Northern Territory should be reunited with SA, Vickie Chapman tells parliament in her farewell speech

South Australia and the Northern Territory may have been separated for more than 110 years, but a former attorney general is urging jurisdictions to put bygones in the past and formally re-embrace as “Germany after the Wall fell.” Berlin”.

Outgoing Liberal SA MP Vickie Chapman used her farewell speech in the state parliament to float the idea of ​​reunification between state and territory, suggesting that such a move would be mutually beneficial.

“It has long been my opinion, often to the annoyance of my colleagues, that we should explore the reunification of the Northern Territory with South Australia,” Ms Chapman told the South African parliament.

“We gave it away in 1907, the Commonwealth accepted it in 1910.

“Reunification was achieved in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, so surely we can do it, before Queensland intervenes.”

A photo from 1989 showing a large crowd of people standing on the Berlin Wall, helping those below to get up.
Ms. Chapman invoked the moment of German reunification in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down. (Wikimedia Commons: Sue Ream)

The term “Northern Territory” once referred to the “Northern Territory of South Australia” and the landmass was formally annexed by its neighbor to the south in the 1860s, before being ceded to the fledgling Commonwealth nearly 50 years later.

“The Northern Territory is well resourced and strategically located north of Australia with security infrastructure,” continued Ms Chapman.

“It has water, liquefied gas, gold and a young population.

“South Australia can provide opportunities for statehood, employment, higher education and a business base that will help territorials, not to mention our nation-leading growth in the cyber defense and space sectors.”

SA Deputy Prime Minister Vickie Chapman at a parliamentary committee.
Mrs. Chapman used her valedictory speech to float the idea of ​​reunification.(ABC News)

Ms Chapman, who served as attorney general and deputy prime minister from March 2018 to November 2021, announced her decision to resign from parliament shortly after the Liberals’ electoral defeat in March this year, prompting an upcoming by-election in his inner seat of Bragg in Adelaide. .

Colleagues on both sides of the political divide paid tribute to the stalwart from the moderate Liberal faction, including former Prime Minister Steven Marshall, who spoke of a “leadership partnership” such as “the Liberal Party has never seen before”.

“I’ve joked in this place before that the relationship I’ve had with the Bragg member is twice the length of my marriage,” he said.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been saved by bacon, sitting in the chair now occupied by the prime minister.”

SA Environment Minister Susan Close.
Deputy Prime Minister Susan Close praised the “progressive politics” of her predecessor.(ABC News)

Deputy Prime Minister Susan Close recalled the moment a decade ago when Mrs Chapman approached her and another new Labor MP, after their inaugural speeches.

“The member of Bragg came up and went out of her way to say that she welcomed us as women in this chamber and that if we had any problems, we came to her, that she was there for us as much as any other female member, and we have never forgotten that.” “, he told parliament.

Labor Minister Tom Koutsantonis described Ms Chapman as “a formidable opponent” who was “strong and determined” in her pursuit of political results.

“I think of someone who has probably been the most determined opponent we’ve faced in the 20 years I’ve been here,” he said.

“She is someone who probably should have led her party but never did. I often wonder what would have happened if she had led her party, if things had been different.”

Young deputy reflects on witness protection

As Ms Chapman closed the curtain on her 20-year career as a parliamentarian, there were also maiden speeches, including by new member of the Legislative Council, Laura Curran.

The 26-year-old Liberal MP spoke of the time her family had spent in witness protection due to her father’s job, before they moved to the Middle East.

“I spent my teenage years growing up in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, at the time a nation with great social constraints, particularly for women,” she said.

“As a woman who lived in that place, I was not allowed to drive a car let alone raise my hand for public office.”

SA State Liberal MP Laura Curran.
Laura Curran reflected on her time in Saudi Arabia, as well as the witness protection experience.(Facebook)

Ms Curran said her father’s work for the NSW Police had forced the family into witness protection when a “threat to my family” was identified.

“When he was five years old, my father had been working undercover for the NSW police, infiltrating motorcycle gangs, murder suspects and other criminal organisations,” he told parliament.

“One of my earliest memories as a child is of being evacuated from our home by officers, being taken away by a convoy of police cars in the middle of the night and being dragged from one safe house to another.”

Ms. Curran said that becoming the 23rd member, out of more than 270, in the history of the Legislative Council was both an honor and an opportunity.

“I hope that across our great state, girls and young women will look up to our parliament as we continue to see more women elected and be inspired,” she said.

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