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Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC - Extension of Term of Office


Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Tags: Governor, Coronavirus

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Madam Speaker, the Greens are very happy that the Governor of Tasmania, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, has agreed to continue in that role until 9 June next year. She truly is one of the great governors we have ever had here in Tasmania and we are very blessed to have a person with such warmth, humanity, compassion and openness in that role, alongside her beautiful husband, Dick Warner. Our Governor is much loved, highly respected across the Tasmanian community and despite her illness, she continued to work with great grace. Her connection to people even during her illness was so strong. I remember being at the Moonah Arts Centre for Her Excellency's first public appearance after taking some leave in order to recover and she was there in an immaculate white suit with the most beautiful hot pink turban which she pulled off with the usual grace and style.

During Her Excellency, Professor the Honourable Kate Warner's tenure as Governor, along with the rigours of the role which is extremely demanding from a public point of view, she has continued to champion action on domestic and family violence. She has continued to speak for an inclusive and compassionate Tasmania. In fact, she got herself in a spot of trouble after a Walk With Us rally here about 18 months ago where Ms Warner, Her Excellency said in quite kind language - as is typical of her - things about a certain red-haired senator at a national level and how damaging it was to have racism spouted by people of highest office. Of course, it got a huge cheer from the crowd but for Her Excellency it caused some problems. Again, there is the historic move and it is symbolic, of course, but Her Excellency worked with the Aboriginal community to make sure that there is an Aboriginal flag flying permanently at Government House here in Hobart. It is a striking and moving sight to see that flag there in the grounds of Government House.

I also note that Her Excellency was one of the foundation members of the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (TLRI), a critical institute at the University of Tasmania which has provided very important research, assessment of legislation and made the case for reform in certain areas. Following Professor Kate Warner's departure from the TLRI, although I know she continues to be connected to it, we had Terese Henning who again did an outstanding job at the TLRI and now we have Professor Brendan Gogarty.

Only this week, the TLRI published its findings on the Births, Deaths and Marriages changes that this parliament made last year which found that there were no significant unintended consequences as a result of that legislation. So, the work that the TLRI does, which Professor Kate Warner has been foundational to, continues to be relevant and important. While there may be members in this House who do not always like the reports that are put out by the TLRI it is important that we have body there that is able to rigorously and independently examine Tasmanian law and make the case for reform.

I also note that Professor the Honourable Kate Warner, has provided critical research to ensure that our firearm laws remain strong and that we are consistent with the National Firearms Agreement and that is very important work. It is a tough task that the Premier has set himself to find a replacement for Professor Warner because they are massive shoes to fill. Do not let her petite bearing fool you. It is a very hard actto follow.

On behalf of Dr Woodruff and myself, we thank Her Excellency and Mr Warner for their service to the people of Tasmania and for agreeing to continue to serve in the role until 9 June 2021, and also to wish the Premier all the very best with what will be a quite difficult decision.