Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 May 2021


Tasmanian State Election

8:31 pm

Photo of Wendy AskewWendy Askew (Tasmania, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Just over a week ago Tasmania went to the polls and, for the first time in our history, a Liberal government has won three successive terms. I would like to congratulate Premier Peter Gutwein on that victory and also acknowledge his personal vote, achieving the highest personal vote ever in a House of Assembly election in receiving over 32,000 primary votes. All seats will be finalised in the coming days, and I wish to congratulate all candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, for their contributions. On 1 May there were also two upper house seats decided in Tasmania. Voters in Windermere, the Legislative Council seat covering parts of Launceston and the state's north-east, were faced with five new names to choose from, after longstanding independent member Ivan Dean decided not to contest this election.

Tonight I would like to acknowledge Ivan's 18 years as a legislative councillor as well as his varied roles before politics, all of which add up to a phenomenal record of service for Tasmania and Australia of more than 60 years. Ivan insists he is not retiring but moving into another phase of his life, which he knows will involve more time with his family, some bike riding, building a new house and maybe even writing a book. Having grown up in Levendale as one of eight, Ivan remembers his childhood fondly. His parents were hard workers, and his family were embedded in their Southern Midlands community through their logging business, sawmill, milk bar, school bus contract, transport business and farm.

Ivan was conscripted as a national serviceman, serving in the Indonesian confrontation in Borneo for two years. Military service forced Ivan to learn new skills, like starching and ironing his uniform and complying with commands quickly, but it also left him with permanent hearing loss, which he said had a huge impact on his life. Upon his return to Tasmania, Ivan worked in various odd jobs before joining Tasmania Police, a role which shaped his career. Starting in general policing in Hobart and New Norfolk, Ivan worked at a time when there were single-person patrols. At one stage he was assaulted and hospitalised, and he was often the first responder to horrific road accidents.

Ivan was seconded to the Commonwealth Police as a United Nations Peacekeeper in Cyprus, where he worked with personnel from Britain, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. He also spent time in Sydney seconded to the homicide and consorting squad, working under the now infamous convicted murderer Roger Rogerson, a man he learnt was not a man to be questioned or messed with. Ivan's time in the police force included a stint in prosecution; 17 years in CIB investigating murder, rape, child sexual abuse, robbery, home invasion and fraud; and time as a tutor with the Australian Institute of Police Management. He was eventually promoted to commander in Hobart and later Launceston, which is where I first met him. Ivan rightly holds 11 decorations for his service to Tasmania, Australia, the United Nations and policing.

Post Tasmania Police, Ivan turned his commitment to government, serving as a councillor of the City of Launceston for nine years, including two years as mayor. His most recent role as representative for the Legislative Council seat of Windermere followed. Elected to the Tasmanian parliament upper house in 2003, Ivan's profile in Tasmania Police afforded him strong support. He sees his greatest wins as moving a power pole that was in a dangerous position, an underpass, roundabouts, speed changes and gaining funding for community groups. However, Ivan says nothing has been as rewarding as helping a person, a family on their knees, to get a house, get employment or to retain their employment. Ivan will also be remembered for two further things: his questions on the legitimacy of Tasmania's fox eradication program, or what he calls 'the fox saga', and his attempt to raise the legal smoking age to 21. The latter is something Ivan is still passionate about, citing it as a root cause in Tasmania's poor health status and the reason 560 Tasmanians die prematurely each year.

In his last speech in the upper house Ivan said he knew somebody else would pick up the issue of smoking and bring it back before parliament. Admitting he stood on a few toes and upset some, Ivan's final words in the Legislative Council are something we can also relate to here in this place. He said, 'I admire in the most part the work of the state service, the departments who bring work to us, put the bills together, brief us and answer our questions and put up with us.' Ivan, while you may have ruffled feathers in your various roles, your service to your state and country is something we are very grateful for. I am honoured to have been able to share part of our story here tonight, and I wish the new member for Windermere, Nick Duigan, great success in his role. Congratulations, Nick. You ran an excellent campaign.