Recommended Sponsor - Buy Original Artwork Directly from the Artist

Source: The Conversation (Au and NZ) – By Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

After beating a first-term South Australian Liberal government in 2022, Labor premier Peter Malinauskas has gone on to be a reform advocate on issues including social media and politcal donations.

His government is looking at a ban on children under 14 accessing social media accounts, with parental consent required for those 14 and 15.

Malinauskas is also proposing changes that would ban most political donations in South Australian politics.

On AUKUS, he is urging a greater national effort to prepare the Australian workforce for the demands for labour the agreement will bring, dirtectly and indirectly.

Peter Malinauskas joined the podcast to talk about these issues.

On political donation reform, he says politicians are spending far too much time raising money:

We want to get money out of politics. We believe that’s important for a number of reasons, but the least well-understood is the fact that fundraising is increasingly taking up the time of politicians, and we don’t want politicians to become professional fundraisers.

We want them to be developing thoughtful public policy and engaging with their constituents.

On a social media ban for young teens, Malinauskas says it’s worth doing even if some kids find a workaround:

Are there people under age who drink? Yes. Are there people underage who smoke? Yes. Are there people who speed every day on our roads? Yes.

But that doesn’t stop us from having limits on the provision of alcohol or cigarettes, that doesn’t stop us from having speed limits. Always there are going to be examples of people who circumvent the law or find a way around it, or choose to just not follow it. But the majority of people do and are better off for it.

So, if we didn’t put in place standards only on the basis of the fact that […] there might be one person out there that doesn’t follow them, then we’d never do any of it.

With South Australia heavily involved in the AUKUS submarine program, Malinauskas is a strong defender of the agreement:

The strategic value of nuclear submarines, the moment the AUKUS submarines enter the water, it completely recalibrate’s Australia’s negotiating position strategically in our region at a really important time.

The second element it goes to is cost. Well, of course, it’s expensive but it’s expensive because it is the most advanced capability of any defence platform that exists. I mean, it immeasurably recasts the way that any would-be adversary thinks about the defence of Australia, and that’s worth it.

On Peter Dutton’s nuclear power announcement this week which would place a small modular reactor near Port Augusta, Malinauskas says:

I believe that nuclear power is important in the global energy mix to achieve decarbonisation. I don’t think we achieve net zero by 2050 globally unless nuclear power is playing a role around the world. It’s safe and it produces zero carbon emissions.

So the question is how much more expensive is nuclear power going to make energy bills in Australia? And all the economists who actually know something about this, all of the scientists tell us it’ll make it more expensive unless there is a rapid change in the technology which there is no evidence of yet.

Now, the small modular reactors, I challenge anybody to demonstrate an example of where a small modular reactor exists that is providing civil nuclear power to a population of 1.7 million and is doing it cheaper than renewables.

The Conversation

Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

ref. Politics with Michelle Grattan: Peter Malinauskas on political donations, kids on social media, and the nuclear option –