Hansard of the Legislative
Thursday 14 April 2011
RETIREMENT OF MEMBER FOR LAUNCESTON
The member for Launceston, I will use the term 'friends' and
hope that does apply because that is the way I feel about
Mr Wing - And you don't need the inverted commas.
Mr FINCH - I do not know why I did that but I am always interested
when I get up here to see what I am going to do and say.
Our time goes back to when you were Mayor of Launceston and
I was with the media at that time and we had that relationship
particularly for Australia Day.
Mr Wing - Which you compered so very well.
Mr FINCH - Thank you. See, he just cannot help himself.
Mr FINCH - That was a terrific community event and I think
that is really what you were all about, about your community
and serving the community and I have a note here of what a
good example you are to us here in this House but I think
also in the community as well. I think you have set a good
example for us and others who were looking to make a contribution
to community and we only had to follow your lead and the way
you conducted yourself and the way you embraced the issues
of the community and the way you cared about your community.
We are talking about learning a lot from you and I certainly
did at that time in respect of you and community.
It was interesting, I had some approaches politically and
I had never, ever considered a political career. I think I
might have been on the cusp of leaving the ABC, in fact I
am just recalling a conversation that I did have about politics
but I think I was still at the ABC, and I needed to take some
advice about that approach. I did come to you - and you might
recall this - just to find out what politics was all about
and I remember you explaining how parliament worked and certainly
I said I would not be going there but I think I would like
to come here if I were to choose politics as part of my future.
It was interesting because I thought, after you explained
it to me, 'Yes, I could do that' and now it is pretty obvious
that I cannot.
Mr FINCH - Anyway, the seed was sown because I did not think
with the former President, Ray Bailey, who retired from the
seat of Rosevears I was quite comfortable with him being my
representative and there was not a thought that I would try
for politics, enter politics or be part of it while he was
my member. But then about nine weeks out from his impending
re-election he retired from politics. Because I had given
consideration to the situation with the member for Launceston
then it was a decision that I needed to make with my family
as to whether I wanted to go down that path and because of
the advice I was given I chose to contest and was successful.
I then came down here to continue our friendship and I must
say I was really feather-bedded, as I think everybody would
feel that way when we come into this place. It is such a welcoming
and warm circumstance to come into and the tradition continues
with our President now and the staff who really ensure that
comfortable journey into the Legislative Council is enjoyed
by everyone but you particularly made me most welcome and
you know those times of the hospitality that were extended
to us, we will not go down the path of recalling the story
of the Joe Chromy wine and the advice that you gave on leaving
your rooms and turning back to the member for Western Tiers
and me and saying, 'Help yourself'.
Mr Wing - A fatal mistake.
Mr FINCH - That is right, a fatal mistake. Anyway, a good
memory nonetheless. Talking about the hospitality we will
always recall, those of us who were here at the time, the
invitation to Fiddlers' Bid to come into the House and to
entertain us in the dining room and in other locations and
it was a reflection of Don's concern, consideration and openness
to life and to people that brought about that wonderful experience.
I was working for Ten Days on the Island at the time and doing
the publicity for Fiddlers' Bid in the northern part of the
State. Fiddlers' Bid, the group members, were staying at Wrest
Point and as they were in the lift the member for Launceston
got in the lift and said, 'Hello, how are you? Where are you
from? What are you doing here?' blah, blah, blah - just making
Mr Wing - What do you mean, 'Blah, blah, blah?'
Mr FINCH - You know what I mean, general conversation, and
invited them to come here. They were from the New Hebrides
and you said, 'Bring your instruments and come to Parliament
House and join us for dinner'. It was just a wonderful night.
Just recently two of the members of the group were made welcome
by the member for Launceston back in Launceston again and
we went to the football and explained how it all works and
again Don has maintained that contact. I think that is a wonderful
Mr Parkinson - It has never been put on the record but they
played in here much to the disgust of the Clerk of the House.
Mr FINCH - I did not want to divulge too many details of what
occurred but Don maintains his contact with people. It is
not just fleeting friendships or contacts, he does and like
he did with you, member for Windermere, and others too. I
think that we can all take a leaf out of your book in the
way that you maintain contact with people and develop those
links with people that become, as you have experienced with
students you have helped here, you are now helping their children
and you are visiting those people and they have their families
and now it will be grandchildren next thing. Those links and
bonds are something that I think is in some ways unique to
you. I was looking for a key word in respect of when I think
of your qualities and a lot have been mentioned here so I
will not go over those. I think the word that came to me is
'consideration'. I think what you have is consideration for
other people. Their lives, the way that they live, how they
are developing, troubles and turmoils or the highlights of
their lives. You are considerate of their situation and you
are interested in people - you like people. I think that is
a powerful part of who you are.
Your qualities too in respect of coming back on the Floor
from being in the position of President: I think it was with
interest that people watched your situation where you decided
to come back on the Floor and how you would deal with that,
and if it would represent, as you suspected, an opportunity
to get up and speak and have your say on behalf of your constituents.
We have witnessed that. You have been a fantastic orator in
respect of the way that you present your debate and your contributions
to the debate. You do adopt the public speaker's motto of
making every word count.
I think it must be your lawyer's training but you are very
good with the use of the English language and we fully understand
where you are coming from and you do explain yourself quite
fully. In fact, I have a journalist friend who says that 'Don
is a clear speaker with the style of a statesman but it is
hell getting a 10-second grab out of him'.
Mr FINCH - We have appreciated watching your performances
back on the Floor and it has been wonderful to have had those.
We have gone through the list of your passions, the LGH, UTAS,
the Tamar River, road safety, your independence - and you
talk about it so often, probably not one here that you have
talked about but certainly in our community, the reinstatement
of the post office in Launceston, the retention of the Royal
Flying Doctor Service in the north, tourism, the Cataract
Gorge and of course another community project, another theatre
These are the things you do not just show a passing interest
in; you drive them, you follow them and we remember the strength
of your argument. I was quite surprised, though, in looking
at your inaugural speech going back to your discussion about
the numbers in this House.
Mr Wing - It changed completely.
Mr FINCH - Yes. It was interesting to read that, that your
thoughts have changed on it and it is good to see somebody
who has not held their ground on that and that you have been
prepared to change your thinking and express to us your opinion
and leave that implanted in our minds as we prepare for the
Dr Goodwin - Surely you have not forgotten AFL football?
Mr FINCH - No, I did not want to upset you.
Dr Goodwin - How could anyone forget AFL football?
Mr FINCH - It goes without saying. There is no need to even
mention it. I am looking forward very much to tonight and
the conviviality that will ensue in the farewell for you.
I am looking forward to sharing that time with you again but,
as the member for Elwick and others have mentioned, you will
be a great loss.
You are taking away nearly 30 years of corporate knowledge
and you are somebody we could seek advice from and follow
your example so you will be a great loss to this House. I
have really appreciated spending the last nine years with