Incolink Business Dinner - Monday 23 April 2018

Recently I spoke at the Infolink Business Dinner about what can be done to unlock investment and job creation in Tasmania's construction industry.

Here are the opening lines of my speech or if you would like to read the speech in full please click on the link below:

I want to thank Dan O’Brien and Incolink for the invitation to speak here tonight, as well as Tim O’Halloran from the Shaping Agency for doing a great job helping to organise it.

I also want to commend Incolink for the crucial work it does in supporting members of the construction industry here in Tasmania.

As you would all appreciate, construction is an industry with arguably the greatest exposure to fluctuations in the broader economy.

Because of this, a strong safety net remains a key feature of the industry landscape.

Things like the administration of redundancy entitlements, transferrable sick leave, income protection insurance, and mental health support services might not be the most glamourous aspects of the industry.

But they really do matter.

I tend to think of them as a bit like oxygen. Very easy not to think about when everything’s going well. Pretty much all you think about when things go bad and they’re not available.

There is another dimension of Incolink’s business model which rates an important mention.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Ensuring Integrity Bill – I dare say some of you might even have strong feelings about it.

We can talk a bit about the substance of that bill in discussion later on.

For now, suffice it to say that in my brief parliamentary career so far, especially in discussions over that piece of legislation, it has not been lost on me how bitter and deeply conflicted workplace relations in the construction industry often are.

In some cases, I emerge from stakeholder meetings wondering how anything ever gets built at all.

Incolink offers a rare and refreshing counterpoint to that picture.

Along with Industry superannuation funds, the organisation stands out as a great example of what can be achieved when employer-organisations and unions, capital and labour, cooperate closely in the boardroom to achieve beneficial outcomes for members.

For that, I offer my sincere commendation.

To read the full speech click here

First Speech - 21 March 2018

On Wednesday 21 March I delivered my First Speech in the Senate as Senator for Tasmania. Below are the opening lines, to read the speech in full please click on the link below:

Mr. President, Senators, ladies and gentlemen, I acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my respect to elders both past and present.

Mr. President, A few weeks ago, a local journalist from the Advocate, a tough little North West paper not known for giving away easy free-kicks, came to see me. While a kind profile piece was run, it was accompanied by the headline:

STEVE MARTIN: BRADBURY OF THE SENATE.

(As we know, Stephen Bradbury is of course the Australian speed-skating legend who came from behind to win gold at the 2002 Winter Olympics, as the other skaters skittled each other at the final bend).

Mr. President, others might take this headline as an insult or a back-handed compliment.  Perhaps that was even my instinctive response.  But, on reflection, I have come to welcome the comparison.  If nothing else, I’m in good company.  We now have a small army of Bradburies in this chamber, thanks to Section 44 of the Constitution.

But more importantly, there is a hidden moral in Bradbury’s unlikely success story about being positive – about having a dream, backing yourself against the odds, and giving things a red-hot go.

Stephen Bradbury was not the world’s best speed-skater.  He wasn’t the strongest or the fastest.  Frankly, his prospects were pretty dim.

Imagine the self-doubt he had to overcome and the set-backs he faced along the way.  But there he was at the Olympics.

He drew on all his courage and determination to get there.  He put in all the hard work.  And then, at that fateful final turn, (twice) the gods smiled, the luck came on his side.  And the glory was his.

Mr President, The Advocate was right.  It is positivity and determination, along with the good fortune that sometimes follows, which has delivered me into this most rare and humbling position: as a Federal parliamentarian representing Tasmania in the Senate.

It is a responsibility and an honour which I take with great seriousness and humility.

To read the full speech click here