I recently gave my first speech to Victoria’s 59th Parliament.

I had a rough draft in my laptop but after some advice last week, decided on a major rewrite. The next day, I heard I had a timeslot on Wednesday, so the pressure was on. But the ideas had been building for years. You can view the full speech below. If you’d prefer to watch it on facebook, it’s here.


8 Things about my first speech.

8. First speeches are a brief period of decorum in parliament because as a matter of respect MPs do not interject during first speeches. However, this is not always the case.

7.  You have 15 minutes to speak, there is a clock above the speaker, and if you go over, they stop you in your tracks. I can’t imagine a more embarrassing way of starting my political career than being told to sit down by a man in a big chair.

6. First speeches are a time to thank your family. A lot of family time is lost to campaigns. Weekends and evenings are consumed by doorknocking and community events and meetings. It’s relentless and family life suffers. My wife, my son and my Mum all sat in the gallery and it meant a lot to be able to thank them publicly.

5. Most first speeches are pretty dull, some are outrageous for the wrong reasons, just look at one in particular made in Victoria’s upper house during the week.

4. It was something that Richard Di Natale said in a meeting the week before, that led to me rewriting the speech. He said I should include more of the areas where I hope to see some real change.

3. He also said that my political career would be defined by my first speech.

2. We wouldn’t want to read too much into this, but after they’d listened to a Labor MP’s first speech, many Liberal and Labor MPs left the chamber as I started speaking. And it was probably a complete coincidence that the minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change felt the need to slip out just as I was discussing heatwaves, climate change and coal.

1. For some years it’s been my ambition to stand in the Victorian parliament and make it clear, that since Al Gore’s film came out, nobody, anywhere, can pretend that they don’t know what they’re doing to the planet when burning fossil fuels on an industrial scale.