Wednesday 13 November 2013

Hansard of the Legislative Council







Mr FINCH (Rosevears)- Mr President, apologies to members, I know it has been a long day, but I just want to talk briefly about a special moment for Tasmanian cricket and a couple of very special young fellows, George Bailey and James Faulkner.

Mr President, through today it has caused me to reflect on the Tasmanian cricket journey and one that I know you would know well from being a former Tasmanian cricket player, particularly at the time that Jack Simmons from Lancashire guided our fortunes and also nurtured the great talent of David Boon.

I fast-track to recent times and when we think of cricket, we think of David Boon, but we also think of Ricky Ponting. You may have seen a couple of guests that I had in tonight, Trevor and Sue Clarke. Trevor played football with Ricky's dad, Graeme Ponting, and Ricky used to come to the football. He said that when Exeter lost to George Town in the grand final, Ricky Ponting, about this high, about three years of age, cried his eyes out. Dad could not have worried, but Ricky Ponting just loved the thought of being a winner. We think of cricket and the healthy state we are in here in Tasmania with Ben Hilfenhaus, Xavier Doherty, Tom Triffitt, who has gone to Western Australia but played so well for Tasmania, and Alex Doolan, the son of Bruce, who you played with for Tasmania.

I want to salute George Bailey first. He is Tasmania's 436th Australian test cricketer, and the oldest Australian batting debutante since Jeff Moss back in 1978 - he was 31 years of age as well. Nine years ago, George Bailey was awarded the inaugural Sir Robert Menzies' Memorial Scholarship chosen by the Cricket Australia panel from a pool of male and female cricketers around the country, for his ability as a player then, and his credentials as a future leader. Cricket Australia executive James Sutherland at that time said, 'Cricket is a game of character and we commend George Bailey not only for his potential as a player but his fine characteristics as a leader'.

George Bailey at 31 knows he has this great shot with the baggy green cap, and I like the way he thinks. He says that you have to, first, make the most of it, second, enjoy it, and third, do it the way you know you can. Of course, this is his big chance and he is as excited as anyone to see how he measures up in this contest.

I might also mention John Bailey, his father, whom I spoke with today. John was the cricket coach at Launceston Church Grammar School as George made his way through the school, and, as some parents might recognise, it can be a rather invidious position, and challenging, to contribute to a team when your own children are involved. John says that he and George never had an argument. He always wanted to get better and was a very good listener. So, great qualities.

They, John and mum Carmen, still speak with George virtually every day and it is not always about cricket. It has been a good progression for George, playing for Tasmania, captain of Tasmania, playing for Australia A, captain of the Australian Twenty20 team, the one-day side, then Australian captain for the recent Indian tour with a poultice of runs for Australia. It seems like a normal progression, but he has made it to the Holy Grail - the baggy green cap as an Australian test player.

I also want to mention that I spoke with James Faulkner's dad today as well. He spoke highly of the Norwood Primary School and also the Launceston Grammar School. He said they are equally important in relation to his boy's development as a cricketer and a person. He said they are both outstanding institutions. James learnt his cricket in the backyard, night after night, ball after ball. His father, Peter, gave up when he was about 12 or 14 because he could not get him out any more and he bowled too fast. Peter, of course, was a representative for Australia, so was able to teach him what to expect when he became a representative, but he says that James is driven - he is totally committed to his team mates and always sacrifices his game for the team. He is a great representative and he hates losing - good qualities to have.

In conclusion, I salute these exemplary young Tasmanians at a special moment in both their lives, the lives of their mums and dads, and for us Tasmanians as we share what lies ahead of them during this Ashes series. I say 'Well done' to George Bailey and to James Faulkner.

Members - Hear, hear.