The Liberal Party’s senior South Australian federal minister Christopher Pyne has conducted a whirlwind round of media engagements, selling the selection of his state as the location of Australia’s new space agency.
The Morrison Government recently announced its Astronomical Research and Space Exploration agency would be headquartered in Adelaide and Mr Pyne wasted no time saying what the latest infrastructure spend would mean to the state’s economy and his re-election prospects.
“This is one ARSE I’m happy to plug all day,” Mr Pyne said in that impish way of his that has made him arguably the least-disliked minister in the entire time of the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government.
The only media appearance not devoted to the agency announcement was when Mr Pyne as Defence Minister took a brief time-out for this week’s photo op where he pretended once again to sign some documents with French officials about those $50 billion worth of French submarines that probably will never, ever, be built in Adelaide or anywhere else for that matter.
Mr Pyne said the space agency was established earlier this year and had since been based at an interim site in Canberra.
“The spread of ARSE to Adelaide will have a positive impact on South Australia and the nation as a hole. I mean, whole,” Mr Pyne said. “I’m sure that in years to come Adelaide will be synonymous with ARSE, if it isn’t already.
“And black holes,” he added with a chuckle.
Speaking at a news conference to detail the specific areas the agency would impact positively (pictured), Mr Pyne said his home state had a proud track record of hosting cutting-edge scientific technologies.
“South Australia was home to rocket launches at Woomera up until the 1970s and before that we had the pleasure of hosting British nuclear tests at Maralinga, and we all know the benefits they brought to our state and its people.”
Asked what set SA apart from other states that had been chasing ARSE, Mr Pyne said the answer was simple.
“We know space,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. We here in South Australia have space and lots of it. In fact most of the state is just empty space.
“So when you think of space, vast expanses of space, vast vacuums where no life can exist naturally without artificial support, you automatically think of South Australia.”