Hansard of the
MICHAEL HODGMAN AM, QC
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I want
to make a couple of reflections on Michael Hodgman. When I first came to parliament 11 years ago, he
was the one who was most welcoming to me here in the House. I had dealt with
him a couple of times in my previous career with the ABC so we knew each other.
He made me feel very welcome and it was pleasing to reacquaint myself with him
when I came down here. It was sad to
watch his slow demise as a parliamentarian here with emphysema, which is not a
good journey. My dad died of emphysema
so I know the journey and it was not a good one, particularly to see someone as
gregarious, outgoing and ebullient as Michael Hodgman to suffer that fate.
Hodgman began his parliamentary career here, in this House, in 1966. The civilising influence of this House
equipped him well for his further endeavours in other lower places. Not many of
us would contemplate that move - some might be at the moment, I don't know -
but Michael Hodgman made that move to federal politics and made it successfully
with a very long parliamentary career which helped make him even better known.
I would argue
that the other side of Michael Hodgman's character that formed as a Queen's
Counsel defending ordinary people perhaps contributed even more to his
popularity. It certainly gave him a deep understanding of that different part
of our community and contributed to his demonstrable sense of compassion
towards people from all walks of life. I
believe that Michael Hodgman's two careers as a parliamentarian and as a senior
barrister were the keys to his personality that made him so well loved in
In many ways
he was a conservative and a traditionalist but he was as equally at home, as
was described to me, in the Navy Club or at Knopwood's bar. He had an expression of 'Kick Labor up the
bracket'. I reckon if he was in Knopwoods bar, he would say 'Kick Labor up the
There were two
elements to his character. I was talking
recently with the former member for Launceston, Don Wing, about Michael
Hodgman. I know Mr Wing is in Melbourne and I called this morning to talk about
some reflections that he might have and I wish to share those with you. He
described Michael Hodgman as 'a wonderful orator and prone to using extravagant
language'. Don and Michael studied the same year at university and were friends
up until his death.
that Michael did some remarkable work during the 1967 bushfires and he endeared
himself very much to the Tasmanian community through that. In 1974 Don approached him to stand federally
for the Liberal Party. He related to me
that Michael did not want to stand for Franklin, where he had done so much of
his good work, but preferred to stand for Denison. Then Bruce Goodluck was approached to stand
for Franklin and both were elected and became that very high-profile duo that
we loved, representing Tasmania. As with
anything with Michael Hodgman, he represented us with passion and pride, and
the member for Huon used the words 'he was a warrior' for the interests of
Tasmanians as a whole.
He was always
a very cheerful and good person, treating everybody as equal. He was always prepared to give help to those
who sought it.
These are Don
Wing's reflections: he was eloquent and a great advocate, readily accessible to
his constituents. Don recalled a couple
of amusing anecdotes, and the member for Windermere might recall this story. When he was cross-examining a witness whom he
was satisfied was lying, he said, 'Witness, do you know what happens to people
who lie on oath?' and the witness replied, 'Yes, you go to hell'. Michael said, 'Ah, yes, but you go via Risdon
Michael was in
the Naval Reserve and he was in parliament once resplendent in his white naval
uniform. He was in the corridors of the
Legislative Council and he ran into the late George Brookes. George said in
amazement, 'Good God, Michael, is this a fancy dress party or are we at war?'
Don Wing last
saw Michael five weeks ago when he visited Vaucluse Manor. His condition was serious and Michael hoped
that he could live until his son, Will, became premier. He said he wished the election could be held
earlier. Sadly, he did not make it but
Don knows that in spirit he will be with Will every step of the way at the next
state election and when he becomes premier.
Don says he
was a decent bloke and people always talked about his magnificent qualities,
flamboyant at times, and did not shun publicity and was very entertaining.
thinking about Michael's involvement in boxing - I am not sure whether he was a
Dr Goodwin - He was a referee but also an
undefeated amateur boxer.
Mr FINCH - I sent a message to our most
famous boxing identity, Daniel Geale, this morning and he sent a message back
to say -
extremely sad to hear of the passing of Michael. He was a great guy in boxing.
I first remember Michael when I was about 14 -
and this will
ring true with you -
He gave me so
much advice and encouraged me in and out of the ring.
Daniel Geale's recollection of Michael Hodgman. He has touched people from all
walks of life right across the community.
I also pass on my condolences to Will and to all the family of Michael Hodgman.