Wednesday 13 June 2018

Hansard of the Legislative Council

Dr Vanessa Goodwin

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, I do not want to say too much, because a lot of it has been covered.  I particularly appreciated the Vicar's discussion about her.  How lucky he was to have had such a long association with her, and not just during the times we shared with our parliamentary duties.  But, yes, she was a very, very special person.  I regarded her as a really good friend.  It was not really about the politics of things; it was about how we get the job done.  She will end up getting a good name for politicians, the way she conducted herself.

It was good to be associated with somebody of her very high calibre, with the way she conducted herself with people from all shades of politics, always with that very quiet smile she had and always a terrific sense of humour.  Even when she was under the pump in a lot of ways, you would know being a former leader, and you would know being the Leader now the pressure in that circumstance.  Yet, here she was as attorney-general, minister for justice and corrections and arts and all sorts of things she was involved in, yet you did not get the sense that she hurried when she dealt with you.
There was never a frown.  There was never anything off-putting about her nature.  The way she conducted herself shows she was a wonderful person to be around and involved with.  Socially, of course, she was always up for it.  If there was an opportunity to socialise, to be part of a group, like the bike rides she was always encouraging me to come along and join in - of course, I was not in a position to do that, but she was very encouraging.

I have my own personal memories that will live on with me.

Ms Rattray - She actually even suggested I go on one of the bike rides.  I mean, I nearly died at the thought of it.

Mr FINCH - Perish the thought.  But I think my terrific memory of her was when we were doing the tourism study and we went to Sydney and Melbourne and over to New Zealand.  You were on the committee, but did not join us for the trip.  You would have really enjoyed it.  It was great fun, although we did considerable work.  We presented a good report, and learnt so much from New Zealand we were able to present in the report.  I am sure she prosecuted much of what we saw over there, and what ended up in the report, with the Liberal Government - I am sure she kept that information to the front of her mind.

I will never forget that we were in the city square when the Christchurch earthquake occurred.  We were there three days before the second earthquake, and were going on a tram trip.  The tram was about 400 metres away, and myself, Vanessa and Don Wing were there, and somebody had to stop the tram.  Don took off at 100 miles an hour.  You had to see him run.  Don would have been, at that stage, at least 70 years of age and he took off after the tram.  We collapsed into fits of laughter watching.  Who would care whether we caught that tram or not?  Yet Don was so insistent on that being the one.  Vanessa and I would often recall it so many times - the time Don Wing chased after the tram.  We shared many moments like that.

I always appreciated the way Vanessa conducted business here, always trying to be accommodating.  When she was trying to bang the lectern et cetera, it just did not ring true.  She was really acting a part and was trying her best to look dominant and wanting to stress her point, but it did not work.  It was not in her nature to be a forceful person, but she conducted her business really well and I appreciated that she was able to take on so much responsibility and do it with such good humour.

I remember calling on her when I wanted to discuss elder abuse.  She made the trip to Launceston to meet some constituents and they had a long discussion about that.  She accommodated me.  There was another time we had problems with the wombats in the Narawntapu.  She came to investigate and the government gave a grant to the people at Kelso who were working on the issue.  She was very quiet, did not say anything, but went about the business of understanding the issue and looking to resolve it.  As has been mentioned before, Vanessa worked quietly on issues.  She did not bang the drum and did not have to pump up her own tyres.
Just on the accolades, I have a raft of words to describe the type of person she was.  We all know those qualities she had, that we wish we had in the same abundance Vanessa had.  She was quite an exemplar for the work we do and the type of people we need in Tasmania, who are going to be successful because they set such a good example for we should behave and how we should conduct ourselves.  We will not always reach the Vanessa bar, but it is a good thing to strive for.

The other memory is coffee.  She had to have her two coffees a day, every day.  When I first met her, I could not understand it, 'What is all this about coffee?', but thanks to her I am now addicted to coffee and have to have my two coffees a day.  An exemplar in our society, a wonderful person.  We have good memories to go on with.