2018 Valedictory Speech
Read my 2018 Valedictory Speech below, or watch it here.
I am grateful to have this opportunity to review the past 12 months as the local member for Yerrabi. As the shadow minister for sport and recreation, I am going to ask for your indulgence to review my performance and that of my team using some oarsome sporting puns. Bear with me.
The year 2018 has been a season of ups and downs, but I am going to say up and ups. As the local member for Yerrabi, I am blessed to have the captain and the leader of the Canberra Liberals as a teammate out there fighting for local residents and issues. For me, fighting for local small business has been a major focus, showing the devastating impact that light rail has had on our businesses for over two years, affecting growth, jobs and investment. I will keep attention on this issue and make sure the hardship experienced by those traders is not forgotten and is not experienced by any future businesses because of this government’s actions.
Equally, the non-stop and poorly planned road construction has frustrated so many residents: Gundaroo Drive, Mirrabei Drive, Horse Park Drive and Flemington Road. There is the lack of basic services for the new suburbs like Bonner, Jacka, Casey and Moncrieff, where the Canberra Liberals have fought hard for adequate bus services and proper rubbish collection.
At the other end of the scale, the neglect of older suburbs in terms of maintenance and upkeep has also been an ongoing issue. We are working with the community on issues like the redevelopment of the Gold Creek Country Club, buses for our schools and elderly residents, adequate parking, a recreation facility for Casey, and cleaning up Moncrieff’s waffle pod rubbish issues. It is great to have the opportunity to support and to work in partnership with them. It reaffirms that we are on the right track in representing what our electorate needs.
As a team, as a dynamic duo, I think Alistair and I complement each other and bring different skills to the game. I feel privileged to be a member of such a great team with an outstanding leader. The Canberra Liberals team is really a great team and destined for good things in 2019. We are united and driven not only to make this government accountable but also to stand up for the values that we know our constituents believe in.
This is so, too, with my own team. Sadly I traded two of my strongest players this year, Chris Inglis and Karin Oerlemans, both outstanding individuals who helped me immensely on my journey and remain close friends. I take this opportunity to publicly congratulate Chris and Angela on the birth of their new son, Sam James—that is right: James—Inglis. I take credit for that little one being named after me but I am not sure that is the actual truth.
I have welcomed two new recruits, Cath Woodward and Bella Gilhooly, both smart and extremely dedicated to the Liberal cause, my values and my approach to politics. We were also lucky enough to be assigned a sharp young mind in Brandon Bodel, who I have seen grow as a professional and political animal. So, too, with Justin Reily, an outstanding ANU student who conducted extensive research on sport and recreation topics that will no doubt benefit our efforts in 2019. Justin quickly became a member of the team and we all enjoyed hearing his perspective on issues.
But I must say that the most valuable player in all of this has been long-term warrior and now senior intern Ewan Brown. I cut my teeth with this man on the local community council. He has stayed the course and always provides frank, honest and valued advice.
This is not to discount the role of other team members, my lovely wife and son, the amazing volunteers and supporters we have and, of course, the community I represent.
Yerrabi really does provide me with inspiration each and every day. It is because of those hardworking individuals, the families, the business owners and the vulnerable people who need a voice that I do what I do. This year, 2018, has been the season of consolidating, of implementing the lessons from my first year and building a vision and pathway to keep representing Yerrabi all the way to be in government in 2020.