Thursday 3 September 2009
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Reference was made on Tuesday this week in a debate on a motion by the member for Launceston for a select committee inquiry into aspects of Tasmania's tourism industry to the potential role of Tasmanians interstate and overseas in promoting our State.  Of course some are already filling the role, usually without reward or recognition, and I want to argue for the formalising of that role and with proper research creating a program to coordinate it and to speak about Tasmania with one voice.

Without preempting the research and the findings of the inquiry into tourism, I would like to elaborate on potential benefits to Tasmania of just one of Tasmania's successes overseas.  This person happens to have grown up in my electorate of Rosevears and her name is Rachael Taylor.  She was mentioned by the member for Launceston on Tuesday and she has in fact fulfilled the role of an ambassador in the past.

There are many Tasmanians, Madam President, who may travel the world and live away for many years who still believe that Tasmania is the best place on earth.  Sometimes they come back and sometimes they cannot but they never stop talking about their home State, whether it is in New York, Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Paris or Hollywood, and when people speak with conviction and longing they are particularly convincing.  They are Tasmania's unofficial ambassadors.

Madam President, I would like to establish Rachael Taylor's credentials.  Rachael was educated at Trevallyn Primary School, then Riverside High School and at Launceston College.  Riverside High was particularly influential in forming Rachael Taylor's attitude to life and her career and I remember, in another life, being the host of the Miss Teen Quest with Skye-Jilly Edwards, and Rachael Taylor was there at the age of 13.  I was the MC; I asked her a question and she took the microphone from me to answer the question.

Mrs Rattray-Wagner - Very brave.

Ms Forrest - Very brave of a 13-year-old.

Mr FINCH - So, as a 13-year-old, she was very outgoing and runner-up that year.  In the second year she actually won the competition, and as her Mum, Christine, said to me this morning, 'She's an only child and she's pretty special.'.

Rachael went on to Sydney University, and became involved in television and acting.  She was one of the main characters in a TV show called Headland - that was at the start of her career - that now has led to Hollywood.

Like many young people from my electorate, Madam President, Rachael Taylor has had no need to look back.  She is career-driven, she is motivated.  She has already starred in the first Transformers, in Bottle Shock and in Shutter, and if things go according to plan, she will star soon in a new television series called The Washingtonian, produced by Sarah Jessica Parker.

So Rachael is receiving a lot of publicity now and I know, as I speak, she is in Sydney.  She presently lives in Los Angeles, she owns a home in Hollywood and frequently returns to Launceston.  Despite her Hollywood reputation rising quickly, Rachael says she will never lose her Launceston roots.

I would like to quote from the Jetstar magazine that I acquired recently - just a quote from her about Launceston:

'I love Tasmania because that's where I grew up and where mum and dad are.  Launceston is so easy; you can walk everywhere.  There are good cafes and I go hiking at Cataract Gorge every day when I visit because it's so beautiful and accessible.'.

Madam President, it seems that Rachael Taylor is already doing her bit promoting Tasmania in her own influential way, and I do not mind predicting that the member for Launceston's select committee on aspects of the tourism industry would have recommendations on how to best use Tasmanians abroad, such as Rachael, to promote our State of Tasmania.