactors to maximise power output and minimise wastage, as well as nuclear fusion. The latter is the type of reaction which occurs in the heart of the Sun and would usher in an age of unfathomable levels of energy production should it be attained in fifty or so years. The chief benefit of nuclear power, however, is obviously the prospect of transitioning to clean energy in the most timely (and economically realistic) manner possible. Even by generous estimates, the soonest the country may be able to wean off fossil fuels (with nuclear off the table) is about 40 years. While nuclear facilities do take a significant time to plan and build—on average roughly 19 years total—that clean energy target could be achieved in half the time with the simultaneous construction of several high capacity plants around the country, and would potentially sever our dependence on coal and natural gas for baseload power for good. Of course, nearly every technology carries its dangers, and nuclear energy is certainly one which feels scary, but does this translate to reality? Well, of the three major nuclear disasters—Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima—only two were, in fact, First World occurrences. The Chernobyl meltdown was
incontestably caused by extensive human error in an Eastern Bloc nation, making it inconceivable that such a chain of events could ever be replicated in a First World country like Australia. Also, given that the Three Mile Island meltdown has had little to no long-term impact, we’re really only left with one major disaster— Fukushima—in over 40 years of industrialised countries using nuclear power. On top of that, and in spite of the impression given by media coverage, neither the Three Mile Island or Fukushima meltdowns have caused any direct human deaths as a result of the accidents. At this point you may be wondering: so why hasn’t Australia decided to go down the nuclear energy route? Stated plainly, there’s a large majority on the Left who don’t want anyone to have it. This much has been clear ever since John Howard commissioned the Switkowski report in 2007 to investigate the merits of nuclear power, to which several State Labor governments responded by effectively banning it. Kevin Rudd similarly put the kibosh on any traction for nuclear gained over the Howard years, and his party has been opposed to the technology ever since. As such, no plans for the construction of a nuclear power plant in Australia have ever come to fruition. It seems to defy rationality, as it goes against the cardinal tenet of the entire climate-change brigade: reducing carbon emissions. Maybe they’re annoyed that it won’t bankrupt the country.
After all, here you have a power source which doesn’t suffer from the intermittency issues which plague renewable technologies, gives you vastly more bang for your buck, is by any available metric the cause of the fewest deaths per unit of energy produced, and will handily meet those emissions reduction targets people are so hot on, and the Left decides to stonewall it. As such, the only course of action which is inoffensive to the Left is to continue to subsidise Elon Musk’s Tesla and various other renewable science projects and ignore the economic hardships felt by Australian businesses and families alike as a result, in the name of the great environmental cause. But of course, it’s the Right who care not about carbon emissions, and state as much cackling while puffing on a fat cigar, kicking their feet up on a ten-thousand dollar ivory desk bought with their oil money. Once you strip away the patina of unbased fears which typically pervade this debate, it becomes clear that the best shot we have to ditch fossil fuels without simultaneously ditching any semblance of economic growth in this country is to keep a bit of that Uranium at home and start turning it into cheap, emissions-free power. Homer Simpson approves this message. Kristos Jackson is a member of the South Australian Young Liberal Movement
2018 Election Review Ben Newell reflects on his experiences during the March election campaign and how technology and unity contributed to the outstanding result
he 2018 State Election campaign was the best resourced, the best planned and the most disciplined the South Australian Liberal Party has ever run. After 16 long years in Opposition, the Party was hungry for government and was prepared to take the steps necessary to be a united team.
operate under the law as it stands at the time. The main effect of the new campaign caps was that resources had to be used in the most efficient and effective way possible so that we were not overspending our legislated caps. Any breach of the caps would have resulted in large fines and reputational damage to the party.
The Party invested heavily in new technology and also invested in having a well-resourced and campaign ready headquarters. Candidates in winnable seats were pre-selected long before the March date so that they had a good opportunity to attend community functions and meet and greet their electors as the endorsed Liberal candidate. Most candidates and MPs had spent a solid 12 months in the lead up to election day doorknocking, visiting shopping centres and community events in order to meet as many voters as possible. The most valuable experience in any campaign is for a voter to be able to say that they either know or have met the candidate (and liked them!). It was very heartening to hear of the number of candidates who had either met or exceeded their doorknocking targets.
The greatest asset that the Liberal Party has is its volunteer base. On the ground the Liberal Party outnumbers any other party in terms of volunteers. Many Labor supporters of election day are often paid union workers (sometimes flown in from interstate). By and large, the Liberal Party does not have the luxury of paid campaigners and “rent-a-crowd”. The Young Liberal Movement is the overwhelming largest component of our volunteer base and the workhorse of most campaigns.
The new campaign tool “i360” made contacting voters easier than ever before. The traditional approaches of phone canvassing and doorknocking were greatly enhanced by the use of this important new campaigning tool. The 2018 State Election was the first under the new campaign caps. While many Liberals would question the implications of publicly funded elections and the policing of spending in a democracy, the Liberal Party is required to
The 2018 Campaign was no different with former Young Liberal State Presidents Stephan Knoll, John Gardener, Sam Duluk and Dan Cregan to name just a few running in crucial House of Assembly seats. Young Liberals are often called on to do the bulk of letterboxing, corfluting and various other campaign tasks. Hundreds of thousands of hours were poured into the campaign by doing everything from delivering leaflets to letterboxes to making calls to voters right across our state at no expense to the cap. The new boundary distribution also had a substantial impact on the end result as the previous two state elections in 2010 and 2014 had been won by the Liberal Party on a two
party preferred basis (e.g. 53%-47% in 2014) but Labor had retained Government on the floor of the Parliament through the support of Independents (in 2014) and more favourable boundaries. The 2018 Election was the first election on what can best be described as an equal boundary footing in almost a generation. Now in Government, the Parliamentary Party must ensure that the boundaries can never again be drawn in such a way as to allow one party to stay in Government whilst not having the support of a clear majority of the electorate on a two party preferred basis. For anyone interested in the background of the enormous challenge we faced in regards to overcoming Labor’s entrenched boundaries, I encourage them to read Steve Murray’s excellent maiden speech which goes into further detail on this topic. The biggest unknown in the lead up to the 2018 poll was the impact of Nick Xenophon and his party “SA Best”. After Mr Xenophon was elected to the SA Upper House in 1997
as the “No Pokies” MP, Nick Xenophon had left State Politics in 2007 to successfully run for the Senate. After the citizenship issue was decided in the High Court, he then decided after a decade to return to the South Australian Parliament. Xenophon’s announcement that he would run in the marginal Liberal held seat of Hartley caused many to believe that it looked like South Australia could be once again be headed down the road of a minority government being dictated to by Independents which has previously been tried and failed at both the State and Federal levels in recent years. The Federal Government under Julia Gillard and in South Australia under Mike Rann and Jay Weatherill were the most recent examples of Independents (usually from traditional Liberal seats) handing office to Labor with disastrous results. Xenophon originally started a small and targeted campaign which eventually ballooned into a grand take over plan of the SA Parliament. Thanks to the great strategy of not doing any deals with Xenophon and the hard work of the Liberal faithful, the Party was able to win office at the state level for the first time this century. Ben Newell is an Adelaide lawyer and a member of the South Australian Young Liberal Movement Executive.
Bringing facts back into the political argument Senator Anne Ruston explains why it is imperiative that the Young Liberals call out Labor and the Greens’ lies
olicies debated before a parliament should be based on facts and evidence.
Increasingly in Canberra we have seen left-wing parties consume an outrage vacuum through which they try to shout the loudest and express the most disgust in an effort to consolidate their unsubstantiated views. As well as limiting overall public confidence, it hinders debate on the issues facing the country. The Turnbull Government for example recently introduced new management plans for Australia’s marine parks. The reforms constituted a genuinely balanced approach to the sustainable management of Australia’s marine resources and the environment. Instead of recognising the plans for what they were, the Labor Party and Greens chose to play a purely ideologically-riddled game that appealed to their supporter base while blatantly ignoring the science. It is not good enough. Adopting such an approach sidelines voters and fails to appreciate the significant implications of politically motivated legislation. If political parties only view policies through the prism of their own supporters, how are they fit to govern for the entire population? Similarly, the Greens have shown their contempt towards the Turnbull Government’s Regional Forest Agreements, blindly alleging they are bad for the environment. In doing so they choose to ignore the domes-
tic forest industry’s contribution to regional communities across the country. Fundamentally, they also fail to recognise how the agreements are in fact providing a comprehensive conservation network. The same can also be said when Labor regularly misquotes so called “cuts” to education funding that was never in existence. This sort of scaremongering does no good for the country, let alone the people it directly affects. Sadly, it can influence electoral success, and left-wing parties will continue to work from this handbook unless their own supporters grow tired of it. Now more than ever, it is important for Young Liberals to debate these opposing activists and convince your generation why the Liberal Party is best and most responsible party to govern. Undoubtedly we have the best policies of any political party. 1,000 new jobs every day is one, easy example. We must bring the facts back to the argument. The future of our country and the long-term viability of our economy relies on it. As divided as it sounds– politicians are elected to represent the people. Collectively we should reflect this principle, and vote on the evidence before us and not on what may simply result in partisan electoral success. The Young Liberals must continue to call out Labor and Greens lies. Anne Ruston is a Senator for South Australia and the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
AD-Lib Winter 2018 www.saylm.org.au
The Winter edition of AD-Lib magazine