Wednesday 11 March 2009
Hansard of the Legislative Council
CONDOLENCE - DEATH OF COLIN RATTRAY OAM
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - I have just a small contribution to the motion by the Leader with condolences to the Rattray family. I wanted to make a couple of observations of my own about the welcome that I received here, of course by everybody, it is a very welcoming place, but particularly by Colin. Then to have the pleasure of sitting down here in the back pocket, as he referred to our position in the house, with Colin for 12 months. He was really interesting to sit next to because I think we are all still in very much a learning phase. I had only been in a year when I was shifted away from the member for Rowallan for my own good -
Mr Harriss - That's correct.
Mr FINCH - down here and spent the year with the member for Apsley and it has never been the same since, by the way. I am back with the member for Rowallan - however, I digress.
It was interesting in talking with Colin on a lot of the issues that I was learning about and wanting to discuss with him about the attitude that he was taking to these issues. When I would say, 'Where are you going with this piece of legislation, Col?' 'Well, I'm still making up my mind, young fella', and I would say, 'Are you going to get up and speak?' 'No, I don't think so. No, no, there's no need' but then after a while I would check with him and he would say 'Oh yes, I will get up and speak' and then up he would get - no notes, as the member for Mersey said. He would come over and up would go the foot and away would go the arms and then we would do the tour of his electorate and he would cover all those little locations that were there as features of Apsley.
Mr Wing - In his neck of the woods.
Mr FINCH - Yes, in his neck of the woods. I made the observation that he could do that and he would be cogent, he would give us an understanding of what his electorate thought about that issue because he was, as somebody mentioned earlier, a good listener. It was because he carried out those conversations with people - and I experienced that when I was working with the ABC, there were a couple of events that I had to go to in his area - and along with the handshake and the good tidings he would always make you feel very welcome, no matter what the event. Being a good listener he would be able to relate to what people in the area thought and his reading of what their attitude would be to the issue at hand so that was why he was able to stand up here and talk about the issues on behalf of his community.
I must say it was a privilege when I was asked to be the host of his farewell here at Parliament House along with David Crean. I did tell the story, and you probably remember but for those who were not here at the time I will just relate the story again because it gave me a bit of a feel of Colin's life observations and his sense of humour. It was the time we were sharing our Christmas function at one of the new restaurants down at the Launceston Seaport. We ordered our meals and he saw on the menu that there was duck so being of good country folk he thought that he would have the duck, and that it would be like having stewed rabbit or something like that so he ordered the duck. Of course with it being a modern restaurant he was probably expecting to see a roasted duck on the plate and that it would be familiar to him. When it came out it was one of those modern presentations mainly of cabbage leaves with a sauce and then it was layered on the plate. I remember the quizzical look on his face when this meal was put in front of him and he looked at me and he looked at the plate and he looked around and he picked up his knife and he lifted the layers slowly but surely, one by one, and he is looking to see if he could recognise anything in there.
Mr FINCH - And it was such a strange concoction to him he looked at me and he said, 'You know, young fella, they'd have had a lot of trouble shooting this duck'.
Mr FINCH - However, I agree with the observations on his character that have been made here and it is all positive and I think if I had tried to think of maybe a negative, an element of his character that might have been thought of as a flaw, I do not think there was one. I think that what you saw was what you got and I appreciated my time with him here. The north-east and Tasmania has lost an iconic political figure and my condolences, too, to the family.