Friday 26 November 2004

I did want to propose a new designation for those who want to get things done in our communities and I will admit that 'community catalyst' has a certain chemical origin and you need to stretch that definition a little. As we learn in school chemistry classes, a catalyst is a substance which by its presence, speeds up a certain chemical reaction without being consumed in the reaction itself. Chemical catalysts can go on forever - but I am not going to - but I suspect that community catalysts will eventually wear themselves out. But I am talking about a more active definition of catalyst here.

A community catalyst is by no means passive. It is somebody who through active enthusiasm gets things done which would normally not get done. Most communities have a community catalyst and I feel a bit like one here myself, Mr President.

Members laughing.

Mr FINCH - How many is a quorum?

Members laughing.

Mr Aird - You are about to find out.

Mr FINCH - We need to encourage many more of them and I would like to make my first community catalyst award to Susie Clarke, a resident of Launceston. I know you will not be leaving during the speech, Mr President, because -

Mr PRESIDENT - I would very much like to because I am to launch a CD she is sponsoring by 8.30, so please proceed.

Mr FINCH - With respect, I have to say, Mr President, Susie Clarke is not very big physically but she makes up for that in sheer dynamism.

Susie Clarke retired recently, as she puts it. Her retirement was the beginning of an even stronger role in the community. She seems to define what she is doing as a token of thanks to the Tasmanian community for what she describes as warm friendships. May I quote, Mr President:

'Having retired recently I would like to thank my fellow Tasmanians for your warm friendships, your thoughtfulness, your wonderful support, faith and confidence towards not only myself but to so many different nationalities who call Tasmania home'.

Who calls Tasmania home? Susie Clarke does, and so do we wherever our families came from. That is another quality of Tasmania.

What Susie Clarke has done through her passion and commitment to Tasmania is enable a small group of talented Tasmanian musicians and singers to travel to Japan to mark the fortieth year relationship between Launceston and its Japanese sister city of Ikeda. Some of the group are going to perform at the Australian pavilion in the World Expo at Osaka on 14 and 15 May next year.

These people would be talented and successful without Susie Clarke, it must be admitted, but she has been the catalyst to bring out their talent even further through her passion for their talent to get them to Japan. Arranging and pushing for such a trip is not that easy. Those involved in the Ikeda sister city trip are Diana Briffa, Launceston born and in fact a daughter of a former member of the House of Assembly here, Neil Pitt, who first studied music at Broadland House and then at St Hilda's in Western Australia, the Victorian College of Arts and was subsequently invited by Richard Bonynge to join Opera Australia.

Tom Ward, a 21-year-old classical guitarist from Jackeys Marsh in the member for Rowallan's electorate, recently was invited by guitar maestro Carlo Buroni to Sardinia to not only participate in his master classes but to feature in a concert of some of the world's finest young musicians. He was, at that time, Premier Jim Bacon's composer of the year in 2000.

John De Jong is a Dutch-born tenor. He emigrated to Australia at the age of eight, went to Launceston's Riverside High School where he learnt music - a wonderful performer with a magnificent voice.
Finally, Ben Austin, at the concert the President referred to, is performing tonight. I need to put this on record because I am supposed to be hosting that concert and I think I have a Buckley's of doing that.

I want to thank Susie Clarke for the opportunity to be part of Ben Austin's development. He is an outstanding young pianist at only 14 and he will be launching his first CD tonight and that is all with the encouragement of this wonderful person, Susie Clarke.

They are four extremely talented young northern Tasmanians who just needed that catalyst to bring them together and get them to Japan to represent our State.

In designating Launceston's Susie Clarke as a community catalyst, I hope to encourage recognition of others around Tasmania who achieve things which would not happen without them. We might not rival the Oscars but the idea of recognising our community catalysts I think has a lot going for it, Mr President.

Thank you to the members. Merry Christmas.