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:


(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