Paul Hamer MP: How an engineer can be an essential member of parliament

Last year, I attended a student leadership summit organised by students from Monash University and led by a postgraduate candidate, Laura Aston, under the auspices of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, it was held at Box Hill.
I spoke to a local representative there who regretted, to some degree, that the seat of Boxall in the state government was considered a safe seat.

But in the 2018 state election, the Andrews government increased its majority, including winning the seat of Box Hill for the first time in 26 years. Their candidate was Paul Hamer, and in his maiden speech to parliament, he noted that his background was as a professional engineer, which was somewhat unusual for a politician. Can an engineer add something different to the political and government functions?

I interviewed Paul and he discussed the following topics:

• Engineers are underrepresented in Parliament
• His working experience
• Engineers look at the long term – Governments generally not
• Being in Government means that your words are analysed in detail
• Being a local member means that you meet a wider range of people.
• Public servants go some great work that is not always reflected in the public debate
• The value and strength of his family and their values: His father was a child in the Holocaust
• The value of professional Institutes and the input they can give.

The interview began as follows:

DB: Paul, thank you very much for your time. I know you have an extremely busy schedule.

PH: No problem at all. Thanks, David.

DB: Are engineers are underrepresented?

PH: Absolutely. For my inaugural speech, I did a little bit of research. And in the Victorian parliament since the first year of responsible government, which was 1856, they’d only been 31 engineers who had any form of engineering qualifications. So that would that included a diploma or undergraduate or postgraduate level. So I am number 32. And there’s been almost 2000 members of parliament in that time.

PH: So that is a poor representation amongst the engineering community in parliament. And I daresay that our state parliament and the federal parliament over its time has similarly been underrepresented.


The full interview