May we live in interesting times.
These are words accepted by some as having originated in China as a Chinese curse, which is somewhat ironic considering the alleged source of the COVID-19 outbreak was the Chinese province of Wuhan.
On investigation, however, I found the saying did not have its origins in ancient China but originated in a speech given by Joseph Chamberlain (father of former English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain) in 1898.
In his speech Joseph stated: "I think you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and let me say new objects of anxiety".
That saying, whatever its origins well describe what Australia and the whole global population are now living through. How life has changed, and how rapid has been that change.
We have been socially isolating and when venturing outside, socially distancing. Schools have been closed, students home-schooled, adults working from home rather than their offices.
Sports have been postponed, some with the threat of cancellation until next year, and tragically many lives been lost and many businesses been crippled. No one, not even Nostradamus could have predicted how the world as we knew it could so quickly be turned upside down.
Compared to other countries our state and federal governments are to be commended on the way they have guided us through this crisis.
Looking at the infection and mortality rates in other countries amplify just how well Australia has done in containing the virus.
Times like these test the political, economic and social fabric of a country and it is comforting to emphasise just how unified Australia has been in battling this unprecedented crisis.
The battle is not over, not only must we do all we humanly can to eradicate this virus we must find a way to reboot our economy. This will require our state to not only look to federal and state governments for answers but also to private innovators who since European settlement have continually punched above their weight.
Premier Peter Gutwein has announced a state government initiative with Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council which will advise on strategies and initiatives to support short, medium and long-term recovery.
The varied expertise of members of this Council in both business and community sectors will be valuable in identifying opportunities for economic and social renewal, we look forward to their first tranche of recommendations. It is hoped their recommendations will enable Tasmanian's to take advantage of a different way of life, work, and business or reinvent themselves in new and emerging industries.
I eagerly await ideas and dreams of those thinkers in our community who have the ability to think 'outside the square' and modify or invent ways in which to do business post-COVID-19. You don't have to scratch the surface too hard to discover that Tasmania is the birthplace of a surprising number of inventors, inventions and innovations.
Our early engineers in 1895 were instrumental in Launceston being the second city in the world and the first in the Southern Hemisphere to be powered by Hydroelectricity from the Duck Reach power station.
Tasmanian obstetrician William McIntyre and inventor Eric Waterworth invented the Waterworth Infant Respirator in the 1930s which was further developed by the Both brothers in the 1950s known as the humidicrib which has since saved thousands of young lives.
It took a Tasmanian David Warren to invent the first flight recorder, commonly known as 'the black box' in 1953 whilst working with the Aeronautical Research Laboratory. In the 1960s he commenced his work on fuel cells, the type now which are used in submarines.
In more recent times again Tasmanians are at the forefront of technology innovations and scientific advances which have been instrumental in developing industries including aquaculture, essential oil production, lightning protection systems, underground mining equipment, rapidly deployable life raft systems, and high-speed wave-piercing passenger ships.
The list goes on, look how Mona and the dreams of David Walsh have shaped the Tasmanian and Australian arts world and the Tasmanian tourism landscape.
I mention this to prove how our isolated, and some would say small, Tasmanian community seems to encourage innovation and discovery. The North-East is no exception.
We have already shown what can be done in our agricultural industries whether it be dairy, cattle, cropping, fishing or forestry.
Our tourism industry was booming thanks to our pristine beaches, mountain bike trails, world-class golf courses and friendly communities where visitors could experience an environment where the rhythms of life were less frantic.
We now have the opportunity to recalibrate, rediscover and improve on a lifestyle which I believe is second to none.
Opportunities abound, we live in interesting times.
- Tania Rattray, independent Apsley MLC