Tuesday 15 May, 2018

The Hon. V.A. TARZIA (Hartley) (20:01): In speaking to the motion, and in my first speech to the house as the member for Hartley following the state election, I also want to begin by congratulating each and every one of the members, especially the new members, who have been elected. It has been a real pleasure to listen to many of the maiden speeches and to understand what motivates members to run for this place. I have been absolutely inspired, and it has been fantastic to hear the various stories. I am sure that the house as a whole is much richer for having the new members here.

I look forward to the next four years, working alongside members here and in the other place to make a positive difference to the people of Hartley and also to the people of South Australia. I would also like to thank His Excellency the Governor for his continued work for this great state. He is someone I sincerely and truly respect. I have had the pleasure of knowing him for many years, and I still remember the day he actually came to the Campbelltown Rotary Club to speak as a special guest before he became Governor. He is a fantastic South Australian and, as a state, we are much enriched by having him as our Governor.

I also join the large chorus of other members in congratulating you, Acting Speaker, as well as the Deputy Speaker, on your appointments to your important roles. As I said, I also extend my congratulations to all the new and returned members of parliament on their successful election to this place. I have certainly enjoyed the maiden speeches that have thus far transpired, hearing about the unique road that each member has taken to get here and the driving forces behind the passion that motivates each of us to put up our hands to serve and get involved in this great democracy.

I am also reminded about delivering my own maiden speech. It has already been four years and one week since I made my first speech in this place. I do not think anyone could have envisaged the four years and especially the events of the last seven months and how they would unfold, particularly with regard to the rather different but exciting election that has just taken place with the addition of a third political force—albeit less of a force than I and many others anticipated.

Needless to say, I have enjoyed every step of the way—literally. With every single door that I have knocked on in the last six years, from being the candidate and then the member, and then being re-elected as the member, I have had the huge privilege of meeting so many unique and diverse individuals who make up the seat of Hartley and getting to know the fantastic and strong community within it. I will return to the subject of the previous election, but I wish to draw the house's attention to the great community of Hartley, its people and its configuration.

My local community is truly filled with many great, inspirational and very active social and sporting groups. Just the other day I noticed that the Ripples Community Arts group in Campbelltown were out installing their nineteenth mosaic in Lochiel Park. The mosaic is named Curves in this Place and is designed by Alan Perkins. The Ripples Community Arts group is an incredibly active group and they create high quality and meaningful art for all of us in the community to enjoy. All members of the group enjoy what they do. They love their community, which is something I can truly relate to. I always enjoy my time in Lochiel Park, as an example, and look forward to seeing what Ripples produce next.

Members should also take the time to head out to the Campbelltown Arthouse for the Campbelltown celebration of the arts, which is currently being held throughout the month of May. Anyone who comes to Hartley will realise in a short time that they are certainly spoilt for choice when it comes to food and coffee. Acting Speaker, you are always welcome to come to my electorate, as you know. Indeed, Hartley is home to so many great businesses, not just dedicated to fine foods and coffee, but businesses that I expect to continue to thrive, more so as a result of this government's positive agenda for the small business area.

Whilst the redistribution meant that I farewelled the wonderful people of Kensington Gardens, Rosslyn Park and Auldana to what I call beautiful Bragg, and also Payneham, Glynde and Felixstow to the member for Dunstan's constituency, I certainly welcomed more of the great people of Paradise and the residents of Newton with open arms. We all know that to be an effective member of parliament it takes a lot of hard work, but first it takes a lot of listening, which is essential—at the doorstep; at the shopping centres; at the street corners; on the phones; via social media, email or even the odd fax, if you are lucky; the letters to the editor; the petitions; the commuter stations; the letters; and even the odd shout out from a distance at the footy. Being accessible and being present in the community is certainly an imperative.

Being embedded in my community is something I really pride myself on, because I take a lot of pride in my community. I love my community and I love that I get the next four years to continue to advocate and deliver for them. Speaking of delivering, it was just a few short weeks ago that I delivered a birthday card to young Dita in Paradise, who turned 103 years old. Today, we also arranged flowers for a resident in the community who turned 102. I asked this particular resident, who is 103, what the secret to keeping so young was and she told me that she has a glass of champagne every day. We must remember that, Acting Speaker.

Since the election, I was also fortunate to take out to lunch Mr Peter Allen, the 2018 Campbelltown Citizen of the Year. There are many people like Peter in our community. We are so blessed to have these pillars of strength in our community. As new members will soon realise, you certainly enjoy these moments, whether it is delivering birthday cards, meeting new citizens and new migrants or taking our future generations for things like school tours. I had the students of Rostrevor College in here today. I have also been fortunate enough to host students of East Torrens Primary School and to present times tables to the students at St Francis of Assisi School, all within the first weeks of being elected.

I imagine that it would be a unique experience for students coming here for the first time. Who knows, one day one of them might actually be in this place. I remember when the Hon. Joan Hall, the former member for Coles, gave me a school tour right here in this place, so it all happens very fast. I say to these students that they are always welcome to run for parliament—just not against me. Whilst I would love to talk into the night about what makes Hartley so great, I will leave that for another time when I continue my remarks. I will take time now to reflect on the state election.

What I have learnt is that sometimes what stands in the way actually becomes the way. Whilst the election brought with it some familiar faces (a former member for Hartley and also some high-profile competition), the people of Hartley were truly, I think in hindsight, the beneficiaries of a tough-fought election. I wish my competitors all the best for the future. I also credit the entire Liberal team for the hard work they did in securing the victory. We certainly had a great leader, a strong plan and a positive result for the state. Of course not everyone might have predicted the outcome of the election, particularly in Hartley.

I recall when one of the new candidates made the announcement to run for the seat of Hartley on 6 October. I remember that day. As they say, 'The impediment to action advances action,' and that was certainly the case. It was not long before there were all kinds of election gurus predicting the result of what was to come in the future. One of them would state on air, when asked what they thought of the new candidate's chances of picking the seat of Hartley, that for this particular candidate the chances of success would be very strong. A week on from that announcement and a certain newspaper was referring to that new candidate as 'the likely new MP for Hartley' and 'possibly South Australia's next premier'.

The bookies certainly did not favour my chances, and anyone who likes a bet knew that you could get me at about 10 to one about a month out from the election—10 bucks. To those who did back me in with more than just their vote, 'You're welcome.' One of the first polls delivered in the seat on 11 October gave this new candidate in Hartley a 53-47 lead and later in November the polls still had me behind at 53-47, according to another certain pollster. Then, according to a poll conducted between 11 and 14 January, as reported by a television channel on 29 January, I was trailing 57-43. However, as the ancient Latin proverb goes, 'Humility conquers pride.'

I certainly never felt that those numbers reflected the reception that I received on the doorstep and, despite what anyone had to say during the election, our path was certainly clear. I was going to get on with the job, and that was to work as hard as I could, as tirelessly as I could with full dedication for my electorate. That is what I will continue to do: work hard for my community. That is exactly what I intend to do. That is why I am continuing to get on with the job with hard work and dedication to my local community.

For example, I look forward to getting on with delivering the much-needed additional car parking infrastructure at the Paradise Interchange. I also look forward to improving the community sporting facilities at the Athelstone Football Club, the Campbelltown City Council Soccer Club and the Hectorville Sports and Community Club. Furthermore, I look forward to improving the intersection of Graves Street and Newton Road and also the Silkes Road and Gorge Road intersection. There is certainly much work to be done and much to look forward to in the seat of Hartley.

It has been a genuine privilege to be elected to serve the people of Hartley for another term. The message I have received is clear: people do not want spin or stunts; they want a hardworking, accessible member of parliament who will be in the electorate and deliver for them. I look forward to playing my role in the new government to deliver for the people of South Australia. I love the Hartley community and I will continue to help make it the best that it can be for our local residents.

I would also like to thank all those who have helped get me to this point, beginning with my fiancée, Charissa, my parents, our families and my campaign team, including the young Hartley hit squad—they know who they are. They worked tirelessly for months and months and I cannot thank them enough. I thank my EO staff, our volunteers and our backers for sticking with me, and I certainly will not let the people of Hartley down.