LABOR candidate for Gympie Ben Parker grew up in a Labor household in Newcastle where his mum voted Labor but wasn't an active member of the party, and where his step dad was, and still is, very involved.
The family moved to the Gold Coast when Mr Parker was 15 years-of-age, and he and his twin brother attended the Banora Point High School, though Mr Parker left school soon after the move.
He went to work in a food processing plant, where he became the workplace union delegate.
"During this time I developed an interest in the trade union movement and became a union delegate," Mr Parker says on the Labor website.
"While educating myself in matters relating to the trade union movement, I developed an interest in politics."
"I am currently working as a campaign organiser for the industrial union United Voice, an organisation that represents a wide range of employees in both the public and private sectors.
"At 18 years of age, I am delighted to be the youngest Labor candidate in this election.
"I am very proud of the fact that my party had the confidence to select me for the seat of Gympie."
His hobbies include surfing and martial arts.
"I found out that Gympie was a seat that was available and I just really thought it would be a great opportunity for myself to get younger people involved in politics. You don't really see younger people involved in politics," Mr Parker said.
"Labor is a progressive party that cares about youth so we need to get that out there."
Mr Parker said he always enjoyed visiting Gympie and meeting with local residents and branch members.
What are his plans if elected to represent Gympie in the Queensland Parliament?
"It's not about what I want. It's about what the local community wants.
"I'm not prepared to comment on any of the big issues at this stage."
According to the United Voice website, the union represents more than 120,000 Australian workers in a range of industries, including property services, hospitality, children's services, health and aged care, manufacturing and mining.
If Ben wins the seat of Gympie he says he will do the following for Gympie residents:
- To capitalise on our resources boom and deliver the Queensland Education Trust, taking royalties and dedicating them to education funds for Gympie kids in the future.
- Ensuring the timely delivery of the last section of bitumen on Kin Kin Rd- this is due to start in the second half of 2012.
- Making sure the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital services are up and running as quickly as possible so Gympie residents can access them, rather than going to Brisbane.
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