Last Friday I met with the Premier and advised him of my decision to retire from the Parliament.
I have been weighing my responsibilities to the Parliament, to the Government and to the Tasmanian community with my responsibilities to my family.
While I have appreciated enormously the opportunity to be a Minister in the Hodgman Government, it is time after almost four decades in community and public life to put my family first.
As Minister for Resources I have enjoyed the opportunity to carry the flag for two of our great traditional industries – forestry and mining. While it has been a challenging time for both, I remain confident about future growth prospects.
It is now nearing 20 years since I was first elected to the Legislative Council after 13 years on the Huon Council and extensive involvement in community and sporting organisations before that.
It has been a tremendous privilege to represent my community over such a long haul.
In particular I have been privileged to be a part of the united, vibrant and successful Hodgman Liberal Government. I thank the Premier for the opportunity and for his support.
I also have been privileged over a long career in public office to be part of our democracy in action in both chambers of the Parliament.
While there will always be critics, in my view Tasmania is very well served by its Parliamentary arrangements. In my experience, all Members enter the Parliament with a genuine commitment to serve their community.
While debate can be robust and can also be frustrating, the genuine contest of ideas and the fact that all Governments are subject to the independent scrutiny of the Legislative Council, ultimately serves the community interest.
As I look back on public life, I perhaps draw most satisfaction from my contribution to two things in particular – decriminalisation of homosexuality and the handback of land to Tasmania’s Aboriginal community.
As I look forward, it will be family first all the way