A changing of the guard | OPINION

A changing of the guard at Braddon | OPINION

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NEW: Former plumber and WA resident, Felix Ellis has been elected the new state member for Braddon, Tasmania. Photo: Simon Sturzaker

NEW: Former plumber and WA resident, Felix Ellis has been elected the new state member for Braddon, Tasmania. Photo: Simon Sturzaker

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What is to be done about the low profile of "agriculture"?

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"THERE'S going to be a state election on May 1, and the present government has a wafer-thin majority. It will be interesting to see what happens."

You may remember reading this in my April column - the result has only just been finalised.

The delay was due to the shindigs of one of the 25 sitting members, Adam Brooks.

As I write he is before the court in Brisbane on a range of charges, not the least being allegedly illegally hoarding weapons and ammunition.

Doubtless this has been covered in the Queensland press.

Understandably, he was not one of the five Braddon members re-elected here.

(For the benefit of North Island readers, there are 25 state politicians, five in each of the five electorates - these are the same as for the Federal Government, with one member each.)

I fell in love with Tassie when my Mum moved down here. - Felix Ellis, State Member for Braddon, Tasmania

After a few recounts, we now have a Liberal Government with 13 members so it can now govern in its own right, and not as an unstable Coalition. We also have a new Braddon member, Felix Ellis.

I went to see him in his Ulverstone office and spent a very rewarding hour getting to know him.

It was a nice change to meet a young politician (he is 31). I was pleasantly surprised to find that he, too, comes here from Western Australia. I asked him to give me some background:

"It's been a great journey to come raise a family here in north-west Tassie. I grew up in the Kimberley, went to Perth for high school and my apprenticeship."

"I fell in love with Tassie when my Mum moved down here. It is a place with so much untapped potential, and is now our home for life.

"I moved to Tasmania in 2014 and was living in Forth, in the heart of Tasmania's vegie country. We now live in Sassafras, another pleasant place.

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"A plumber by trade, I was first elected to parliament in 2020, the middle of the COVID pandemic.

"While it has been a baptism of fire, it has been a real honour to get my start in public life at a time when my community has needed its leaders to really step up."

We reminisced for a while on the obvious huge differences between WA and Tasmania then got into the main reason for our meeting - what is to be done about the low profile of "agriculture".

We agreed that there is so much more that can be done to create effective liaison between the education system and the "industry system", in addition to the "agricultural industry" system.

We also agreed that a one-off campaign was not the answer as they, by definition, have a finite life, and that what was needed was ongoing liaison to generate real change.

"Ongoing" is the key word here; this will require amongst other activities a program of interactions between "education" and "industry".

The Ulverstone Secondary College shop front is right next door to Felix's office, so I look forward to many more productive meetings.

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