God Fearing Christian Gives Maiden Speech in Victorian Parliament
The following is the transcript of the maiden speech of Geoff Shaw, MP for Frankston.
Maiden Victorian Parliamentary Speech 8 February 2011 ASSEMBLY Mr Geoff Shaw - Liberal Party, Frankston
Mr SHAW – At the outset I would like to thank my family. For too long over this campaign my family has not been first in my life.
I want to thank my wife, Sally, for being here tonight and thank my four kids, Nathan, Ebony, Daniel and Aaron, who are wherever the internet is. I will give them a wave on camera. I thank you guys for who you are. I love you lots and adore you. Thanks heaps.
In taking my place in the Legislative Assembly it is appropriate for me to acknowledge the original owner of the land on which we stand – God, the Creator, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of the Bible. What a blessing that the Creator has given us stewardship of this place, and what a responsibility we have to govern here in Victoria and govern well. Of course there are a number of references acknowledging God in Parliament. Parliament opens with the words of Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer and many take an oath, raising the Bible in their right hand. In 1900 the men who composed the Australian constitution wrote in the preamble: … humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God …
Former Prime Minister John Howard said he would never shrink from the belief that Australia has been moulded on the Judaeo-Christian ethic and that this is an asset worth preserving. The acknowledgement of God was also clearly seen when this building was constructed over 150 years ago. In the tiles on the floor of the vestibule are the words from the Book of Proverbs 11:14, which states: Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. King Solomon is not just talking about a collective number of people; he is talking about a collective number of people who give good advice and wise counsel, coupling that with righteousness. I am glad to be here as part of the new coalition government that knows the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness, in a place where truth is no longer on the endangered species list and where we are no longer on the spending-spree express escalating towards wasteful, costly and poorly conceived projects. We are on the common-sense express, where we will carefully assess our spending decisions, knowing we are stewards of Victorian taxpayers money. General Norman Schwarzkopf stated: Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.
What a pleasure it is to be part of a team under the leadership of the Ted Baillieu, the Premier, and Peter Ryan, the Deputy Premier, who both have character and strategy. They have shown great leadership during the disastrous events that have flooded parts of this state. In the midst of these floods they have released resources, men and women, to Western Australia and Queensland to give them a hand with their worst floods since 1974. I am also pleased to be joining my newly elected members along the Frankston train line and other members who are not so privileged as to live along that train line. I wish them all success in their electorates and in government. As a representative of the people of Frankston in Parliament it is my job to put Frankston people first. They sent me here. They are the ones who put their faith in me and this government, and we will be delivering. Frankston takes in areas such as Frankston South, Frankston East and Karingal. We have two tertiary education establishments; a major hospital, which my wife and four kids were born in; great sporting clubs and facilities; three private golf courses and one public one; shopping precincts at both Karingal and Frankston as well as small street shops in a number of places. Frankston has wonderful environmental assets, such as the beach, Sweetwater Creek, Kananook Creek and Frankston Reservoir. I have lived in Frankston since I was seven. I went to St John’s Primary School and then John Paul College. I completed my bachelor of business in accounting at Chisholm Institute in Frankston, which is now part of Monash University. When I was nine I worked as a paper boy and then did a variety of jobs throughout my school life, such as being a casual worker for Coles and Ritchies. My wife, Sally, and I started our accountancy business in Frankston in 1992, and there are now 10 in the team. Why did I become involved in politics? After more than 18 years helping individuals and businesses achieve at a financial level it was time to transfer this knowledge and skill into an area that over the last decade has lacked any semblance of restraint, common sense or competency – government – and to use these skills for the betterment of Victorians. I note that when 57 per cent of people in Frankston said they were Christians, there was an underrepresentation from Labor. The majority of businesses in Frankston are small businesses employing under 20 people, and there was an underrepresentation from Labor because its members have limited knowledge in this arena. When government needed to stand up for Frankston in the core areas of responsibility such as police and safety, the electorate received the lowest funding of the six central activities districts, receiving only $25 million compared to Dandenong’s $290 million. This was an underrepresentation from Labor. It is time for a fair go for Frankston. Although Frankston was neglected by the previous government it has a solid, lively and intriguing history, one to be proud of. Frankston has hosted great events. In 1934 we held the first scout jamboree outside Europe and the only Australian jamboree attended by Lord Baden Powell. Frankston had a population of only 3000 at that time, but the number of scouts who attended was around 12 000, and there were 62 000 visitors. In 1980 the Frankston city bowls club held the first world bowls championships in Australia. I remember being just a teenager delivering papers and witnessing the excitement around that event. In the same year Frankston held the first-ever Melbourne indoor tennis championship with Vitas Gerulaitis and Peter McNamara playing in the final. To put this event into perspective and to highlight the calibre of the players, that year Gerulaitis lost to Bj rn Borg in the French Open and Peter McNamara and Paul McNamee won the doubles at Wimbledon. In the following year the event was again held in Frankston, and I was a ball boy. In 1983 Neighbourhood Watch was started in Kananook, which is part of the Frankston municipality. In Frankston we have had and do have successful men and women of industry, politics, commerce, literature, art and sport. Household names like Sir Reginald Ansett lived in the older boundaries of the Frankston electorate, and his helicopter was seen regularly travelling between home and work. But that was not the case for Sir Edgar Coles; he caught the bus and train to and from work. He lived within the old boundaries of Frankston as well. He was the CEO of Coles from the early 1940s to the 1960s. He had 70 acres on Old Mornington Road, and his daughter Lois Coles lived there until 1997. Thomas Ritchie started Ritchie’s Supermarkets in Frankston in 1870. Now Ritchies Supa IGA, through its community benefit card, has raised close to $38 million for schools, community groups, sporting clubs and charities. Another big name is Safeway, and in Australia Safeway started in Frankston. Bill Pratt took over his father’s Pratt’s stores in Frankston in 1946. A pioneer of self-service and supermarkets in the 1950s, Bill Pratt caught the eye of US company Safeway in 1963, and his company of three stores merged with the giant supermarket chain. He took the helm of Safeway (Australia) in 1967 and by 1985 he had 130 stores. Bill went to Frankston Primary School and Frankston High School. His father was the shire president and was part of the team that held the 1934 scout jamboree in Frankston, and he was made commissioner. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch lives right on the boundary of my electorate and she has lived there for 80 years.
George and Helen Grech, owners of Astra Billiards, pioneered Sunday trading in the 1980s along with a couple of others, selling a book for $3000 and throwing in a free pool table. They have lived in Frankston for over 35 years. Perc Hosking started his first store, Hoskings Jewellers, in Frankston in 1945 and was our first mayor.
Other local identities that are well known to the people of Frankston are the Crowder family, who have been in real estate in Frankston for over three generations. Geoff Crowder is deeply involved with Frankston’s development. Jerome Breen from Jerome Breen’s Driving School is another icon; he and his business have taught thousands of local teenagers, including me, my wife and my 20-year-old, how to drive. Brad Smith, a young Australian of the Year finalist, runs his motor bike operation, braaap, in Frankston.
Politicians such as Prime Minister Stanley Bruce and Sir Phillip Lynch both lived in Frankston. Past Frankston electorate members, including my friend the Honourable Graeme Weideman and Andrea McCall, still live in Frankston because they love it, and I thank them both for their contributions during my campaign.
Sporting stars who grew up or moved to Frankston include world champion boxer John Famechon, who was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He moved to Frankston at a young age and has since called it his home. Dual Brownlow medallist Robert Harvey went to my school. Other Australian Football League legends lived in Frankston. like Jack Dyer, who lived there for a number of years. Kelvin Moore, the 300-game full-back for Hawthorn, and Mike Patterson, the Richmond ruckman and coach of St Kilda and Richmond in the 1980s, also lived in Frankston with a host of others. TV news presenters – the list keeps going – Mal Walden and Peter Mitchell went to school in Frankston.
Graham Kennedy lived in Frankston, and Nevil Shute’s On the Beach, starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner, was filmed mostly in Frankston.
The Frankston foreshore is one of our major assets, with Frankston beach winning the best beach prize in 2008. Another asset is the Frankston Reservoir, probably the last conservation area in Frankston and one that needs protecting. With all the household names and businesses originating from Frankston – – Mr Madden – What about Karingal? Mr SHAW – They came from Karingal, too! Many were inducted into the City of Frankston’s hall of fame, so it is regrettable that we have developed a less than desirable image and a reputation for crime, so much so that the council initiated the state’s first city safe officer program to patrol the city streets.
In an attempt to clean up Frankston’s image the council has also banned smoking in a number of streets in the central activities district.
Crime is not limited to Frankston. There has been a failure in society and the family in general to instil values. There is a lack of discipline and responsibility amongst many of our youth. We need to be tougher on crime and make people realise there are boundaries and that there are consequences for actions. The Police Association of Victoria tells us we are 111 police short in Frankston. Thankfully our government is addressing that with a record number of 1700 additional police. In an announcement made in Frankston last month by the Chief Commissioner of Police we heard that Frankston will receive 35 police before 30 June and a similar figure in the next financial year.
Frankston has had and will have a great future under this competent government. The resolve and entrepreneurial spirit of the past is with us still.
A big thanks goes to my campaign team: Katrina Flannery, Marc Middleton, Jerome Breen, Glenys Holland, Graeme and Marita Johnson, Michael Frazer, Marshall Hughes and Jos and Mary-Jo Reumer. I thank all the volunteers who did so much on that rainy election day and during the campaign. To the team at 104, Damien Mantach, Tony Nutt and Sarah Casey, the Liberal Party members and a variety of state and federal politicians, my supporters and the people of Frankston: I thank you.
I started with my family and I will end with my family. I thank them ever so much for the support they have given me.