Published: 02 May 2017

By  ELI PERRY  - Circular Head CHRONICLE 

27 April 2017

Politics. Next week’s Legislative Council Election will determine if the previously safe seat of Murchison will go to Independent MLC Ruth Forrest or new contender, Daryl Quilliam. The Chronicle asks the candidates about the issues that matter to them.

Ruth, tell us about you and your political history

I am a nurse and midwife of 35 years. I grew up on a dairy farm at Riana that my parents and brother still run. I have four adult children with my first grandchild on the way. My partner Rob Woolley and I live in the original Wynyard dairy homestead that we are currently renovating. I am part of a loving family with Emmerton and Smedley ancestry in Circular Head.

Prior to 2005, I had no political involvement. I have never been a member of any political party. In 2005, I stood as an independent candidate for the Legislative Council as I believe this role is most effectively undertaken by truly independent members.

My experience as a nurse and midwife prepared me well for this role as I needed to research matters fully, apply my learnings, be an attentive listener, act decisively and be honest with myself and those I cared for at all times.

As laws will impact on all Tasmanians, it is important to listen to and fully consider the views of the electorate when making decisions. The role includes questioning the actions and decisions of government through committee enquiries, particularly in areas of significance to the electorate. 

Discuss three policies or areas of interest that are important to you

Education is the key to our future success. Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, rates in this region are unacceptable. Employers continue to express concern that many young people lack the necessary literacy and numeracy required to gain employment. We must invest more in early childhood and increase funding across the education sector.

Health and wellbeing matters to everyone. Health care has been under-resourced and undermined by political game playing and indecision. We must help people stay well, avoiding the expensive hospital system, as much as possible. Prioritisation of health promotion, illness prevention and early intervention in chronic disease is crucial. Road upgrades and accommodation for families needing to travel to receive specialist health care needs greater investment.

Jobs growth: the north west coast, particularly Circular Head, has enormous potential to utilise innovative technologies to enhance traditional industries. Key industries include value adding in agriculture (food), forestry, mining and aquaculture. I fully support these industries and the importance of promoting a sustainable approach.

If elected, what would be your priorities for Murchison, and what does this mean for Circular Head?

Circular Head adds enormous economic value to our state. I will continue my strong representation of Circular Head’s interests, maintaining the hard work approach I am known for. I will continue to engage with Circular Head constituents through ongoing regular visits and personal meetings.

I will scrutinise legislation to ensure it is in the best interests of my constituents and all Tasmanians based on extensive research and consultation with key stakeholders.

My key priorities include:

• Education to support and improve employment opportunities for all

• Promotion of health and wellbeing and equitable access to health care

• Support for longterm sustainability in areas of economic activity and job creation in agriculture, forestry, mining and aquaculture including value adding

• Supporting managed recreational access to the APCA (Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area)

• Upgrades to transport infrastructure; upgrades of Bass Highway from Burnie to Marrawah.


Daryl, tell us about you and your political history

I am standing for election in Murchison as an independent candidate. I have been a keen follower of, and have been involved in politics for over 50 years. Upon being elected to the position of Mayor of the Circular Head Council in 2007, I have found myself supporting both Labor and Liberal policies. I am generally regarded as a conservative, however I am primarily guided by my values and this will be the strongest influencing factor for me with every issue that the Legislative Council debates.

Discuss three policies or areas of interest that are important to you

It is difficult to narrow to three, nevertheless here they are. Firstly, family values are highly important to me, secondly the issue of releasing our land from the lockups of the past, and thirdly having multiple use and access to the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area.

Family values will impact the policies of education, sport and recreation, and marriage and relationships. I believe we need to encourage families to stay fit, healthy and active for their personal wellbeing and growth. We need to educate our children for their future lives, as the youth of today are our best asset for future generations. Given this, I believe that we need to prioritise high quality education for all our children.

In regard to the second and third points of interest, I am concerned about the outside influences of Murchison wanting to have their say on our land, including forests, the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area and the west coast in general. A lot of attention has been given trying to appease small minority interest groups, and the result has been too much of the Murchison area being locked up. I believe that our forests and lands belong to everyone. I am confident a significant majority of the electorate support reopening the tracks, removing some land from world heritage, and allowing sensible development in the areas. This includes an expansion of forestry operations. The forestry industry has a lot of potential, if all the minority interests are managed out of the discussions.

If elected, what would be your priorities for Murchison, and what does this mean for Circular Head?

My priorities for Murchison include the following:

I would love to see the Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation involved in a significant use of the lands beyond the Arthur River and even taking over the responsibility from Parks and Wildlife Service in that area.

Economic development opportunities in the area of tourism, mining, forestry, aquaculture, dairying, beef and cropping are all just waiting for the right investment climate and assistance from the government.

Doing everything I can to discard useless legislation and regulations that inhibit us going about our daily lives. This includes freeing up development opportunities in the areas which are currently destined to be locked up.

Whilst the Legislative Council is a house of review, I am confident that I can bring positive influence in these areas of freeing up Tasmania. In doing so, we give our community increased employment opportunities and this will improve the overall community morale.


The Legislative Council Election is on Saturday May 6 from 8am to 6pm.

Polling places in Circular Head include Irishtown Lodge Arthur Temple, Marrawah Memorial Hall, Rocky Cape Public Hall, and Smithton, Edith Creek, Forest and Stanley primary schools.

Voters can also place their votes at Agfest, adjacent to the main entrance.

Early voting information is available by phoning 1800 801 701 or at



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