Tuesday 26 March 2020
Hansard of the Legislative Council
Member for Rosevears – Farewell
Member for Huon - Forthcoming Election
Ms FORREST (Murchison) - Mr President, I rise to speak on adjournment because we will not return until the end of August. I am unsure of plans for the Legislative Council elections, but it may be that this is the member for Rosevears' last sitting day with us. While he looks very happy about that, it is important we acknowledge the long contribution of the member for Rosevears in this place, in case it is the last time we sit with him in our Chamber.
I thank him for his commitment to this place, to his constituents and to working really hard. I am sure, after the crisis we are facing in this state passes, we will take the opportunity to have a soirée where someone will duly roast him. These are awkward circumstances we find ourselves in. I acknowledge the member's contribution to this place, his friendship and all the things we value highly in this place - his work on the legislative reform we have had, and the support he has provided me in this place in many of the measures I have tried to progress.
The member for Huon is not in the Chamber but he is also facing an election during the coming period. If that goes ahead, I wish him all the best, as we do all honourable members who are facing elections. It is always a stressful time.
As we go back to our electorates, it is going to be a difficult time. Many people are frightened; many people are already suffering and will suffer further, and we need to be very cognisant of that and take every opportunity we can to be kind to everyone. Our supermarket and pharmacy staff and other staff who hold vital roles, including our healthcare staff, teachers and childcare workers, are suffering abuse at the moment because people are stressed. We need to be role models in our community and to go out of our way to thank and acknowledge the people who are serving us, people who are at the front line of this, particularly our health professionals.
None of us has been there and none of us understands the pressure they are under at the moment, so let us be kind and respectful, and make sure that whatever we put out in the media - social media, out of our mouths or in any way we might put something out there - is accurate, factual and is based on evidence and research and that we model the behaviour we want others to abide by. It is going to be tough. It is going to be really hard. I have found it extremely hard to keep up with the number of requests I get every morning through Facebook Messenger, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, telephone this last two weeks. I have found it difficult to consider this legislation we have had to deal with because of that pressure.
Many people perhaps hammer my inbox because of my health background, but I want all of us to step up and practice that behaviour. Wash your hands; stay at home; not go out unless you have to. Support our constituents but, most of all, be kind - please, be kind. This is a really tough time. I am a bit frightened, too, because I know what this can do, so please, be kind.
Statement by President - Adjournment Speeches
Mr PRESIDENT - Honourable members, I will allow a little levity because this is adjournment. I appreciate that there are certain rules for adjournment speeches. We have had some new information presented to us, which is the recall date of parliament. If members wish to make a short address on adjournment, rise in your seats before we call for adjournment.
Ms RATTRAY (McIntyre) -, Mr President, thank you very much for allowing this to occur. I also add my thoughts and wishes to member for Rosevears, the honourable Kerry Finch, who, as the member for Murchison said, has been a colleague and he has certainly been a friend. I do not know who will organise Thursday night dinners from now on, but I am sure somebody will step up to the plate when we get back to some sort of normality.
In my time in this place, I have sat next to the honourable member a couple of times, but even when I was not sitting directly beside him or close by, he always scored me on my contributions. Out of 10, Mr President.
Mr PRESIDENT - You are not the only one.
Ms RATTRAY - At times I did not get a very good score. I asked him yesterday: How did I go? What did you score me? He elevated my score considerably, so I am very impressed that I have been able to meet his high standard of contribution in this place – somewhat. I will never get
there because I do not have the theatrics, but I was certainly very heartened by the score he gave me yesterday.
As much as anything, I have certainly appreciated the opportunity to work with him and go through those on-drinking and off-drinking years; they have always been interesting.
On behalf of my electorate and the whole of Tasmania, I thank him for his wonderful service. I wish him all the best in whatever he decides to do - probably going back to Deviot and working in that garden or making that cottage worth another $100 000 when the next valuation takes place. Whatever he chooses, we wish him all the best.
To the member for Huon - yes, it is a nervous time, as we know, when you are up for re‑election. Once you get into this place, you realise what an honour and a privilege it is and you just want to stay here. We know that everyone wants to be re-elected so I wish him all the best. It is a difficult time to be campaigning in.
To all the candidates, as well as the honourable member - certainly those who will be standing for Rosevears - all the best in their endeavours to become a member of this place.
I endorse the words of the member for Murchison: stay safe, look after your communities, be kind to each other and be kind to yourselves as well.
Mr VALENTINE (Hobart) - Mr President, I also endorse the comments of the member for Murchison. Even though politicians are not necessarily the highest people on the list when it comes to respect from the community, given some of the statements made from time to time, they do look up to politicians to lead. I think the important thing is that we do lead, and that we lead by example and make ourselves available. There will be members of the community who need our advocacy in many ways, whether it is in business or in the situations they find themselves in.
It may be that we cannot provide the answers for them, but we can put them onto the people that can and we can put them onto the services that may be able to help them. At this time, it behoves us to get our minds across what services are available, as individual members, and to direct members of the public to the relevant service.
I wish every member well during this time. It will not be easy. If you get to the point of self‑isolating, I wish you well in that too because operating from home is not always the easiest thing when you are a representative of the people, or are here to help people out.
We can beat this. We really can - and Tasmania has an extra special opportunity, given the fact it is an island.
I turn my mind to the member for Rosevears. I have lost a lot of weight over the last few weeks because I have not been able to go out to lunch with the honourable member, for him to lead me astray. It is quite obvious that is the effect he has had on me. I thank him for his friendship, as much as his service. He always has an interesting point of view. Sometimes he gets up to the podium and loses it, and that is fantastic to watch, because you never know what is coming.
It will be an interesting period for him. He will miss the place, I am sure. He will miss the members. We will keep an eye on your Facebook page. All the best to both you and Carole. I am sure Carole will really appreciate having some extra time to order you around, and get you to do this and that - all those things you have not done, because you have been spending too long in this place. You have a great captain there to help steer you forward, as you think about what you might or might not do.
I also acknowledge the member for Huon, who is not in the Chamber at the moment. We wish the member for Huon, and other candidates who are standing for election, all the best during the election campaign. It is hard, especially when you have social distancing in place. It is not easy when you are running for an election, knocking on doors and trying to connect with people, so I do wish him well.
I thank the Leader for the job she has done, especially during this whole emergency scenario with the legislation. All the best.
Mr PRESIDENT - I remind honourable members, we do have a time frame. We do not want to have to come back after the lunch break to adjourn. If I can revert to my old television days, that is the wind-up signal. If it gets to that, you are in big trouble.
Ms LOVELL (Rumney) - Mr President, I will bear that in mind. I will speak briefly. I am sure this will not be the only opportunity we have to do this, given the unexpectedness with which this has come about.
I wish all the best to the member for Rosevears. I have a great deal of respect for the honourable member and for his contributions to this place. He has served his community for a very long time. Retirement is always a big adjustment, but I hope it proves to be a positive adjustment for you, and wish you and your family all the best into the future.
I also want to wish the member for Huon well for his election. As others have said, campaigning, like everything we are doing at the moment, we are doing in circumstances that we have not dealt with before. I cannot imagine what that is like for him and for other candidates, and I wish him all the best in moving forward. Again, we do not know what the future is going to look like over the coming months.
I also acknowledge the Leader for the work she has done this week. For all of us, it has been a very strange week, and it is a very surreal feeling to be adjourning for a lengthy period in very different circumstances to which we normally do this.
I wish everyone well, and your families and loved ones. Keep safe, stay home, follow all the advice, and we will see you when we return.
Mr DEAN (Windermere) - Mr President, I also want to thank the member for Rosevears for his companionship. He has been a great colleague and a great person within this parliament with his contributions, and the way he has gone about his business. He certainly gets wound up from time to time, and that is great - but I am not quite sure how we are going to go with our interest features from this time on. It is going to create some problems, but I want to say that the member for Rosevears was the very first person to speak to me when I decided to stand for parliament a few years ago now. He may not recall it, but I remember having a session with him in his office in Henty House at that time. I very much appreciate that, and I appreciate the comforting words he was able to impart to me at that time.
Mr Finch - Don't do it.
Mr DEAN - Yes. He regretted it perhaps. We have had fairly close contact with family and so on as well over that time, and we help each other out, which has been great. I wish you all the very best moving forward, Kerry. I know you will not be hanging your boots up. You will be moving on to other things you will get a lot of enjoyment out of.
Ms Forrest - He will not be shy in retiring.
Mr DEAN - No, I do not think so, and I do not think he will go from that year to year with alcohol and so on. I am not sure what will happen there.
Mr President, having said that, I wish the member for Huon all the very best in the election as well. It is a tough time for all candidates standing now, because of their inability to get out and sell themselves. It is a hard time for them, so I wish him all the very best.
We are in extremely tough times, there is no doubt about that.
I made a statement during the Committee stages of the bill in relation to coronavirus, and the virus attaching to concrete. That information came through to me from some constituents in the Launceston area. I will follow that up to see whether it is factual, but we know the virus does adhere to metal surfaces. The comment I made was not unparliamentary. I did not withdraw it, and I was not going to, but I will follow up on that to ensure whether it is factual.
Everyone, enjoy yourselves over the next period the best way you can, with the isolation that is necessary for all of us.
Leader, thank you for what you have done, and your staff as well. Obviously a lot of work and pressure on Mandy at the back there as well, and all of our staff. Thank you all very much.
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, I thank the Leader as well, and Mandy and Will and all the staff. It has been a pretty hard week for the Leader.
To the member for Rosevears who fell off the wagon last night in his non-drinking year - he had a whisky.
Mr Finch - Two.
Ms ARMITAGE - Two whiskies -
Mr Finch - A fairly generous two, I might add.
Ms ARMITAGE - One bottle was almost empty, so I think you had to go to the second.
I wish the member all the best in retirement. Who knows? It might not be this year. Depending on when the election is, you might be back here in August, so we might still see you. I am not sure whether it is commiserations to Carole. She will certainly have her hands full having you home, after having you away for so much. Like the member for Windermere, I am sure you will find something to occupy yourself, and you will not be idle. It will not be the last time that the member for Windermere or I see you, because we share an office at Henty House and we can certainly meet the requirements of 4 square metres. We have enough room - our offices are far apart - so I am sure I will see you again.
I wish the member for Huon all the best. I believe we will see him back here. These are obviously very difficult times for people with elections. It is hard enough when you can actually get out there and about, but when you can only rely on things like social media, it certainly makes it difficult. I wish him all the best, and all the members as well.
As the member for Murchison said: keep safe, stay home, work from home. At our office in Henty House, it is fairly easy for us to work in isolation because our offices are fairly spaced apart. Even with the meeting rooms, if we happen to have videoconferencing, we can certainly sit around the table at quite a distance apart. It is probably not so easy for other members, but for us to work it is quite good.
To everyone and their families, I wish that you are all safe, that you all stay safe, and when we get back here - hopefully in August - that everyone is here, and that things are back to a form of normality. I wish all members all the best.
Mr WILLIE (Elwick) - Mr President, I want to wish the honourable member for Rosevears all the best. I really appreciated his generous advice when I arrived here as a rough-and-ready young pup. I have always heeded that advice, and I hope I have improved. We will certainly miss him and I hope he enjoys his retirement with his family. It is well deserved. He has made a strong contribution, not only to his constituents but also to the whole state.
I also wish the member for Huon, who is not in the Chamber, all the best for his election campaign.
Honourable Leader, we have had our differences at times, but you have done a very good job this week under extraordinary circumstances. Along with you, all members here are very worried about what may unfold.
I cannot sleep; I am waking up at 4 o'clock in the morning with thoughts racing through my head. We all have strong connections in the community, too, who will be on the front line of this. Very close friends of mine will be directly involved in the wards when it hits. I have been in communication with them - essential workers, very strong people. I am particularly worried about the vulnerable families in our communities and what this means to them. I hope we get through it. We will get through it, and I will see you all back here in August.
Mr GAFFNEY (Mersey) - Mr President, the longer I speak, the less time I will allow the honourable member to have a few words. Very quickly, 18 years in any role is to be applauded, especially one where you have so much conviction in the role you undertake, and the responsible way in which you approach your work.
I dare say, if you were re-standing, you would be re-elected, and for the person who will be taking your place, I hope they come in being as socially progressive and independent of thought. That is really important here. I am not overly concerned whether they are a member of a party, as long as you have that independence in the way you approach every bill. You really do command an audience when you get up to speak. You then speak, and it wavers a bit, but then you stand, and we will always enjoy the first spot, for the special interest speech will always be the Kerry Finch moment.
Best of luck to you and Carole. You are a true gentleman in this place. You do your job very well, you will be sorely missed - best of luck.