Thursday 31 October
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Raymond William Shipp


[11.17 a.m.]
Mr FINCH (Rosevears)(by leave) - Mr President, I move -

That this Council expresses its profound regret at the death on 28 October 2019 of Raymond William Shipp, who from 1968 to 1982 was a member of the Legislative Council for the electoral division of Launceston, and places on record its sincere appreciation of his great service to this state.

And further, that the Council humbly and respectfully tenders to his family its deepest sympathy in their bereavement.

I will talk about Ray Shipp's service to us in the Legislative Council.  He served for 14 years in the Legislative Council as the independent member for Launceston, as you heard, from 1968 to 1982.  He is pictured in photograph No. 573 in the Long Room.

As the member for Launceston in the Council, he served on a number of standing and select committees, including as a deputy chairman of the Legislative Council, Chairman of the Joint House Standing Committee on Subordinate Legislation, a member of the Joint House Parliamentary Library Committee, the Printing Committee, and the Privileges Committee.

The select committees on which he represented strongly were Road Safety, (Alcohol and Drugs) Bill 1972; Tamar River Pollution; Murchison Highway Road Links to Arthur River; the Second-hand Motor Vehicles Bill 1974; Therapeutic Goods, Health Foods and Cosmetics; Ambulance Services; Hobart Passenger Bus and Ferry Services; Land Usage and Subdivisions in Rural Areas; Tourist Industry; Legislative Council Boundaries; and Transport Services.

He was very proud to be the Tasmania Parliamentary Delegate to Westminster in 1973.

I look now at his service to the Launceston City Council.  He was first elected to the council in 1985.  He served until 1986, was re-elected in 1994, was elected deputy mayor in 1996 to 1999, and retired in October 2011.

I note a comment made by the Mayor of the City of Launceston, Albert van Zetten, who said - 

Mr Shipp was hard-working, diligent, and always fought for the interests of ratepayers and the wider community.  He was always extremely supportive of council staff and the other elected representatives around the table.

I thank Virginia Shipp who provided me with a dossier of the activities and a biography of Ray Shipp.  He was in the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II.  He was the proprietor of several driving schools.  In the 1960s and 1970s he prepared, produced and compered his own weekly television program, Roadworthy, on Channel 9 about driver education.  He prepared, produced and compered his own radio programs over 15 years on 7LA and 7EX, also during the 1960s and the 1970s.

He received the Queen's Medal in 1977 for community service.  He was a Commissioner for Declarations and he was on a number of community committees, including Landcare, the Progress Association and Neighbourhood Watch.  He was a former member of the Tasmanian Thoroughbred Racing Council and president of the Northern Tasmanian Region of the Thoroughbred Owners Association.  He owned a dairy farm at Westbury for approximately five years and later owned a horse stud, Carrick House.  He played grade cricket for 20 years with the Northern Tasmanian Cricket Association, and he was a member of the South Launceston club and the Tasmanian Turf Club, which he served as treasurer.

To make a note of his work on the Launceston City Council, he was chairman of York Park at the time of its redevelopment, chairman of the Launceston City Council Tender Review Committee, deputy chairman of the York Park and Inveresk Precinct Authority and a member of the Upper Tamar River Improvement Authority.  He retired from the Launceston City Council in September 2011.

I refer to a speech made by Michael Polley in the lower House about the retirement of Ray Shipp in September 2011.  Mr Polley made this speech in parliament in October -

I feel it is only appropriate that I say a few words about his 27 years in public office.  A local boy, he grew up in Launceston, where he and his father, Bill, built their driving school.  Ray worked in the driver education business in Launceston, teaching new Australians and young people of Tasmania road safety and the correct attitude and responsibilities when driving.  Ray spent many of the following years giving driving tips and road safety advice on local television and radio. 

Ray was a member of the Legislative Council for the seat of Launceston from 1968 to 1982.  He then stood successfully for the Launceston City Council in 1985.  He was re-elected at each election thereafter.  Ray also held the position of Deputy Mayor from 1994 to 1999.  Ray's dedication to his council responsibilities has been unwavering.  I cannot overemphasise or overstate the contribution Ray has made to our community.

I also need to mention his wife, Gail.  I know she has been Ray's biggest supporter over the years and I would like to place on the public record my thanks - and I am sure I speak on behalf of our local community in thanking her - for her wonderful support to allow Ray to make the contribution he has over so many years ... 

You may be wondering why I have chosen to stand here tonight and speak about a local council alderman.  I believe Ray Shipp is a shining example to all of us.  Ray is a man who has devoted his life to the betterment of his city and surrounding area.  He has given his time to the community and he has been a voice on important issues for the people of Launceston.

In my opinion, Ray is a man who reminds us all that we are here for a very important purpose.  We are all representatives.  We are here to be the voice for the voiceless, to stand up for the marginalised and to always ensure that the best outcomes are achieved for our country and communities. 

As I said, Ray has made an outstanding contribution to our local community.  He was never politically aligned during his time as a legislative councillor.  He was an Independent, a true independent. ... Those genuine gentlemen are not always as obvious in our community as I think they ought to be.

Mr President, I am taking extracts from Mr Polley's speech -

He was renowned, as I said, for speaking up for our community, for being there, for being a very good listener, being able to contribute to the debate but to bring a common sense point of view to whatever debate he was participating in. 

Michael Polley quoted from an article by Martin Gilmour, a past editor of the Launceston Examiner -

To spend more than 20 years on the council, in addition to 14 years as an MLC for Launceston is an extraordinary commitment to civic duty by any measure. 

True to form, Ray's decision not to contest the next election was not based on any selfish motives nor is he in ill health.  Ray has decided to make way for someone new, because he has and always has had the best interests of the people of Launceston at heart.  Ray said it had occurred to him that if he was successful this election, the next time he was faced with the decision to stand or not, he would be almost 90 years of age.  He said - 'I thought it was probably time to make way for another person from Launceston who may have their eyes on a council career'.


It could be said that Ray is of the old school.  He was and is a true gentleman.  He has always been first and foremost a listener.  Then when he needed to make a contribution, it was always well thought out and relevant to the conversation, debate or discussion that he was participating in.

His long career added to these discussions, as he has an example or story for almost every situation.  His life experience enabled him to contribute and participate in the Launceston community with knowledge and experience like no other.

Those words came from Michael Polley when he a member of the House of Assembly in 2011.  Those thoughts were amplified to me by Ray Shipp's daughter, Virginia -

We were so proud of him when he got into Parliament in the Legislative Council in Hobart and then equally as proud when he was an alderman with the Launceston City Council.  His family will miss him taking any opportunity to give an impromptu speech.  At any occasion he would always grab it and say a few words, even in the hospital on a few occasions he would make a speech or at Christmas like he was in parliament again.  We're all going to miss him terribly.  It is the end of an era.  There won't be another Ray.

Mr Shipp leaves behind his wife Gail, his daughters Virginia and Adrienne, and son Andrew, along with his five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Ms Shipp said -

The community support during the last few days has been really comforting.  There won't be another Ray.  He was always so proud of all of us and anything we achieved.  He was so encouraging.

Vale, Ray Shipp.