Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Mr President, most of us have stories about the honourable Greg Hall MLC - Mr Gregory Raymond Hall or to me, 'Graymond'. As we all know, Greg had nicknames for us all. This is an unusual time, when we have not been able to acknowledge or farewell a member while he is still an active member of parliament. We cannot tell him while in his presence that he will be missed. We cannot tell him that he was a great asset to this House and we cannot tell him the Parliament of Tasmania will be very different without his knowledge, passion, experience and practical jokes.
Although Greg started in this House back in 2001 as the member for Rowallan, I only came to know him personally 10 years later when I was elected in 2011. On first impression he seemed wise, knowledgeable and a bit gruff. After a while I realised this perceived gruffness had no substance and he was a warm and friendly person. It did not take long for our friendship to grow enough for him to start with the practical jokes, with the first hint of him as a jokester being in assigning names to different people.
Most members were allocated a name over the years. Mine was Lois, my middle name; his last EA, Megan, was called Bogan. Ivan was called the Vicar and Ivan's EA, Lucy, was called Lucifer. The list is endless. All these names were given in fun with no nastiness or vindictiveness - they were all a reflection of Greg's fun attitude to the often overwhelming seriousness of life.
Every time Greg came into Henty House, it was time to batten down the hatches. You could always tell he had been in, whether it was sticky tape on your telephone speaker and receiver so no-one could hear the conversation, colouring your teeth yellow in photos, or turning the heaters up too high and then closing the office doors. No‑one was safe from his jokes. We would always know when he came to the Henty office counter because he would continuously ring the doorbell until someone came out to him, all the time standing there with a silly grin on his face.
Among all this fun and frivolity there is a serious side to Greg, a man who fights for the little person, for the underprivileged, who is a proud Australian and Tasmanian, who is a huge supporter of agriculture in this state, who has an extremely extensive vocabulary and who often proudly wears his heart on his sleeve.
Tasmania and the community of Western Tiers and the greater Deloraine area has lost a strong supporter and advocate in this House. Greg has been very active on community issues and events over the past 18 years, such as the Ashley Youth Detention Centre, Agfest, the Deloraine Craft Fair and the Deloraine Street Car Show. Although it is Greg's intention to remain an active community member, this House will not be privy to his stories and anecdotes about the area.
Greg loathes injustice. He believes everyone should have control over their own destiny as no‑one deserves to feel as though they have no control over their life decisions. It will always remain unknown whether he would have campaigned to be re-elected had his electorate not been taken from him in the electoral boundary changes.
After 18 years in the upper House, Greg deserves his retirement. His passion for farming, his family and cycling can now be focused on more heavily.
I know we will remain friends outside this place and I look forward to catching up with him into the future. He has given much to this country as a Vietnam veteran and to the state, and he will be seriously missed in this Chamber. Enjoy your retirement, Graymond.