Inaugural speech: 7 September 2022
Mr YOUNG (Franklin - Inaugural) - Mr Speaker, to use a sporting analogy, they say 'a week is a long time in football.' You could say an afternoon is a long time in politics
I should also apologise to the Premier when he rang to congratulate me, because after I had finished chasing my son around the room to get the phone that he decided to answer, I discovered that he had put the Premier on mute. I was pretty sure that by the end of the phone call I had convinced the Premier that he may be wrong. Thankfully he was not, and here I am, and very grateful to be here representing the people of Franklin. I am deeply honoured to have the opportunity and will work hard to make sure I am worthy of their trust.
I am thankful for the welcome to this House from all members. I especially appreciate and acknowledge all my fellow Liberals for their welcome of warmth, respect and genuine friendship for which I will be forever grateful.
Mr Speaker, prudence makes sure I thank one person above all else. To my wife, Allison, I love you. You are the reason I am able to do this. Allison is the most caring, fiercest and loyal person to all her family and friends, and also the loudest. To be honest, I am a little surprised I have not heard 'go Youngy,' yet as I often do around the sporting grounds of Tasmania. Allison, your support means everything to me and as usual you have taken this new adventure in your stride. Your strength and fire continues to push me to do more. Now, if only you would stop supporting Collingwood.
To my boys, I hope this journey inspires you to keep shooting for the moon. To James, who lives in the absolute - except when it comes to the time taken to brush his teeth - keep on arguing about being right. To Leo, who can often be heard before he is seen - do not let anyone silence your voice. To Geoffy - who missed out on SRC - keep on going because you never know where you might end up. After all, here I am.
It would be remiss of me not to pay tribute to my predecessor, the honourable Jacquie Petrusma. Mrs Petrusma has been an ally on this journey, always willing to impart some advice and help wherever possible. I have listened to the members of this House praise Mrs Petrusma so I was wondering about the best way to describe her contribution. In the end, I have gone back to Mrs Petrusma's own maiden speech, and I am quoting here:
We can all agree that Mrs Petrusma has lived up to that promise. I wish her well in whatever is next.
I think Mr Ferguson was a bit upset that he no longer had someone to share his birthday with. However, in what could only be described as a Tasmanian quirk of fate, I also share the same birthday, so Mr Ferguson you will have to share your birthday with me. You can figure out who is older.
My parents grew up in the valley of love, the great town of New Norfolk. They worked hard to give their children the best life they could. They gave me a childhood of great laughter and life. Having left school at an early age, my father is one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Some day I will be able to match his efforts, just not quite yet. I can safely say that this upbringing has showed me the value of hard work, making sacrifices for your family and serving the community. Despite how busy they were, there were always times for family; always time for a bit of cricket or football; always time to help the neighbour or family. My parents are an inspiration to me. If my boys grow up to be half the man my father is, I will be a very proud man.
Even though I met them later in life, I would also like to pay tribute to Allison's parents - Helen and Bill. Although we lost Bill a few months ago, the things he has taught my children will stay with them for life. I was debating about whether to put in a mother-in-law joke at this point, but thought better of it. Helen is always there when we need her and spoils her grandkids, although as a grandparent's right, maybe just a little too much.
I have probably been a little more familiar about my family than normal; however, that is a big part of who I am. One of the reasons why I am doing this is to help keep Tasmania the greatest place in the world to grow up and live. Allison and I have always tried to teach our boys the value of family and friendships and the value of being part of the community of helping where you can.
I was very lucky to have a settled childhood. I have great friends, some of whom I have known since grade 3. As I have previously said, my father left school at a young age. This is probably one of the reasons that going to university was always part of his plans for me, my brother and sister. I can still remember my father's dismay when I told him that I wanted to do woodworking in year 12. I later realised it may have been because he knew I was never destined to be a tradie and maybe having a saw or drill in my hand was not the best idea. I have become better over the years, although I am still not as useful as my wife.
After university, I moved to Sydney at the ripe old age of 21 and had a great time in the big city. However, it confirmed my love of Tasmania and that Tasmania will forever be the best place in the world to raise a family. We have the best of everything here, including people.
I have been in and around small business from the first time my parents purchased one with my uncle and family. I can still remember riding my bike to my cousin's house, via a video store - Mr Ellis, I will explain to you what a video is later on - to amuse ourselves for the day while our parents worked. Mr Speaker, if you need to know which version of the Carry On movies, Jaws, or our personal favourites the Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer movies, to watch, I can certainly point you in the right direction.
I have been involved in small business for most of my life. Small business can be a great life, but never let it be said it is always an easy one. When it is just you, it can be a lonely place, but small business people are an amazing lot - inventive, inspirational and imaginative. We have to be when you need to get something done.
I know my good friends in Braddon often say that theirs is the engine room of the state but I would argue that small business is the ignition that gets the engine moving. One of the great things about being in small business is the part you play in people's lives and they in yours. Watching a young person either still in school or just left start their first job keen but raw. Watching them blossom into adulthood, becoming confident young people, getting their licence, their first partner - sometimes the break-up - and then even leave for another job. They become part of the family; people who you want to succeed. You are proud of your small part in it.
It also shows to me the power of a job. The way a young person comes out of their shell, learns to interact and grows is an amazing thing to see. We need to have jobs, we need our jobs, businesses and industry to remain strong. This in turn helps our communities to remain strong. Businesses, and in particular small business, should be praised for their contribution to keep Tasmania moving.
Through my wife and then my children, I cannot emphasise more the value of education, especially early in life. Helping kids to learn, laugh, be inquisitive, jump in puddles, and just to love life: if we can encourage our kids to be lifelong learners, to keep on getting up after being knocked down, we are setting them up to succeed.
We have a saying in my family: how do we get better? The answer is practice. I am here as proof that if you keep coming back, good things happen.
Sport has been an amazing part of my life. Sporting clubs provide a great sense of community and friendship. At one stage, probably like many, I felt I was destined to play cricket for Australia, until I watched the great Tasmanian cricketer Mr Roger Woolley practice. He quickly disabused that notion. From then on, cricket was more about fun and friendship, something I am happy to say ensured a great love of sport and appreciation of what goes into sporting clubs. The volunteers behind the scenes should never be forgotten, and the ability to stretch a dollar is unmatched.
These are just a couple of things that I am passionate about in my life, passionate because I want my children to grow up in a Tasmania to be proud of, to value the community they live in, which just so happens to be the best in the state: Franklin.
I have some other people to thank in this journey of mine. Firstly, Mr Graham Matthews, who was always there, happy to provide advice without fear or favour, whether wanted or not. Mr Ross Copping, the long-time electorate chair of Clark, who was good enough to have a coffee with me and help guide me through the first campaign, when I really had no idea what I was doing. Mr Felix Ellis and Mr Simon Wood were two of the first people I went doorknocking with in that election, and it makes me very happy to join them here as colleagues and friends. I cannot imagine that any of us on that first few days thought this would be the case.
The next person I would like to acknowledge is one of the great people of Franklin, Mr Paul Harriss, who agreed to meet up and have a chocolate with someone he had never met before and that shows the measure of the man. I am only one of many who has benefited from his help and guidance. The fact that I now count him as a good friend means that was probably one of the best hot chocolates I ever bought in my time.
I feel compelled to tell a story of Mr Harriss at this point. I was trying to find some sign sites with Mr Harriss - we know how hard that can be - and we were knocking on doors in the Huon area. People would open up the door with a look of 'who is this turkey on my front door disturbing me?' Then they would look over and see Paul and their whole demeanour would change. We were welcomed like long-lost family and nothing was a problem. Then as we left Mr Harriss would proceed to tell me what great people they were. This went on from door to door. Thank you, Paul, for both your friendship and help. Long may it continue. He also had the good forethought to give his son an excellent first name.
Mr Will Coates competed in that first pre-selection with me. While he missed out at that time, he put aside his disappointment and proceeded to help me through the last few weeks of that campaign, something at the time I sorely needed. I am sure that everyone in this House has felt the effort and toll towards the end of a campaign. I thank Will and wish him good luck moving forward.
While there are far too many other people to name, because it really does take a team, some who have helped me through each campaign are Clark Cooley, Rob Mallett, and Paul Taranto for helping me run a campaign; my electorate chairs over the period; Michael McKenna and Brendan Blomeley; I am now pleased to say my fellow politicians, the honourable Nic Street, the honourable Jacquie Petrusma, senators for Tasmania Jon Duniam and Claire Chandler, and former senator Eric Abetz. To my fellow Liberals, especially those in Franklin, I thank them for their support. While we sometimes disagree, we do it in the knowledge that we are trying to uphold the beliefs of the Liberal Party. I will continue to do my best for that in everything I do.
What brought me to this place could well be simply a matter of 'right place, right time'. I happened to be watching television late one night when a federal politician, who shall remain nameless, was talking - as I am sure happens often, Mr Speaker. I may have been calling him a few unkind names whilst yelling at the TV. Allison, while possibly calling him the same names I was, pointed out, 'Shut up and do something about it', all the while leaving the room, of course. Serendipity happened at that exact moment and I received an email from the Liberal Party asking for expressions of interest to be a candidate at the next election. They say never do things in anger, but in this case I am glad I replied. I would like to point out to my wife, Allison, that it is really her guidance that got us here.
What do I want for Tasmania, Mr Speaker? I want us to keep reaching for the stars, keep on believing that Tasmanians can do anything - we should never forget that. We have some amazing people and ideas in Tasmania and while we should be immensely proud of what we have achieved so far, it really is just the beginning. I am hoping to play some small part in providing that inspiration, and if I can get just one child to believe they can do anything, my job will be done.
Why the Liberal Party? Initially, it was because that is just who we voted for. As you become more involved, you look for a deeper meaning, and I am pleased to say that the more I searched, the more I felt I belonged. I will go through a couple of beliefs that have really resonated with me over time. We believe in the individual. We stand positively for the free man, his initiative, his individuality and acceptance of responsibility.
I strongly believe in the power of individuality and the ability to express that individuality. By recognising the individual, you give that person the ability to take charge of their life, to not be shackled, but it does come with great responsibility because if you accept the individual you must take great care for other people.
We believe in the great human freedoms: freedom to worship, to think, to speak, to choose to be ambitious, to be independent, to be industrious, to acquire skill, to seek and earn reward. This has become even more relevant to me since I have become a parent. I want not only my children but all the children of Tasmania to, as my father would often say, 'have a go'. I want to be part of a society that encourages those children, encourages the thought that they can do anything, do not wait, be industrious, seek out the next challenge.
I feel it is important enough to once again thank Allison for everything she does for our family. I would be lost without you.
Lastly, I have been reading many maiden speeches trying to find the right way to finish off. Maybe I can start a new tradition for Franklin because I think the words are fitting. I will end with Mrs Petrusma's promise and reaffirm it as my own - I commit from the outset to be a hard-working member for all of the electorate of Franklin. Being a genuine listener as well as understanding the concerns and aspirations of my community is my promise.
Members - Hear, hear.