Andrew Gees maiden speech – Local News – News – General – Wellington Times_eastern heal

Inaugural Speech Madam Speaker, I believe in the future of regional Australia. Its the reason I stood for parliament. Its the reason my mily, like so many before us, crossed the Great Divide to find a new life in the magnificent electorate of Orange. Weve put our ith in regional Australia and I want to see it grow and prosper so that it continues to provide an unbeatable quality of life for generations to come. Education Madam Speaker I believe that every child in regional Australia deserves the same educational opportunities as those in the city. We need to ensure that our education system does not become a tale of two states with our country students struggling to compete with schools in metropolitan areas that are better resourced and better equipped. My parents both started life as school teachers in our state system. I believe the profession of teaching should be restored to the place it once had as a destination of first choice for our states brightest young graduates. Production I believe in production and the idea that the wealth of this state and this nation is built on what we grow and what we make and what we sell. I believe we let our productive capacity including our agricultural capacity slip in New South Wales at our peril. If the recent global financial crisis has taught us one thing, its that the wealth of states and nations can never be built on the back of real estate booms be they in Sydney or anywhere else. I believe we need to be restoring the place of agriculture in this state. Madam Speaker it is these days shionable to talk about food security and the need for our state and our country to be able to feed itself. But words about the importance of food security need to be backed up by deeds. 2 As host of the Department of Primary Industries, the electorate of Orange is at the frontline of agricultural research in New South Wales and therefore not only the protection of our food security but our biosecurity security as well. The equine influenza outbreak a few years ago only served to reinforce the vital role the department plays.

Like many of the seats of my colleagues, my seat is blessed with natural beauty from its rugged ranges to its fertile fields of plenty that helps feed our state. The lamb and beef on your dinner table may well have come from the Orange electorate or the wine that you enjoy with it. The apples and cherries that you buy in the supermarket could also have come from our electorate and if its an Electrolux fridge you store them in well that definitely came from Orange. We have much to be proud of. However, if I could single out one characteristic of our seat that shines out above all others, it is the generosity of spirit of its people. Our electorate is no stranger to adversity. For years our communities have battled crippling drought. A drought that made the land so parched and cracked and dry you could almost hear it screaming out. And then just when it looked like our rmers would finally reap their best harvest for years, the rains and floods came with such force, that the crops could not be brought in and the harvest was lost. Now when its time to sow again, 6 they battle a mouse plague. Our orchardists battle fruit bats, and worse still, bureaucrats. Our vignerons battle dwindling returns for their fruit. But through it all our communities carry on. Whether it be passing the hat around, or rolling up their sleeves for their neighbours, they carry on caring about each other and carry on building for the future. Madam Speaker, our electorate is truly part of the beating heartland of Australia. Our Fair Share Ophir, just to the north of Orange, was the scene of Australias first gold rush and the rush at Gulgong was later to follow. Orange is again the scene of another, modern day gold rush, with gold and copper being exported around the globe from one of the worlds biggest mines. The Mudgee and Gulgong areas have seen a surge of mining exploration and activity in recent times and there has also been recent interest in and around Wellington and Molong.

We invite and encourage our readers to post comments. Comments are moderated and will appear as soon as our editor has approved them. When posting comments you agree to be bound by our Terms and Conditions.

Through the years, our electorate has made, and continues to make, a huge contribution to the development of this state. But the people of our electorate Madam Speaker are increasingly asking why. Why it is that with billions flowing into the state coffers in mining royalties, they have struggled to secure basic infrastructure and services. They ask why it is that construction of a new expressway along the Bells Line of Road that will open up the great electorates of the west and encourage investment and development, has not commenced. They ask why it is that the rescue helicopter that is based in Orange and serves the electorates of western New South Wales does not fly 24 hours when helicopters based in cities as close to Sydney as a 10 minute flight are able to do just that. The people of our electorate and our region are not greedy Madam Speaker. 7 They are a people with great common sense and understand that these are difficult times for our state. What the people of our electorate seek is nothing more than their ir share. The Governments new Resources for Regions policy is a very good start and it is my hope that it can eventually be expanded, because local governments such as the Mid Western Regional Council continue struggle under the weight of the infrastructure they need to provide now and in the years ahead. Balancing the interests of agriculture and mining is one of the major challenges cing the Orange electorate and its neighbours. That will not be easy, but the work has begun. Disadvantage Madam Speaker, not everyone in the Orange electorate shares in the modern day gold rush or the prosperity of the mining boom. For some in our electorate life remains a constant and sometimes bitter struggle. During the recent election campaign I visited people living in conditions so appalling that I could scarcely believe it possible in this prosperous Australia of 2011. A couple of weeks ago I returned to one of those troubled areas for a community meeting and barbecue organised so that residents could share with me their concerns.

My brothers went to Singapore and I was dispatched to Hong Kong. The day after I arrived I remember standing outside the Sogo department store in Causeway Bay, surrounded by a sea of people and thinking right, I guess Id better find an office. It was a long way from Largs in the Hunter Valley. Building a business from scratch across multiple countries was hard work, but I look back on those years with pride not least because my brothers and I did it together. When I returned to Australia my first job as a solicitor was at the illustrious firm of Colin Biggers & Paisley or the fighting CBP as it is known to its many friends. There I was lucky enough to be schooled in the art of litigation by two outstanding solicitors Antony Riordan and Alex Ostermayer. Antony is also in the gallery today. The NT Power case that we ran for months and months in 9 Darwin and that Antony would ultimately end successfully in the High Court, would prove to be one of the highlights of my legal career. In 2003 I was called to the bar, where I read on the ninth floor of Selborne chambers, home of doyenne of the Sydney bar, Alister Henskens. He was a constant source of advice during my campaign and I thank him for his presence today. After completing my reading I moved around the corner to Queen Square Chambers in Macquarie Street of which I remained a member even after moving to Orange. I would like to thank Dr Robert Harper SC who joins us today, for all of his support and assistance over the years. I believe him to be the only barrister in the country who speaks classical Greek – Im not sure even George Souris could top that one. No matter what side of politics you are on, no candidate enters this house without the support of many. I am the fourth National to hold the seat of Orange since 1947. I follow Sir Charles Cutler, Gary West and of course my immediate predecessor, the great Russell Turner. Today I would like to thank and pay tribute to Russell. He and Diane are in the gallery today. It was Russell who laid the foundation for our recent electoral success and I have learnt a great deal from him. He is much loved and respected in our party and in our electorate.

Please upgrade for free to a modern browser, such as… (click any logo)

Your browser is no longer supported.

Andrew Gees maiden speech – Local News – News – General – Wellington Times_eastern heal,We need to give the Department of Primary Industries the resources it needs to properly contribute to the food and biosecurity security of our state. This means promoting agricultural research and protecting research stations. This means providing proper agronomy services. And this means rebuilding the Department of Agriculture and as we have just seen our new minister Katrina Hodgkinson do, restoring the Department of Agriculture. Small Business I believe that the engine room of this state is our small businesses be they in the city or on country properties or in our regional centres. Madam Speaker it is our small business people who personify a word that is richly laden with overtones of hard work, initiative and optimism. That word Madam Speaker is enterprise. It is a word that the people of my electorate know well. I believe that governments need to support and encourage small business. Our regional communities such as Wellington are crying out for more business investment. One of the best ways governments can help small business in the Orange electorate is to provide the infrastructure that reduces transport costs and makes our communities easier to get to. And once our businesses are established our government can also help by leaving them alone and letting the entrepreneurs of our electorate and those right across this state get on with the creation of jobs and opportunity and prosperity. Our government should be encouraging initiative and achievement not penalising it with ever increasing taxes and then strangling it with red tape. Decentralisation 3 I believe that if regional New South Wales is to grow and prosper and reach the potential that we all know it has, decentralisation must be actively pursued and promoted. Regional NSW needs new industries, more people, and greater investment. In recent years my party has blazed the trail for decentralisation. It was the last state Coalition Government that oversaw the move of the Department of Primary Industries to Orange. And it was my Federal colleagues led by Senator Fiona Nash that secured funding for the state of the art dental school at Charles Sturt University in Orange a school that will train dentists for rural practice for years to come.

And Madam Speaker I acknowledge the hard work of Bev Glover and Lachlan Paix who have made the transition into my role as local member a seamless one. Finally, Id like to thank my mily. I am lucky to have a close knit mily that have always been there when I have really needed them. To my ther Bob and Mother Melva and David and Vanessa Gee Alison and Andrew Blattman, Matthew and Joanna Gee, Jan Lintott, and Scott and Ros Harbison and the Harbison mily, words cannot express how grateful I am for everything you have done. I also express my gratitude to Romano Kwok. There are some more mily members that I most definitely need to pay tribute to. Indeed they have told me in no uncertain terms that they expect a good mention. They are my daughters Amanda and Alexandra and sons Sam and Jonathan. Having come to this place, I am occasionally asked what my greatest contribution to our society will be. The truth is I have already made my greatest contribution. They are my four children whom I love dearly and of whom I am immensely proud. And of course to my darling wife Tina, whom I met just a block from this house, I thank you for all of your love and support and for the sacrifices that you have made in order that I could stand here today. 11 Madam Speaker, one of the challenges cing our party in recent years has been changing demographics. To the strains of funereal music it has been shionable to suggest that our party is in its twighlight years and that we would slip quietly into the night. I think that at this election the party has proveeastern health australiad that rather than bemoaning changing demographics it can adapt to them. Our party has renewed itself, and I am looking forward to working with my colleagues Paul Toole and Troy Grant. The Central West has at last, a united voice. The National Party was born of the vision that we should right the imbalances of opportunity, of representation, of development and population between the cities and regions. My colleagues and I are all here today as trustees of that vision, and of that hope. Madam Speaker, it is the honour of my life to represent the people of the Orange electorate in this parliament. I express my deep gratitude to them and today commit to representing them with the same qualities that they themselves possess with courage, and passion and energy and an unshakaAndrew Gees maiden speech – Local News – News – General – Wellington Times_eastern healble ith in the future of the Central West

The Great Divide Madam Speaker since having moved back to the country, I am constantly amazed at how little those in Sydney and its surrounding cities now of life over the Great Dividing Range. My previous occupation was that of barrister. Colleagues still express surprise to me that barristers exist in western New South Wales. Although I have to confess that for sound commercial reasons we often dont advertise it to our colleagues in Sydney, I can tell you that not only are there are in ct barristers west of the sandstone curtain, but we also have a talented array of other tradespeople and professionals from medical specialists, to winemakers, stockbrokers and geologists to name but a few. People come from around Australia and around the world to live and work in the Central West and all of them form part of the rich mosaic that is the Orange electorate. And new technology has made it possible for increasing numbers of them to come. But decentralisation will not truly succeed until the yawning gulf in knowledge about what lies beyond the Great Dividing Range has been bridged. Economic Management I believe that governments need to live within their means. People work hard for their money in my electorate and they have a tendency to tell it like it is, and nothing makes them angrier than to see their tax dollars being squandered by people on government payrolls in Sydney and Canberra. 4 Law and Order Madam Speaker I believe that the people of our region should be able to walk the streets, or sleep in their beds at night without fear of assault Yes we need more police – particularly in towns such as Wellington – but to back them up we need to better support youth programs like our regional PCYCs, we need more drug and alcohol workers, and better mental health support in our electorate. We need to curb the affliction of vandalism and anti social behaviour that blights too many communities in our region. Go down to any local court on any given day and you will see the social cost of this problem. There you will see broken lives that are changed forever. Madam Speaker the police have been crying out for it and that call needs to be answered we need to get drunken people off the streets of our electorate in the early hours of the morning.

I would also like to make special mention of Jenny Gardiner MLC, for her unwavering support and assistance throughout my campaign. Jenny is one of the keepers of our partys values and history and I simply would not have been able to properly run my campaign without her support and guidance. I will always be grateful for her help. I thank my campaign director, Dave Pattinson and also Chris Blunt Chairman of the Orange Branch of the nationals. Along with Kieran Renshaw they have been with me from the very beginning. I am also greatly indebted to Rachael Hayes, whose ability to remain calm and organised in the ce of unrelenting chaos is unsurpassed. A more committed and energetic campaign co-ordinator you would not find. To my campaign team: Chris Messenger, Peter Bryan, Mitchell Lyons, Jamie Jones, Dick Niven, Sandy Walker and Royce Munro I also say thank you as I 10 do to Alan Hay Paul Davey, Ron Gander , the Hayes mily, Wendy Wilson, Reg Kidd and also the great many party members and mily friends who worked so hard on my campaign. I am truly humbled that so many have travelled so r to be here today – from not only the Orange, Wellington and Mudgee districts but from all over New South Wales. I would also like to thank the team from Nationals head office: Ben Franklin; Greg Dezman; Nathan Quigley; and Douglas Martin. A candidate could not have asked for better support. I am also very grateful for the help and assistance of Andrew Stoner, leader of the State Nationals, Christine Ferguson, State chair of the Nationals, and all of the MPs – both Liberal and Nationals including the Premier, who travelled to my electorate to support my campaign. I would also like to mention and thank David Brownhill, former senator and lion of the party, for not only being present today but for his wise counsel. I further wish to acknowledge and express my gratitude to an unsung Australian, Professor John Thompson, and also Margaret Lett and Maria Gonzalez.

There they told me of how they felt like second class citizens in their own city – forgotten by government and society at large. To the people of those areas who put their ith in me at the election just two months ago, I say that I will not forget you and I will work to ensure that our government does not forget you. Life Madam Speaker I was born in Wagga Wagga and whilst I was young, my mily lived for a time in Nairobi Kenya and San Francisco. We eventually settled in Maitland in the Hunter Valley. 8 My parents by then operated a small business there and it was they who taught me the value of hard work, initiative, perseverance and resilience. I was fortunate enough to attend Newcastle Grammar, and I would like to acknowledge my not so old headmaster, Brian Charlton, who is in the gallery today. It was at that school where I met Patricia Forsythe. Before Patricia entered the upper house of this parliament she was a modern history teacher. She is also here today and I thank her for putting up with a class full of unruly lads, what we thought then were hilarious gags and interjections. I suspect Patricia may have had a different view of it at the time. It was Patricia who first pointed me in the direction of the Liberal Party and I thank her and would like to acknowledge her continuing support. Madam Speaker there is some irony in the ct that I have moved to the country and joined the Nationals whereas my ther, who once ran for the seat of Maitland as a National, has moved to Sydney and joined the Liberals. After leaving Newcastle I attended university where I studied economics and then law. I spent four years at St Pauls College. I would like to thank the Warden of St Pauls, the Reverend Dr Ivan Head for attending today and for his ongoing support. After finishing law school and commencing life as a solicitor, my brothers and I decided we would move to Asia and start our own business licensing consumer products and promotions for international entertainment companies.

Health I believe that every person in this electorate should have the same access to proper health cilities as those in the cities. But our health system in regional NSW has become reliant on the goodwill of its local communities just to function. Madam Speaker Ive seen it at meetings of the Orange Lions Club and its a scene that has been repeated across Western NSW nurses begging for funds to purchase basic equipment that this state should be providing and which city patients take for granted. That has to change, and under this new government of ours, I am confident it will change. In some of the towns in our electorate people have to wait weeks just to see a GP. One of the ways to address the shortage of doctors in regional New South Wales is to train them for rural and regional practice. That is why I strongly support the proposed new medical school to be based at Charles Sturt University in Orange. CSU has already opened a world class dentistry school on that campus and I would encourage all of my colleagues in regional seats to support this very worthwhile proposal. 5 The closure of our rural hospitals is a continuing source of concern, particularly in towns like Cudal and Gulgong. To the people of Gulgong I say this: I will continue to work with my state and federal colleagues to deliver the health services that you deserve and I will not rest until we have turned the first sod on a new MPS. The Orange Electorate I consider myself lucky to serve a diverse and vibrant electorate. At the eastern part of our electorate is the bustling regional metropolis that Orange has become. It, like Mudgee, to its north, is growing quickly. Both Mudgee and Orange are renowned for their wineries, restaurants and lively cultural scenes. To the West of Mudgee is the beautiful Wellington Valley and historic Wellington itself close to the recreational hub of the electorate Burrendong Dam. In between Orange, Wellington and Mudgee are many towns and villages such as Cargo, Cudal, Manildra, Molong, Cumnock, Guerie, Gulgong Mumbil, Stuart Town and Mullion Creek – some full of history, others full of industry but each unique in its own way.

Leave a Reply