Meander Valley Gazette

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Greg leaves halls of Parliament

NewsJoanne EisemannComment

JUNE 2018 | Cody Handley

LONG SERVING Legislative Council member, the Hon. Greg Hall, has retired.

Mr Hall has had a long career in public life, spanning 28 years.

Greg was first elected to the Deloraine Council in 1990, before it became Meander Valley Council, and later served 6 years as Mayor.

Greg hadn’t thought much about politics, and was still preoccupied with farming and local issues when he was approached by John Loone to stand as an independent for the Legislative Council. He has since been re-elected twice, and spent 17 years in the Upper House, including 2 terms as Deputy President.

“As an independent you don’t get to set policy, but have to be proactive in convincing the government of the day that they ought to make changes here and there for the betterment of the state,” he said.

Greg counts the Meander Dam and the Lakes Highway amongst his major achievements in which he had an influence.

“The Lakes road used to be an old goat track which was dangerous given the level of traffic,” he said. “I’d been banging on about it so long Paul Lennon said ‘get this bloke off my back, get it done.’”

Greg notes “it was harder to get grants as an independent, it’s easy if you’re one of the government.” However, there were also advantages. “In a large diverse electorate, I found that people would prefer to approach an independent member than a ‘party person.’ Tasmanians like a predominance of independents in the Upper House as they see it as a house of review.”

“As an independent, I always voted on the issue, not the politics, and tried to avoid paralysis by indecision. ‘Perfect’ can often be the enemy of ‘good,’” he said.

Another positive of working in the Legislative Council was its collegiate nature. “We had the ability to cross swords on the floor and then go for a beer afterwards. This doesn’t happen so much in the House of Assembly.”

Greg has a reputation as a practical joker, and thinks his best gag was putting talcum powder in President Jim Wilkinson’s umbrella. However, this was payback for when Greg was a newly elected member and Jim put a talc ‘bomb’ in his desk draw, giving his suit quite the distinctive hue.

When asked about the best and worst aspects of being a MLC, Greg identifies the satisfaction of achieving good outcomes for your electors and state, conversely the amount of travelling and time spent away from home.

Despite retirement, Greg plans to keep involved in the community. “I’m not good at doing nothing,” he said. Although greater consideration will be given to the family, farm, cycling, and a long reading list, he admits.

“I really appreciate those people who have supported me throughout three terms in parliament. I’ve met some fantastic people who have volunteered for their respective communities. I think we’re very fortunate in regional communities for the people who step up to the plate and assist those in need.”

Greg’s electorate of Western Tiers has recently been abolished in what he describes as a bizarre decision by the Electoral Commission, creating another electorate in the South, whilst denying people in the central north a vote for 10 years.

Photo | Mike Moores