Wishing you a very Merry Christmas

As your local Liberal MP for Bass and Deputy Premier, I take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday and a truly blessed Christmas.

As I glance back over the year, I am amazed at the number of significant events that have shaped our lives as Tasmanians and which have been especially significant for me as your representative.

Peter Gutwein, who did a tremendous job as Premier for two years, returned to family life and we saw the new leadership team of Premier Jeremy Rockliff and myself as Deputy.

We were also thrilled to welcome the election of my two new Bass Liberal colleagues, Lara Alexander MP and Simon Wood MP. The three of us work together with dedication and focus on the things that matter to families and businesses in Northern Tasmania. Our plan is working, and we know there is always more to do to look after our community’s interests.

Appointed Treasurer of Tasmania, I introduced my first budget in May, which delivers stronger public services, important cost-of-living supports and a massive $5.6 billion investment in infrastructure and construction investment. The benefits are being shared across all regions to create jobs and to secure our state’s future prosperity.

I was just so grateful for the incredible show of support for this budget and our economic plan, as I visited the three regions meeting with people from all walks of life as part of the budget roadshow. The economic plan is so important to me – because when we get it right, families do better and can make their plans with confidence here in Tasmania. On so many measures (production, consumption, population, investment) our economy is in good shape despite the real national and international headwinds of inflation, interest rates, labor shortages, energy industry problems and the Ukrainian invasion.

CommSec have again declared Tasmania as Australia’s best performing economy and our most recent growth in State Final Demand (1.6% in the September quarter) was the highest of all the states. There are now a staggering 33,000 more Tasmanians in jobs since March 2014, of which nearly two-thirds are full-time.

Let’s remember that all these numbers are about our people, families and communities. Our strong economic plan and prudent financial management is leading to better employment security and allows the Government to provide stronger public services and upgraded infrastructure.

In September, we mourned the unmatched life and service of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. After seven decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth was such a powerful force for good in our world, and served in this high role with a lifetime of true devotion to her people in every nation of the Commonwealth. Her particular affection for the people of Tasmania and Australia, expressed at numerous visits, is something we will always cherish.

For me, I will never forget Her Majesty’s heartfelt and touching messages each Christmas, which brought the peoples of the Commonwealth together, often reminding us of the importance of caring for others, the special importance of the Christian message at that time, and from time to time insights into her own times of personal joys and times of grief.

This most remarkable woman is an example for all girls and boys, men and women: to live with duty, to be earnestly grasping our opportunities to encourage others and to offer security and stability in a world of constant change and unreliability.

October brought the rains, the floods and the damage to roads, farms and homes. Thankfully, despite the peril, we saw no loss of lives. With the impact of the extreme weather event so dangerously evident in North and North West Tasmania, our emergency services and the Tasmanian Government worked tirelessly to prepare communities, respond to immediate dangers and assist community recovery including repairs to infrastructure which continue even now. As Acting Premier through the early phase, I appreciated first hand the community efforts to keep each other safe. Through that time we worked around the clock with our emergency services and ensured that key public safety messages were identified, communicated and followed.

But of course, there are plenty of “unremarkable” things that happened this year which are also worth reflecting upon. We are very blessed to live in a safe, free country which is able to give opportunities to all Australians – things which so many people all over the world can only dream of. We’ve reopened borders, Australia Day, had federal and council elections, returned freedoms after the pandemic, concerts, school musicals… the list goes on. These signal the return to the Tasmanian way of life that we love so much, and make me very grateful.

Finally, last week it was my privilege to attend a local community Christmas carols event. The weather wasn’t very pleasant, but wet and cold. (No soft warm indoor seating with all the comforts of home!)

The evening was filled with old and new carols, fantastic performances by skilled musicians and local school choirs. What a great night, and really I felt like I had attended the sort of Carols service which had helped me to remember the true reason why the world still stops to celebrate the birth of a child born into poverty 2000 years ago, in what historians suggest was a cold, uncomfortable cave shared with livestock as there was “no room in the inn”. He remains significant in world history, and in my own case, central to how I think, believe and act.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope that your Christmas day is genuinely full of cheer, surrounded by the people you love and brings you a step closer to discovering all that this life can offer. I look forward to working with you in 2023, so together we can achieve more for Northern Tasmania.

Michael Ferguson MP, Member for Bass

PS – I rummaged around and located this pic from my childhood. Hopefully it will make you smile. As a small toddler I can just remember going to a Christmas party for my dad’s work. A fat man in a red suit gave me this wooden tennis racquet.

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