My family came from the Netherlands as part of the post-war migration and I grew up on dairy farms in the Circular Head (Smithton area).
Married to Tosca, we are the proud parents of 5 adult children - Rachel, Alison, Sam, Jacob and Katie.
After nearly 40 years with Tasmania Police I have seen a lot of life, not all good and in 2010 I retired at the rank of Commander (Counter Terrorism). I was a detective for most of my career having served at Burnie, Hobart, Strathgordon, Queenstown and Bellerive before moving into management and senior executive roles. I served 3 years as a Senior Investigator with the National Crime Authority leading multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams investigating organised crime. These investigations included Philippines based surveillance operations and the conviction of several members of the former Painters and Dockers Union who were engaged in methyl-amphetamine (ICE) manufacture.
In 1988 I gained a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tasmania whilst a shift working police officer with a young family. I majored in Political Science and Government Administration, with sub-majors in Law and Sociology.
In 2006 I was elected to the Clarence City Council, where I count as my achievements:
- Extensive community consultation, particularly on planning matters
- The Clarence mountain bike facility
- Traffic Management, particularly - the case for the Flagstaff Gully Link road
In 2011 I was elected to Tasmania’s Upper House (Legislative Council) as an ‘independent-liberal’ meaning that I have ‘liberal’ (not conservative) values but was ‘independent’ of party control.
The Legislative Council is intended to be a House of review – not an alternative to the Lower House. Its job is to keep the government of the day accountable and has traditionally been dominated by independents with extensive life experience. Party control of the Legislative Council will make it either obstructionist or a rubber stamp that agrees with everything the government of the day puts forward. As we head into the prospective of minority government, it is possible for opposition parties in the lower house to seize the legislative program, have it rubber stamped by the Upper House and put the government in the difficult position of having to implement the Opposition’s legislative agenda. That will generate constitutional crises and frequent elections as what is supposed to the House of Review asserts its power over the democratically elected government of the day.
My electorate of Rumney included the areas from South Arm, Lauderdale, Rokeby and the Acton Corridor through to Richmond, Sorell, Dodges Ferry and the Tasman Peninsula. I relocated the Rumney office to Sorell to better serve the whole electorate from a more central (and regional) location. In 2017, Labor regained the seat with 53-47% of the preference vote and promptly returned the electorate office to Rokeby. Amongst my achievements I count:
- Being one of the most accessible politicians, thanks primarily to Yvonne Murfett, my very popular Electorate Assistant
- Annually supporting over 45 Volunteer Community Organisations with financial and administrative assistance (thanks again to Yvonne)
- Annually supporting over 80 of our young high-achievers in pursuit of their educational, social and sporting goals
- Reviewing and improving legislation over the life of two governments. Always reviewing, often amending, rarely rejecting – ‘knocking the rough edges’ off BOTH of them.
- Amending the disastrous Labor-Green forest deal and preventing 385,000 Ha of land from being ‘locked up’ until the owners (the people of Tasmania) could be consulted at the 2014 election.
- Extending and improving occupationally acquired disease cover for volunteer fire-fighters after Labor Minister David O’Byrne left them behind and extended cover only for the unionised firefighters.
- Extending asbestos disease compensation to those with mesothelioma who die from other causes
- Blocking Liberal Government attempts to undermine the Industrial Commission through the power to make regulations.
On the 1st of January 2018 the boundaries of Rumney will change and a new seat (Prosser) will be created for the midlands and the east coast. Prosser will extend from
- Brighton, Sorell Dodges Ferry and the Tasman Peninsula in the south, to
- Campbell Town and Bicheno in the north.