I’ve always been a fan of three types of parliamentary speeches: maiden (or first) speeches, condolence speeches, and valedictory speeches. Some of the most natural speeches and thoughtful comments can be heard in all of these.
Cathy McGowan (Ind-Indi) delivers her valedictory speech
Not every member gets to deliver a valedictory speech. Those who announce their retirement, or those who lose preselection, are always given a chance to make a farewell speech.
Those who lose their seat depart without acknowledgement of their service. Some of these are unexpected defeats, others are marginal seats where the member knew they had a fight on their hands but wouldn’t dare make a valedictory speech.
This is the maiden speech to the House of Representatives by the ALP member for Lilley, Anika Wells.
Wells won the Queensland seat of Lilley at the May 18, 2019 election.
After graduating with Arts and Law degrees, she worked for Maurice Blackburn as a compensation lawyer.
She won preselection for Lilley in 2018, after Wayne Swan announced his retirement. Swan held the seat from 1993-1996 and from 1998 until 2019.
Lilley was established at the 1913 federal election. It is named in honour of Sir Charles Lilley (1827-1897), a former Premier of Queensland. The inner metropolitan and mostly residential seat consists of part of the Brisbane City Council and part of the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
Wells suffered a 5.04% two-party swing at the May 18, 2019 election. She won 50.64% of the two-party-preferred vote, winning by 1,229 votes. The ALP’s primary vote fell by 8.12% to 35.64%. The LNP’s primary vote increased by 2.08% to 40.78%. The Greens polled 14.01%, an increase of 2.34%. One Nation secured 5.35%.
Listen to Wells (20m):
Watch Wells (26m):
Hansard transcript of maiden speech to the House of Representatives by Anika Wells, ALP member for Lilley.
The SPEAKER: Before I call the honourable member for Lilley, I remind the House that this is the honourable member’s first speech and I ask the House to extend to her the usual courtesies.
Ms WELLS (Lilley) (16:24): As we stand on this ground and take our seats in this chamber, we must be forever mindful that we are being carried on the shoulders of 1,600 generations of Indigenous people. Scientists and artists and parents and children have been here for millennia. Our First Nations people are the world’s oldest astronomers. Their connection between land and sky and people allowed them to navigate and predict the patterns of seasons, weather, flora and fauna. Both Indigenous knowledge and modern Western science strive to understand how our world works. Both our First Nations and our nation’s scientists value collaboration in a shared pursuit of higher knowledge. So, then, do these Australians signpost our way forward as we take our seats in this new parliament, connecting land, sky and people with evidence and hope. I have high hopes. Our future needs hope. Australians need hope, and we who are standing in this parliament need to bring hope now.
I am grateful to be here and for this opportunity. I want to thank the Lilley campaign team, particularly those who lived and died by the count in that warehouse in Zillmere. I want to thank my colleagues who have given me their time and their guidance: the members for Maribyrnong and Sydney, my good friend the member for Rankin, and the member for Grayndler—who, in his own words mused during the election campaign, ‘If he’d spent any more time in Lilley, he would have had to enrol there.’
The former Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has attacked the Abbott government, accusing it of excessive partisanship and vindictiveness, and of being a government intent on attacking key institutions and undermining important conventions of government.
Swan’s attack came in a speech to the Chifley Ideas Circle, in Melbourne.
Swan attacked the partisanship of the Abbott government. He claimed this began on election night last year when Tony Abbott gloated about the ALP’s primary vote. Swan said he thought: “If he can shrink to this occasion, he can shrink to anything.”
The sacking of the Treasury Secretary, Martin Parkinson, was part of a process of undermining the independence of the Public Service, Swan said. He said the attacks on public servants had “a clear political purpose” to threaten current and future public servants. It was part of an assertion by conservatives of their “right to be the permanent government of Australia”.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its cash rate 0.25% to 2.75%, the lowest rate since the 1950s.
In a statement, Governor Glenn Stevens said the RBA’s board “judged that a further decline in the cash rate was appropriate to encourage sustainable growth in the economy, consistent with achieving the inflation target.”