DAVID RIDGWAY MLC

Answer

Please tell us a little about yourself – your upbringing, family, interests etc.

I grew up in the small South-East community of Wolseley and as a young adult, took over the family farm which had diversified into growing bulbs for the cut flower industry, becoming the biggest gladioli supplier in the Southern Hemisphere.

As I learnt about growing and running a successful business, politics was also on my mind. I joined the Liberal Party and was elected to the State’s Upper House – the Legislative Council – in 2002. I am now Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council.

I am fortunate to hold shadow portfolios which I am genuinely interested in and passionate about – Agriculture, Primary industries and Tourism. I have also relished experience in other portfolios such as Environment, River Murray, Transport, Infrastructure and Small Business.

Outside Parliament, I enjoy exploring the State, meeting and listening to locals anywhere from the South-East to the Boarfield and Oodnadatta Tracks. My electorate covers the entire State and I am excited to meet with anyone who has a story to tell about South Australia.

My wife Meredith and I have three children – Ashleigh, Tara and Louis – and we live in Adelaide.

 

What are the two top priorities that you want to achieve for your electorate?

Mine, and the Marshall Liberal Team’s, top two priorities for the State are growing both the economy, and the population.

 

No one wants to see any child bullied at school for any reason. But recent anti-bullying program seem to have gone beyond this aim. Do you agree with state funding of the SHINE SA Safe Schools program which applies contested and scientifically unsound gender theory into all SA state schools without the need for parental consent? The program also seems to promote radical LGBTIQ concepts to children without parental consent.

A Marshall Liberal Government will replace the controversial Safe Schools programme with a broad evidence based anti-bullying programme with a particular focus on stopping online bullying. This new programme will be based on the successful NSW programme and legislation will be strengthened to make it easier to prosecute bullies.

 

If elected will you support an independent inquiry into the implementation of the SHINE SA Safe Schools program and the mandating of the Supporting Same sex attracted, Intersex and Gender Diverse Students Policy November 2016: and the Transgender and Intersex Students Support Procedure November 2016?

A Marshall Liberal Government will replace the controversial Safe Schools programme with a broad evidence based anti-bullying programme with a particular focus on stopping online bullying. This new programme will be based on the successful NSW programme and legislation will be strengthened to make it easier to prosecute bullies.

 

The SA parliament has unsuccessfully attempted to reform prostitution law in SA for many years. It is clear that prostitution degrades women by objectifying them as commodities for men’s sexual gratification. Internationally, policies discouraging demand for sexual services are proving to be the most effective way of limiting both the size of and the harms resulting from prostitution. The progressive “Nordic model” criminalises the buyer of sex, not the provider, and provides viable pathways for those wishing to exit prostitution. Would you support a Nordic Model Bill in the next parliament to help vulnerable women in SA?

I would vote against the Nordic Model Bill in the next parliament. I have previously voted in favour of legislating for the legalisation of prostitution as defined in my colleague Michelle Lensink’ bill.

 

Euthanasia has been rejected by SA parliaments on 15 occasions. Would you oppose or support any future attempts to legalise euthanasia in SA?

I am personally opposed to legalising euthanasia, unless there is a particularly strong argument in favour.

 

According to Palliative Care SA about 6000 South Australians will die this year without adequate palliative care. Would you support:

  1. Increased funding for palliative care in this State?
  2. an inquiry into improving end of life treatment for South Australians and in particular into how palliative care may be improved?

A Marshall Liberal Government will support increased funding for palliative care in South Australia and details will be released prior to the election.

 

Drugs continue to wreak havoc in our community. Some are suggesting the decriminalisation of small volume use and possession of illicit drugs. Would you support or oppose legislation to enable this?

A Marshall Liberal Government will not support any legislative change to permit the decriminalisation of small volume use and possession of illicit drugs. In fact, a Marshall Liberal Government will ensure the maximum penalties for cannabis possession will be increased from $500 to $2000.

 

Given that the advances in medical science mean that children are now capable of being born alive at 24 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy, would you support a review of section 82A(8) of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 which says that “evidence that a woman had at any material time been pregnant for a period of twenty-eight weeks or more shall be prima facie proof that she was at that time pregnant of a child capable of being born alive” with a view to bringing it into line with current medical science and so changing the period to 24 weeks?

I personally am pro-choice, I don’t believe men should have a say in what women do with their body. But if current medical studies can prove that a baby can be born alive at 24 weeks, I would be in favour of reviewing current legislation, and changing it if need be.

 

Do you support faith-based organisations’ current right to, if they so choose, restrict employment or enrolment to those who share their ethos, just like political parties do?

I am currently undecided on the issue.

 

Poker machines cause a great deal of social harm to vulnerable South Australians. Over $60 million is lost monthly on poker machines in South Australia, with a significant portion of this attributed losses suffered by women. Do you support legislating for $1 bets? B. What other measures do you support to help at-risk South Australians and their families?

The Liberal Party has not supported further reducing the maximum betting limit for gaming machines to $1. Maximum betting limits have only recently been halved from $10 to $5 from 1st January 2017. Recent growth in gambling has occurred in online gambling options as opposed to gaming machines. A Marshall Liberal Government will continue, review and expand where required
existing programmes that seek to reduce the number of problem gamblers and assist those who do have a gambling problem.

 

How would you like to be remembered as a parliamentarian?

I want to be remembered as an MLC who was passionate about South Australia. My goal is to see this state succeed, to finally be able to pull our own weight on a federal level. A key to that is a strong economy, and a plan to combat the exodus of young people. Two areas I am extremely passionate about.