Wednesday 28 October 2015
Hansard of the Legislative Council


Special Interest Matters


Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I remember coming into parliament 13 years ago.  When I came in 13 years ago I sat there next to you, as the Chair of Committees, trying to soak up what occurred here and where opportunities were created, not only for me to do the work as a legislator but also to project my electorate and the affairs of my electorate and the things that I do, or that the people in my electorate do, into parliament.  I noticed this segment of special interest, and I thought, 'What is this all about?'.  I listened carefully and thought that is an opportunity for me to talk about my electorate, as others noticeably use it that way. 
From my own background, it is not difficult for me to find those stories and to highlight those to you.  I look at the aspect also of using it to promote the Legislative Council back in my community.  I do not know if you realise, but I take a copy of what I do on the Thursdays.  I have that topped and tailed and dressed up and put that onto Twitter and Facebook.  I get fabulous responses from it.  I also distribute that to the people I talk about, the organisations I talk about, to the council, to people who may have an interest in that and they disseminate that.  They re-post it.
I see that as an opportunity for me, I suppose, yes, for self‑promotion.  It is about promoting me and my electorate.  That is part of my job representing my community, to tell the stories of my community.  Okay, I get kudos from it, but I also think that the people I talk about and the organisations I talk about and my electorate get kudos as well from the way that I conduct myself with special interest.  That is why you can tell that I am quite keen to take up that opportunity every time I can.  I have no difficulty in finding stories from my electorate.  I am sure that interesting people and interesting things are going on all over Tasmania at any given time.  There are great stories out there because it is such a great place to live.
This development that we have is opportune.  As I am starting to connect with our new EA for the President, it is filling up.  When I started making my contributions, sometimes I was the only one speaking.  Sometimes there would be two, sometimes three, very seldom four, during my first decade of delivering the speeches.  The members here are now realising that it is a valuable opportunity for us to salute what is going on in our electorates and people are using it.  Now, when I go to book in, oh no, it is full up.  I missed out on a speech two weeks ago because it was full up.  If you check now, it is full up.  It is full up until Thursday.  If you even check for our next sitting, it is full up. 
That is terrific, and it is great that people are seeing that opportunity to project the Legislative Council back into the community.  We are always looking for those opportunities to make sure the Legislative Council can get recognition wherever we can.
Mr Dean - What about it eating into Tuesday though, at private members.
Mr FINCH - Yes, that is an interesting development.  I would support that because that is really what it represents.  We have had the debate.  If we have a look at where we are finishing on Tuesdays of recent times, since the new Leader is here, we are finishing quite early.  Some people would say okay, that prepares us for government business, gives us time for government business on Wednesday and Thursday, sure.  If we have a motion that is very strong and worthy of strong debate, why wouldn't we take a break at dinner time and use some of the evening time to conclude our business of private members' day?
I do not have a problem with that.  It is appropriate to be on a Tuesday.  I like the increase to six, and I hope the Standing Orders Committee have the evidence they need to stick with that, or if the evidence is that it is not working, so be it, desist with the idea.  I support the motion.