Senate debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021


150th Anniversary of Waratah, Senate: Parliamentary Debate

7:58 pm

Photo of Jonathon DuniamJonathon Duniam (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries) Share this | Hansard source

This weekend, on 4 December, we mark the 150th anniversary of a very important date in Tasmania. On the West Coast of Tasmania, in a small community called Waratah, tin was discovered by a fellow by the name of James 'Philosopher' Smith. I acknowledge that, in the chamber tonight, we have two proud North-West Coasters—Senator Anne Urquhart and Senator Jacqui Lambie—who I'm sure would want to welcome this anniversary and this celebration by this very proud community on the North West and those members of the community who are making a contribution to commemorating this important event.

This weekend there will be an exhibition put on by Peter and Sue Smith. Peter Smith is the great-grandson of Philosopher Smith, as he is known, the man who is responsible for discovering much of what we celebrate and reap the benefits of in terms of the mineral wealth of the West Coast of Tasmania. A lot of personal memorabilia and pieces of information are being revealed to the public for the first time, explaining the story of the life of Philosopher Smith and also a lot of information relating to the community which his work has been able to give life to.

I want to pay tribute to that community, to Peter and Sue Smith, to Ann Dunham, to Winston Nickols and others in the community who have put the effort into ensuring we are able to commemorate such a significant event. As my Tasmanian colleagues would know, these towns came, they boomed and then, effectively, they disappeared. Looking at Waratah, a beautiful community situated atop the Waratah Falls, anyone who has been there thinks that it's absolute paradise. The weather is not amazing, but it adds to the charm. The fact that these people were able to carve out a living in this part of the world and do what they've done for our state I think speaks volumes to the resilience of the Tasmanian community, our history and those people who have really forged the way ahead for us.

For those people from bigger population centres in Tasmania, like Launceston, where most of those beautiful sandstone buildings and fancy facades are: it's important to remember that they were paid for by the hard work of those people in communities like Waratah. It was communities like Waratah, Rosebery, Magnet and Queenstown that saw wealth proliferating in places like Launceston and Hobart. So I really do commend the community, which has banded together to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate this very important anniversary: 150 years since Philosopher Smith discovered tin. This gave birth to the Mount Bischoff tin mine, the jobs of hundreds of people in that community and a livelihood for tens of thousands of Tasmanians.

I won't be able to be there with them this weekend—and I'm sure that both Senator Lambie and Senator Urquhart would have been there as well, but for the same restrictions we're all going to be placed under this weekend. On behalf of them I wish the community well.

I now want to turn to a slightly different issue: the issue of hate and division. Earlier tonight, one of our colleagues provided a speech to this place—and I do acknowledge that the speech was one given from a place of personal experience and one related to a family member. But it was also one which reflected on a colleague, Senator Chandler, and an issue which I think, sadly, as a result of much hype and media hyperbole, has taken on a life of its own which was never intended. Senator Chandler has been a champion for common sense and also for clarity on issues, particularly when it comes to women's sport—the capacity for women to compete in sporting events for women. Tonight that work and those efforts have been characterised as 'hate' and 'stoking division'. I urge those who make those claims to go and re-examine what they say and, more importantly, re-examine what Senator Chandler has said and reconsider their remarks. These comments are not about hate; they're about preserving women's sport as a domain for women, and are done in a way that is not hateful and which does not incite division. I urge those who make those comments to reflect on those and perhaps to insert some sensibility and civility into these conversations, which is what everyone is asking for.


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